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Engineering Encyclopedia

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Structural Steel Connections Joints, And Details

Note: The source of the technical material in this volume is the Professional
Engineering Development Program (PEDP) of Engineering Services.
Warning: The material contained in this document was developed for Saudi
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employees. Any material contained in this document which is not
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Engineering Encyclopedia Structural, On-Shore
Structural Steel Connections, Joints, and Details

CONTENTS PAGES

TYPES AND CLASSES OF CONNECTIONS ............................................................................. 1

Connections ..................................................................................................................... 1

Types of Connections ...................................................................................................... 1


Welded Connections .......................................................................................... 2
Bolted Connections ............................................................................................ 3
Riveted Connections .......................................................................................... 4
Pinned Connections............................................................................................ 5
Combined Weld and Fastener Connections ....................................................... 5

AISC Classifications for Connections.............................................................................. 6

AISC Construction Types .................................................................................. 6

AISC Types of Connection ................................................................................ 8

Shop Versus Field Connections ....................................................................... 14

TYPES OF STRUCTURAL WELDS AND THEIR APPLICATIONS ....................................... 17

Fillet............................................................................................................................... 19

Groove.............................................................................................................. 20

Complete Penetration ....................................................................................... 20

Partial Penetration ............................................................................................ 21

Plug or Slot .................................................................................................................... 22

Stitch or Skip ................................................................................................................. 23

Size Limitations ............................................................................................................. 23

DESIGNING A COMMON WELDED CONNECTION FOR A SPECIFIED SET OF


PARAMETERS........................................................................................................................... 24

Weld Metallurgy, Design, and Details ........................................................................... 24

Standard Symbols .......................................................................................................... 24


Welding Process and Metallurgy ..................................................................... 27

Welding Electrodes .......................................................................................... 28


Applicable Standards........................................................................................ 30
Allowable Stresses ........................................................................................... 30
Overview of Theory of Design......................................................................... 33

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Design and Fabrication Concerns and Quality Assurance ............................................. 37


Constructability ................................................................................................ 37
Welding Problems............................................................................................ 37
Weld Inspection ............................................................................................... 40

TYPES OF STRUCTURAL BOLTS AND BOLTED CONNECTIONS .................................... 42

Unfinished (A307) ......................................................................................................... 42

High-Strength Bolts (A325)........................................................................................... 43

High-Strength Bolts (A490)........................................................................................... 43

High-Strength Bolts (A325) and (A490)........................................................................ 43

Connection Types .......................................................................................................... 44

Friction-Type Connection ................................................................................ 44

Bearing-Type Connection ................................................................................ 44

DESIGNING A COMMON BOLTED CONNECTION FOR A SPECIFIED SET OF


PARAMETER ............................................................................................................................. 45

Design of Bolted Connections ....................................................................................... 45

Applicable Standards........................................................................................ 45

Allowable Stresses ........................................................................................... 45

Overview of Theory for Design........................................................................ 46

Design and Erection Concerns ....................................................................................... 53

Corrosion.......................................................................................................... 54

Misuse of Bolts ................................................................................................ 54


Improper Torque .............................................................................................. 54
Bolt Fatigue Due to Vibration .......................................................................... 54

SELECTING STANDARD CONNECTIONS FROM THE AISC MANUAL ............................ 55

AISC Standard Connections and Suggested Details ...................................................... 55


Prequalified Welds ........................................................................................... 55
Suggested Details ............................................................................................. 59

WORK AID 1: PROCEDURES FOR DESIGNING A COMMON WELDED


CONNECTION FOR A SPECIFIED SET OF PARAMETERS ................... 61

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WORK AID 2: CONSIDERATIONS, REFERENCES, AND PROCEDURE FOR


DESIGNING A COMMON BOLTED CONNECTION FOR A
SPECIFIED SET OF PARAMETERS .......................................................... 62

Considerations and References ...................................................................................... 62

Procedure ....................................................................................................................... 63

GLOSSARY ................................................................................................................................ 65

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types and classes of CONNECTIONS

Connections
This section discusses the following topics specific to connections:
Types of connections

AISC classifications for connections

Types of Connections
Every structure is a group of individual parts or members that must be connected, usually at the members ends,
by one of the following types of connections:
Welded connections

Bolted connections

Riveted (as applied to some older structures) connections

Pinned connections

Combined weld and fastener connections

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Welded Connections
Welding is the process of joining metal pieces by heating them to a plastic or fluid state, with or without
pressure and with or without the use of filler metal. The most common process for welding structural steel uses
electrical energy as the heat source. More specifically, this process uses an electrical arc and filler metal in the
joint. Figure 1 provides examples of welded connections.

