Lightweight steel-concrete-steel sandwich system with J-hook connectors

J. Y.Richard Liew*, K. M.A. Sohel

*Corresponding author for this work

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

168 Citations (Scopus)


This paper investigates a new concept for designing composite structures comprising a lightweight concrete core sandwiched in between two steel plates which are interconnected by J-hook connectors. Specifically, lightweight concrete (density less than 1450 kg/m3) and novel J-hook connectors have been developed for this purpose. The hook connectors are capable of resisting tension and shear, and their uses are not restricted by the core thickness. Push-out tests confirms that the shear transfer capability of J-hook connector is superior to the conventional headed stud connector in achieving composite action between steel plate and concrete core. Twelve sandwich beam specimens have been tested to evaluate the flexural and shear performance subjected to static point load. Parameters investigated include degree of partial composite, concrete with and without fibres and concrete strength. Using Eurocodes as a basis of design, theoretical model is developed to predict the flexural and shear capacity considering partial composite and enable construction of sandwich structures with J-hook connectors. Compared with test results, the predicted capacity is generally conservative if brittle failure of connectors can be avoided. Test evidence also shows that inclusion of 1% volume fraction of fibres in the concrete core significantly increases the beam flexural capacity as well as its post-peak ductility.

Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)1166-1178
Number of pages13
JournalEngineering Structures
Issue number5
Publication statusPublished - May 2009
Externally publishedYes


  • Composite beam
  • Ductility
  • Fibre reinforced concrete
  • J-hook
  • Lightweight concrete
  • Push-out test
  • Sandwich beam
  • Shear connector

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • Civil and Structural Engineering


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