Degree Name

Master of Engineering (Hons.)


Department of Civil and Mining Engineering


Connection design is one of the most important considerations for the successful construction of precast concrete strnctures. The configuration details of the connection affect the strength, stability, ductility as well as load redistribution of the structure under load.

This thesis presents a study of strength and deformation behaviour of beam-column connections in precast reinforced concrete building frames. Six half-scale frame specimens were designed, built and tested in the structural laboratory to evaluate the properties of precast concrete frames. These included two pairs of precast frame specimens with two different types of connections and two monolithic frame specimens. The sizes, reinforcing bars, and configuration details were kept constant for all of these specimens to allow the comparison of connection behaviour. The designs of the specimens were based on the structural analysis of a five-storey concrete building frame, typical of a residential building. The service loads, calculations for reinforcing bars, their configuration and manufacturing were all based on the current Australian Standard recommendations.

Experiments were designed and conducted to study the deformation behaviour and strength of beam-column connections in precast concrete building frames. The tests were undertaken in groups having the same concrete strength. The load-deformation curves of connecting beams, load-strain curves of bars in tension and ductility and rotation of the end beam when failure occurs were compared between the precast specimens and the corresponding monolithic ones. This allows a comparison to be made of the connections tested. The half-scale model tests reflected both the strength and deformation behaviour of prototype connections. They demonstrated satisfactory moment resistance and shear capacities of the connections. The test results confirm that these connections would give satisfactory load capacity and ductility performance and they can be safely applied to precast reinforced concrete building frame construction.

The ease of construction, ductility and crack behaviour for the two connection types studied are also compared and conclusions made based on the test results. Recommendations for further work are also given.