Figure 1. Examples of Welded Connections

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Bolted Connections
Bolts are the principal means of making nonwelded structural connections. They are tightened to develop a
specified tensile stress, which results in a clamping force on the joint. The transfer of service loads through a
joint is normally due to the friction developed in the joined pieces. Bearing of the bolt against the side of the
bolt hole generally does not occur under service load. Figure 2 provides examples of bolted connections.

Figure 2. Examples of Bolted Connections

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Riveted Connections
Until recently, rivets were an accepted means of connecting members, but now they have become virtually
obsolete. However, engineers still find riveted connections on older structures.
Riveting is a method of connecting a joint by inserting ductile metal pins into holes in the pieces being joined
and forming a head at each end to prevent the joint from coming apart. Figure 3 shows typical types of rivets.

Source: Figure 4.3.1 from STEEL STRUCTURES: DESIGN AND BEHAVIOR by Charles G. Salmon and
John E. Johnson. Copyright 1980 by Charles G. Salmon and John E. Johnson. Reprinted by
permission of HarperCollins Publishers Inc.

Figure 3. Typical Types of Rivets

The principal causes of rivet obsolescence are the development of high-strength bolts and modern welding
techniques.

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Pinned Connections
As Figure 4 shows, the simplest device for transferring a load from one steel piece to another is a pin
(cylindrical piece of steel) inserted in holes that are aligned in the two pieces of steel.

Figure 4. Pin Connection

Combined Weld and Fastener Connections


Combined weld and fastener connections are sometimes used. As Figure 5 illustrates, a structural connection
may consist of both welds and bolts.

where: V = Shear on beam


M = Moment
Source: AISC Manual of Steel Construction, Green Book, 9th edition, p. 4-109.

Figure 5. Example of Combined Weld and Fastener


Connection

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AISC Classifications for Connections


This section discusses the following types and classes of connections as defined by the AISC Manual of Steel
Construction:
AISC construction types

AISC types of connection

Shop versus field connections

AISC Construction Types


AISC specifications define the following three basic types of connection construction (see Figure 6):
Type 1: commonly designated as rigid, assumes that connections have sufficient rigidity to
hold the original angles between intersecting members virtually unchanged

Type 2: commonly designated as simple (unrestrained, free-ended), assumes that, for


gravity loading, ends of beams and girders are connected for shear only and are free to rotate
under gravity load

Type 3: commonly designated as semi-rigid (partially restrained), assumes that the


connections possess a dependable and known moment capacity intermediate in degree
between the rigidity of Type 1 and the flexibility of Type 2

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where: Me = Extreme fiber bending moment in endplate design


W = Lineflow load, including weight of beam
L = Length
Source: Design of Welded Structures Welded Connections Design by Omer W. Blodget, page 5.1-2, 1966.
With permission from The James F. Lincoln Arc Welding Foundation.

Figure 6. Types of Construction

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AISC Types of Connection


The AISC Manual of Steel Construction, Part 4, provides design data tables for the design of the following
types of connections:
Framed-beam

Unstiffened seated-beam

Stiffened seated-beam

Endplate

Eccentric

Hanger-type

Moment connection

Framed-Beam Connections are simple framing connections (AISC Type 2) used to connect beams to beams or
to column flanges. Figure 7 illustrates typical bolted and welded framed connections. These connections have
angles that are as flexible as possible. When beams intersect and are attached so the flanges of both beams are
at the same elevation, as in Figure 7E, the framing beams have their flanges coped or cut away.

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Figure 7. Framed-Beam Connections

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Unstiffened Seated-Beam Connections - As an alternative to framed-beam connections that use web angles or
other attachments to the beam web, a beam may be supported on a seat, either unstiffened or stiffened. As
Figure 8 illustrates, the unstiffened seat (an angle) is designed to carry the entire reaction. It must be used with
a top clip angle that provides lateral support of the compression flange.

