Compression Tests of Fixed Ended CFS Members with Improved Connectors

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In the compression tests of cold-formed steel (CFS) members, fixed end supports are commonly simulated by fixing the test specimens to end plates by either welding or casting them with high strength adhesives. This is costly, time consuming and takes much effort to ensure that the axial compression loading is applied correctly. Some past research studies have used clamping connectors for this purpose, but had many limitations relating to their flexibility in use and restraining capacity. This research study has used an improved clamping connector system to provide fixed end support conditions in the compression tests of CFS members, which can be easily adjusted to suit different CFS sections. A series of compression tests using the new clamping connector system was conducted on single channels, built-up back-to-back channels and nested (box) channels with their lengths in the range of 0.6 to 3.0 m. Test results were then analyzed and compared with corresponding finite element analyses based on ideal fixed end support conditions. Comparison of results showed the suitability of the new clamping connector system to simulate fixed end supports.