International Journal of Steel Structures

, Volume 18, Issue 5, pp 1483–1496 | Cite as

Experimental Testing and Finite Element Modelling of Steel Columns Weakened to Facilitate Building Demolition

  • W. J. van Jaarsveldt
  • R. S. WallsEmail author
  • E. van der Klashorst


Negligible research has been conducted to date on how to analyse weakened columns, thus safety risks are still involved when structures are weakened prior to demolition. There are various methods available for demolishing steel structures. One of the most effective methods that has been developed involves pre-cutting steel columns at a certain height, so that the least effort can be used to collapse the structure by means of pulling out some of the columns. This paper presents (a) an experimental setup developed to test the capacity of axially loaded weakened columns, which is used to (b) validate a finite element (FE) model. The two pre-cuts that are presented in this paper are (1) the double window cut and (2) the triangular window cut, which are both commonly used in industry. A column weakened with a double window cut or triangular window cut reduces the axial load capacity by up to 50 and 40%, respectively. The FE models developed predict the axial failure load of weakened columns for a double window cut and triangular window cut are generally within an accuracy of less than 8 and 10%, respectively. It is shown at higher slendernesses the influence of column cuts is less than would be intuitively expected because global buckling becomes dominant.


Demolition engineering Steel columns Failure load Abaqus Finite element analysis Collapse 



This work has been supported in part by the Wilhelm Frank Foundation and the National Research Foundation of South Africa under a Thuthuka Grant, Unique Grant No. 99304. Any opinion, finding and conclusion or recommendation expressed in this material is that of the author(s) and the funders do not accept any liability in this regard.


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Copyright information

© Korean Society of Steel Construction 2018

Authors and Affiliations

  1. 1.Department of Civil EngineeringUniversity of StellenboschStellenboschSouth Africa

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