Figure 8. Unstiffened Seated-Beam Connections

Like the framed-beam connection, a seated connection is intended to transfer only the vertical reaction and
should not give significant restraining moment on the end of the beam. Therefore, the seat and the top angle
should be relatively flexible.
Stiffened Seated-Beam Connections - When reactions become heavier than desirable for an unstiffened seat,
stiffeners may be used with the seat angle in bolted construction; or a T-shaped stiffened seat may be used in
welded construction. The unstiffened seat may become excessively thick when the beam reaction exceeds
about 40 kips. There are no AISC restrictions, however, to the maximum load that may be carried by
unstiffened seats.

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The stiffened seat is only for supporting vertical loads; it is not intended to be part of a moment-resisting
connection. Figure 9 illustrates examples of stiffened seated-beam connections.

Figure 9. Stiffened Seated-Beam Connections

Endplate Connections - This type of connection consists of a plate that is less than the beam depth in length,
perpendicular to the longitudinal axis of the beam, and welded to the beam web with fillet welds on each side of
the beam web. The endplate connection compares favorably to a double-angle connection (not shown) and, for
like thicknesses, gauge lines and length of connection furnish strength of connection, closely approximating
that of a double-angle framing connection.

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Fabrication of this type of connection requires close control in cutting the beam to length. Adequate
consideration must be given to squaring the beam ends so that both endplates are parallel and so that the effect
of beam camber does not result in out-of-square endplates, which make erection and field fit-up difficult.
Figure 10 illustrates an example of endplate connection.

Figure 10. Endplate Connection

Eccentric Connections - When the load P is applied on a line of action that does not pass through the center of
a bolt group (or weld group), there is an eccentric loading effect, such as in Figure 11. As Figure 12 shows, a
load P, at an eccentricity e is statically equivalent to a moment P times e plus a concentric load P, with both
acting on the connection. Since both the moment and the concentric load contribute shear effects on the bolt
group, the situation is referred to as eccentric shear.

where: P = Load
V = Shear on beam
M = Moment

Figure 11. Typical Eccentric Shear Connections

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Figure 12. Combined Moment and Direct Shear

Hanger-Type Connections are connections loaded in tension. (See Figure 13.) Prying action must be
considered in the design of hanger-type connections. The connecting flange stiffness, rather than bending
strength, is the key to satisfactory performance.

Figure 13. Hanger-Type Connections

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Moment Connections - Many framing systems are designed as Type 1 (rigid) (Figure 6), and the connections
must be designed to develop the frame moments. In moment connections, the design intent is to have full
transfer of moment and little or no relative rotation of members within the joint. Since the flanges of a beam
carry most of the bending moment via tension and compression flange forces that act at a moment arm
approximately equal to the beam depth, provision must be made for the transfer of these essentially axial forces.
Since the shear is carried primarily by the web of a beam, full continuity requires that it be transferred directly
from the web. Figure 14 illustrates moment connections.

Figure 14. Moment Connections

Shop Versus Field Connections


It is less expensive to make welds in the shop (factory) than in the field. Therefore, when specifying connection
details, designers should minimize the use of field welds. Also, use of a combination of shop and field work
often facilitates fit-up of the connection (improves constructability).

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Figure 15 illustrates various ways in which a welded framed-beam connection can be made. In Figure 15A, the
beam web is welded directly to another member, for example, the flange of a column. The connection can be
made by groove weld or two fillet welds. The seat, which may be a plate (as Figure 15 shows) or an angle, is
for purposes of erection. Although this is the most direct connection that can be made, it has disadvantages.
The framed-beam connection requires that the gap between the end of the beam and the adjacent surface be
small. Otherwise, an adequate connection is ensured only if the weld size is increased. This deficiency can be
corrected by flame cutting, but this is an expensive operation. Furthermore, the member to which the beam
connects is subject to tolerances. Also, vertical welding in the field is costly and should be avoided. Finally,
the stiffness of such a connection may be greater than can be tolerated.

Source: Design of Steel Structures, by Gaylord and Gaylord, page 450, Figure 7-33, copyright 1968 by
McGraw-Hill, Inc. With permission from McGraw-Hill, Inc.

