Behaviour and design of composite beams subjected to sagging bending and axial compression

G. Vasdravellis*, B. Uy, E. L. Tan, B. Kirkland

*Corresponding author for this work

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

32 Citations (Scopus)


Abstract This paper presents an experimental and numerical study on the ultimate strength of steel-concrete composite beams subjected to the combined effects of sagging (or positive) bending and axial compression. Six full-scale composite beams were tested experimentally under sagging bending and increasing levels of axial compression. A nonlinear finite element model was also developed and found to be capable of accurately predicting the nonlinear response and the combined strength of the tested composite beams. The numerical model was then used to carry out a series of parametric analyses on a range of composite sections commonly used in practice. It was found that the sagging moment resistance of a composite beam is not reduced under low-to-moderate axial compression, while it significantly deteriorates under high axial compression. Sectional rigid plastic analyses confirmed the experimental results. The moment-axial force interaction does not change significantly between full and partial shear connection. Based on the experimental and numerical results, a sagging moment-axial compression interaction law is proposed which will allow for a more efficient design of composite beams.

Original languageEnglish
Article number4193
Pages (from-to)29-39
Number of pages11
JournalJournal of Constructional Steel Research
Publication statusPublished - Jul 2015


  • Combined loading
  • Design
  • Experiments
  • Finite element analyses
  • Steel-concrete composite beam


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