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Tensile behavior of grouted sleeve couplers connecting steel bars with transition splicing


Grouted sleeve (GS) couplers have been widely used in precast concrete industry in non-seismic regions. However, for seismic applications, previous studies on precast reinforced concrete (RC) columns containing GS couplers showed disrupted plastic hinge formation in the sleeve region and thus limited ductility. Recently, a connection design detail was proposed and it showed significant improvement in ductility using shifted plastic hinge (SPH) mechanism where transition splicing was used (GS connecting steel bars with different sizes) and high-strength steel reinforcement was used in the capacity-protected element (such as footing). This study investigates experimentally the tensile behavior of GS couplers connecting steel bars with transition splicing and different grades intended for use in SPH applications. Nine GS specimens were assembled and tested. The testing parameters were GS coupler size, steel bar diameter, and transition splicing index. Results showed that all GS couplers fully developed the ultimate stress of the steel bars and the failure mode was bar rupture away from the coupler region which is a favorable mode. Also, it was observed that the strain within the coupler region and strain in the normal-strength steel bar (Gr. 420) were related by a ratio which was approximately 1.0 and 0.5 within the linear elastic and nonlinear inelastic zones, respectively, for all different specimen sizes. Furthermore, the results revealed that transition index had no effect on the failure mode, and showed insignificant effect on the stress-strain behavior of the GS couplers. Based on the study results, it is recommended to quantify the strain ratios experimentally for the selected assembly size since these ratios are a crucial part in designing GS precast columns with SPH methodology.

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This research was funded by Splice Sleeve Japan and North America; their support and assistance are greatly appreciated. The author expresses special thanks to MMFX Steel Corporation for providing high strength reinforcing bars.

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Correspondence to Haider M. Al-Jelawy.

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Al-Jelawy, H.M. Tensile behavior of grouted sleeve couplers connecting steel bars with transition splicing. Asian J Civ Eng 22, 1011–1017 (2021).

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  • Grouted sleeve
  • Precast connection
  • Ductility
  • Tensile test
  • Seismic regions
  • Accelerated bridge construction