Figure 15. Shop Versus Field Connections

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The connection shown in Figure 15B eliminates the problem of fit-up of the connection of Figure 15A. Here, a
connection plate shop-welded to the column allows field adjustment for mill tolerance in the length of the beam
and depth of the column. Two side plates, one on each side of the web, may also be used instead of the single
plate shown. Erection bolts take the place of a seat. This connection, however, does not eliminate the costly
vertical welding in the field. Furthermore, the plates are harder to hold in alignment during welding than angles
are.
The framing angles shown in Figure 15C are shop-welded to the beam web and field-welded to the column.
This connection also allows for mill tolerance in the length of the beam. To provide flexibility in the
connection, the angles are field-welded on the vertical edges, with short returns at the top. The connection
shown in Figure 15C can also be bolted to the column, rather than welded. This connection has the advantage
of eliminating vertical welding in the field.

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types of structural welds and their applications


This section discusses the following types of welds and their uses and limitations:
Fillet

Groove: complete and partial penetration

Plug or slot

Stitch or skip

Some of the worlds largest steel structures, from bridges and buildings to ships and pressure vessels, are
connected by welds.
Welded construction differs from bolting or riveting because it can unite the members of a structure into a
monolithic elastic network. Local weld shrinkage strains may exceed the elastic limit. The integrity of the
welded structure depends on its ability to deform plastically at any temperature it may experience during
fabrication or service.
The ability of the welded structure to deform plastically and to avoid small cracks or brittle failure depends
primarily on the following:
The properties of the steel

Selection and control of the weld procedure

Adequate quality control and inspection

Avoidance of notches in both design and fabrication

The size of the weld should always be designed according to the size of the thinner member being joined. Using
the thicker member as the basis for the weld size does not make the joint any stronger, and much more weld
metal is required.
A fillet weld cross section is roughly triangular in shape and usually joins surfaces that are approximately at a
90 angle to each other. A groove weld is made in the groove between two members to be joined. If
inadequate space is available for fillet welds, plug or slot welds may be used to supplement any strength
deficiencies and also to prevent buckling of lapped parts. Plug welds are made by placing weld metal in
circular holes cut in one of two lapped members. Similarly, slot welds are made by using elongated holes. In
both cases, the holes may be partially or completely filled. Fillet welds in holes or slots are not considered to
be plug or slot welds.

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Figure 16 illustrates the basic types of welds. The following paragraphs discuss all of these welds.

Source: Figure 5.5.1 from STEEL STRUCTURES: DESIGN AND BEHAVIOR by Charles G. Salmon and
John E. Johnson. Copyright 1980 by Charles G. Salmon and John E. Johnson. Reprinted by
permission of HarperCollins Publishers Inc.

Figure 16. Types of Welds

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Each type of weld has specific advantages that determine the extent of its use. Roughly, the weld types
represent the following percentages of welded construction:
Fillet: 80%

Groove: 15%

Plug or slot and other special welds: 5%

Fillet
Due to their overall economy, ease of fabrication, and adaptability, fillets are the most widely used structural
welds. Figure 17 illustrates some uses of fillet welds.

Figure 17. Uses of Fillet Welds

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Fillets generally require less precision in the fitting up because of the overlapping of pieces, while the groove
weld requires careful alignment with a specified gap, or root opening, between pieces. The fillet weld is
particularly useful when for field welds or when for realignment of members or connections fabricated within
accepted tolerances but not fitting as accurately as desired. In addition, the edges of pieces being joined seldom
need special preparation, such as beveling or squaring, since the edge conditions resulting from flame-cutting or
shear-cutting procedures are adequate. Fillets are usually more economical than a groove weld. However, large
fillet welds require a larger diameter electrode, which in turn requires larger and bulkier welding equipment,
which is not necessarily convenient for field use.
Groove
Groove welds are mainly used to connect structural members that are aligned in the same plane. (A butt weld is
another term for a groove weld.) In terms of strength, groove welds are superior to fillet welds, since the
stresses are transferred directly. Groove welds may be complete or partial penetration welds.
Complete Penetration
Since groove welds are usually constructed to transmit the full load of the members they join, the weld should
have the same strength as the pieces joined. Such a groove weld is called a complete penetration weld and
extends completely through the thickness of the pieces being joined.

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Partial Penetration
When joints are designed so groove welds do not extend completely through the thickness of the pieces being
joined, the weld is called a partial penetration weld.
Figure 18 illustrates complete and partial penetration groove weld.

