On the bending collapse behavior of rectangular hollow steel shapes of various thicknesses

Rectangular hollow steel shapes are widely used in numerous engineering areas due to their availability and price. In large vehicles, such as buses, these shapes also contribute to the overall crashworthiness of the vehicle, as they absorb most of the kinetic energy of an impact, and dissipate it as localized plastic deformation during a process known as bending collapse. Since a correct calculation of the crashworthiness of a structure is vital to ensure the safety of the occupants of a vehicle, special care must be taken to address the bending collapse behavior, as it is a major energy absorption mechanism. This research aims to investigate the effects and influence of thickness of the hollow shape on the bending collapse characteristics, and thus on the crashworthiness of a vehicle. Furthermore, regulations regarding crashworthiness often require some sort of experimental validation of the zones that undergo bending collapse. However, since there is no standardized test for bending collapse, the results from two types of experimental setups are compared, to study the influence of the setup on the bending collapse behavior. The results provide a detailed understanding of the failure modes of these shapes under bending loads. Additionally, the research provides insights into the design and optimization of rectangular hollow steel shapes, which will be useful to engineers and designers in the selection of thicknesses that are most appropriate for specific applications.

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