In view of carrying out a parametric study with various flange stiffness, a three dimensional finite element (FE) model of a plate girder was developed using the multi-physics finite element software ANSYS (Version-11). Girder SPG1 was employed in developing the finite element model. The web, flanges and stiffener plates were modelled with 8-noded shell element with six degrees of freedom at each node which is referred as SHELL281 in ANSYS element library. SHELL281 is identified as well-suited for linear, large rotation, and/or large strain nonlinear applications and for analyzing thin to moderately-thick shell structures. The element also provides special features such as stress stiffening, large deflection and large strain capabilities.

The elastic and inelastic properties of the girder materials were provided to represent the entire behaviour. In the elastic region the material was treated as linear isotropic and in the plastic region the von-Mises yield criterion invoked with Multi-linear Isotropic Hardening. The first mode shape from buckling analysis was considered as the initial imperfection in the web panel. Non-linear behaviour of material and geometric non-linearity due to large deformations were considered in the analyses. The load was applied in steps with smaller increment to simulate the monotonic ramp loading of the experiment. The load vs deformation pattern was analyzed under all the critical load steps.

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