Source: American Institute of Steel Construction, Engineering for Steel Construction. With permission from
the American Institute of Steel Construction.

Figure 18. Complete and Partial Penetration Groove Welds

There are many variations of groove welds, and each groove weld is classified according to its particular shape.
Most groove welds require a specific edge preparation and are named accordingly. Figure 19 illustrates
common types of groove welds and indicates the groove preparations required for each type of weld. The
selection of the proper groove weld depends on the welding process used, the cost of edge preparations, and the
cost of making the weld.

Source: Figure 5.5.2 from STEEL STRUCTURES: DESIGN AND BEHAVIOR by Charles G. Salmon and
John E. Johnson. Copyright 1980 by Charles G. Salmon and John E. Johnson. Reprinted by
permission of HarperCollins Publishers Inc.

Figure 19. Types of Groove Welds

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The designer frequently needs to decide whether to use a fillet or groove weld. Cost becomes a major
consideration. The fillet welds are easy to apply and require no special plate preparation. They are made
through use of large-diameter electrodes with high welding currents; as a result, the deposition rate is high. The
cost of the welds increases as the square of the leg size. In comparison, the groove weld typically has half the
weld area of the fillet weld. However, a groove weld requires extra preparation and the use of smaller diameter
electrodes with lower welding currents to place the initial pass without burning through.
Plug or Slot
Plug or slot welds are used principally in lapped connections such as those shown in Figure 20. As Figure 20
illustrates, these welds are often used in combination with fillet welds. The main use for a plug or slot weld is
to transmit shear in a lap joint when the size of the connection limits the length available for fillet or other edge
welds. Plug or slot welds are also useful in preventing overlapping parts from buckling. Plug or slot welds
should not be subjected to tension stresses.

Figure 20. Plug or Slot Welds Used with Fillet Welds

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Stitch or Skip
A stitch or skip weld is sometimes used for nonstructural connections or when the loads in the connection are
small. (An intermittent weld is another term for a stitch or skip weld.) As Figure 21 shows, a stitch or skip
weld is also used to hold a backup strip in place. Backup strips are commonly used when all welding is done
from one side or when the root opening is excessive. To reduce any initial restraint of the joint, detailers
stagger the stitch or skip welds. As Figure 21 shows, these welds should not be directly opposite one another.

Figure 21. Example of a Stitch or Skip Weld

Size Limitations
The size limitations for a fillet, groove, and plug or slot welds are specified in the AISC Manual of Steel
Construction, Part 5, Green Book, pp. 5-65 through 5-69. Refer to this section for further details on these
welds.

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designing a common welded connection for a specified set of parameters


This section is divided into two major parts: (1) weld metallurgy, design, and details and (2) design and
fabrication concerns and quality assurance.
Weld Metallurgy, Design, and Details
This part discusses the following topics specific to weld design:

Standard symbols

Welding process and metallurgy

Welding electrodes

Applicable standards

Allowable stresses

Overview of theory for design

Standard Symbols
Before the fabricator can weld a connection or joint, the designer must be able to instruct him about the type
and size of weld required. Standard symbols enable the designer to give individual and detailed instructions for
welds.
The need for a simple and accurate method for communicating with the fabricator gave rise to the use of
shorthand symbols that characterize the type and size of weld. Figure 22 illustrates the resulting American
Welding Society (AWS) standard symbols. These symbols show the type, size, length, and location of welds as
well as any special instructions.

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Source: Figure 5.6.2 from STEEL STRUCTURES: DESIGN AND BEHAVIOR by Charles G. Salmon and
John E. Johnson. Copyright 1980 by Charles G. Salmon and John E. Johnson. Reprinted by
permission of HarperCollins Publishers Inc.

Figure 22. Standard Welding Symbols

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Some of the commonly made connections are typically specified as shown in Figure 23.

Source: Figure 5.6.2 from STEEL STRUCTURES: DESIGN AND BEHAVIOR by Charles G. Salmon and
John E. Johnson. Copyright 1980 by Charles G. Salmon and John E. Johnson. Reprinted by
permission of HarperCollins Publishers Inc.

