Plastic hinge

Plastic hinge

A plastic hinge is a type of energy damping device allowing plastic rotation [deformation] of an otherwise rigid column connection [ [ Analysis of Rotational Column with Plastic Hinge] Michael Long and Corey Bergad, retrieved November 5, 2006] . In structural engineering beam theory the term, plastic hinge, is used to describe the deformation of a section of a beam where plastic bending occurs.

Plastic behaviour

In plastic limit analysis of members subjected to bending, it is assumed that an abrupt transition from elastic to ideally plastic behaviour occurs at a certain value of moment, known as plastic moment (Mp). Member behaviour between Myp and Mp is considered to be elastic. When Mp is reached, a plastic hinge is formed in the member. In contrast to a frictionless hinge permitting free rotation, it is postulated that the plastic hinge allows large rotations to occur at constant plastic moment Mp.

Plastic hinges extend along short lengths of beams. But detailed analyses have shown that it is sufficiently accurate to consider beams rigid-plastic, with plasticity confined to plastic hinges at points. While this assumption is sufficient for limit analysis, finite element formulations are available to account for the spread of plasticity along plastic hinge lengths [ [ "Plastic Hinge Integration Methods for Force-Based Beam-Column Elements."] Scott, M.H. and G.L. Fenves. Journal of Structural Engineering, 132(2):244-252, February 2006] .

By inserting a plastic hinge at a plastic limit load into a statically determinate beam, a kinematic mechanism permitting an unbounded displacement of the system can be formed. It is known as the collapse mechanism. For each degree of static indeterminacy of the beam, an additional plastic hinge must be added to form a collapse mechanism.

Diagram of plastic hinge


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