Figure 23. Common Uses of Weld Symbols

The system of designating welds is broken down into a few basic types that are necessary to give a complete set
of instructions to the fabricator. Whenever a particular connection is used in many parts of a structure, it may
be necessary only to show a typical detail. However, the designer should give thorough details on special
connections so his intentions are clear.

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Welding Process and Metallurgy


Studying the process of welding two pieces of metal together and understanding the subsequent properties of
the welded connection involve metallurgy. How the welding is done affects the weld strength of the material.
Whether welds are made by a gas flame, a metal arc, or electrical resistance, the effects on the metal are due to
heat. The final condition of the completed weld structure determines the strength, hardness, ductility, resistance
to corrosion, and similar mechanical and physical properties of the connection.
As a rule, faster cooling rates produce a slightly harder, less ductile, and stronger steel. The speed of welding
and the rate of heat put into the joint change the structure and hardness. On a given mass of base metal at a
given temperature, a small bead deposited at high speed becomes harder than a larger bead deposited at a higher
heat input per unit length of joint. Small, high-speed beads cool more rapidly than the larger, high-heat beads.
The most common process for welding structural steel is the use of an electric arc and filler metal. The shielded
metal arc-welding (SMAW) process, commonly called stick or manual welding, is the most widely used of
the various arc-welding processes. With this process, an electric arc is struck between the electrically grounded
work and length of covered metal rod, known as the electrode. See Figure 24.

Figure 24. Electric Arc Welding

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The electrode is clamped in an electrode holder, which is joined to the power source by a cable. The welder
grips the insulated handle of the electrode holder and maneuvers the tip of the electrode with respect to the weld
joint. When the welder touches the tip of the electrode against the work and then withdraws it to establish the
arc, the welding circuit is completed. The heat of the arc melts the electrode and base metal in the immediate
area. As welding progresses, the covered rod becomes shorter and shorter. The advantages of the SMAW
process are its versatility and simplicity of equipment.
Another common arc-welding process is submerged arc welding (SAW). This process is either semi-automatic
or fully automatic and provides consistent high-quality, economical deposits particularly suitable for long
welds. The major limitation is that the work must be positioned for near flat or horizontal welding.
Welding Electrodes
As indicated earlier, arc-welding processes require filler metal for the welds. The AWS has developed
specifications for these filler metals (as consumable electrodes or welding rods) to cover the arc welding of the
following steels:
Carbon

Alloy

Stainless and corrosion-resisting

Through these specifications and their classification, the engineer knows that a certain electrode or welding rod
can produce a weld metal having specific mechanical properties. The engineer should select electrodes capable
of making welds having physical properties equal to or exceeding those of the parent metal. The AWS
classification system helps the engineer select the right electrode for each specific job.

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AWS Classification of Carbon-Steel Electrodes - AWS adopted a series of four- or five-digit numbers
prefixed with E. The E indicates electric welding use. As Figure 25 illustrates, the numbers to the left of
the last two digits times 1,000 show minimum tensile strength of the (stress-relieved) deposited metal. The
next-to-the-last digit shows the position of welding, and the last digit tells the power supply, type of slag, type
of arc, penetration, and presence of iron powder.

AWS ELECTRODE CLASSIFICATION SYSTEM

DIGIT SIGNIFICANCE EXAMPLE


1st two or Minimum tensile strength E-60xx = 60,000 psi (MIN)
1st three (stress relieved) E-110xx = 110,000 psi (MIN)

2nd last Welding position E-xx1x = all positions


E-xx2x = horizontal and flat
E-xx3x = flat

Last Power supply, type of slag,


type of arc, amount of
penetration, presence of iron
powder in coating
NOTE: Prefix E (to left of 4 or 5-digit number) signifies arc welding electrode

Source: Metals and How to Weld Them, AWS Electrode Classification by T.B. Jefferson and Gorham Woods,
page 94, 1978 edition, 1962. With permission from The James F. Lincoln Arc Welding Foundation.

Figure 25. AWS Electrode Classification

Typical Weld Rods Used in Saudi Aramco - The most typical welding rods used in Saudi Aramco are E-6010
and E-7010 for very basic structural steel fabrication and the low hydrogen series (E-7016 and E-7018) for
critical fabrication, such as offshore structures.

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Applicable Standards
Some of the major national organizations that write codes and specifications for arc welding are as follows:
American Institute of Steel Construction (AISC)

American Petroleum Institute (API)

American Society of Mechanical Engineers (ASME)

American Society of Testing Materials (ASTM)

American Welding Society (AWS)

The AWS (1) prepares specifications for welding electrodes and (2) sets standards for the qualification of
welding operators and for the testing and inspection of welds.
Allowable Stresses
Since welds must transmit the entire load from one member to another, they must be sized accordingly and be
formed from the correct electrode material.
For design purposes, fillet welds are assumed to transmit loads through shear stress on the effective area no
matter how the fillets are oriented on the structural connection. Groove welds transmit loads exactly as in the
pieces they join.
The electrode material used in welds should have the same properties as those of the base material. When
properties are comparable, the weld metal is called matching weld metal. The allowable stresses on the
various types of welds are nominal stresses acting on the effective areas.
The effective areas of welds are described in the following section. Figure 26 illustrates the allowable stresses
on the effective areas. For complete joint penetration groove welds, the allowable stress is the same as
permitted in the base material. However, in tension, the matching weld metal must be used while in
compression, a lesser strength may be used.
The allowable stresses for shear on the effective area of all welds and the tensile stress normal to the axis on the
effective area of a partial joint penetration groove weld are equal to 0.30 times the electrode tensile strength.
However, the stress in the base material may not exceed 0.60F y for tension or 0.40Fy for shear.

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TYPE OF STRESS ON REQUIRED WELD


EFFECTIVE AREA1 ALLOWABLE STRESS STRENGTH LEVEL2, 3
Complete Joint Penetration Groove Welds
Tension normal to effective area Same as base metal Matching weld metal must be used
Compression normal to effective area Same as base metal Weld metal with a strength level equal to
or less than matching weld metal may be
used
Tension or compression parallel to axis of Same as base metal
weld
Shear on effective are 0.30 x nominal tensile strength of weld
metal, except shear stress on base metal
shall not exceed 0.40 x yield stress of base
metal
Partial Joint Penetration Groove Welds 4
Compression normal to effective area Same as base metal Weld metal with a strength level equal to
or less than matching weld metal may be
used
Tension or compression parallel to axis of Same as base metal
weld5
Shear parallel to axis of weld 0.30 x nominal tensile strength of weld
metal, except shear stress on base metal
shall not exceed 0.40 x yield stress of
base metal
Tension normal to effective area 0.30 x nominal tensile strength of weld
metal, except tensile stress on base metal
shall not exceed 0.60 x yield stress of
base metal

Source: American Institute of Steel Construction, Manual of Steel Construction, Ninth Edition, copyright
1989.

Figure 26. Allowable Stresses on Effective Area of Welds

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Fillet Welds
Shear on effective area 0.30 x nominal tensile strength of weld Weld metal with a strength level equal to
metal, except shear stress on base metal or less than matching weld metal may be
shall not exceed 0.40 x yield stress of used
base metal
Tension or compression parallel to axis of Same as base metal
weld5
Plug and Slot Welds
Shear parallel to faying surfaces (on 0.30 x nominal tensile strength of weld Weld metal with a strength level equal to
effective area) metal, except shear stress on base metal or less than matching weld metal may be
shall not exceed 0.40 x yield stress of used
base metal
1 For definition of effective area, see AISC-1.14.6.
2 For matching weld metal, see AWS Table 4.1.1 [9].
3 Weld metal one strength level stronger than matching is permitted.
4 See AISC-1.10.8 for a limitation on use of partial joint penetration groove welded joints.
5 Fillet welds and partial joint penetration groove welds joining the component elements of built-up members,
such as flange-to-web connections, may be designed without regard to the tensile or compressive stress in
these elements parallel to the axis of the welds.

Source: American Institute of Steel Construction, Manual of Steel Construction, Ninth Edition, copyright
1989.

Figure 26. Allowable Stresses on Effective Area of Welds


(Contd)

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Overview of Theory of Design


Effective Area of Welds - The effective area of a groove or fillet weld is the product of the effective throat
dimension (te) times the length of the weld. The effective throat dimension depends on the nominal size and
the shape of the weld and may be thought of as the minimum width of the expected failure plane.
The effective throat dimension of a complete joint penetration groove weld is the thickness of the thinner part
joined. Figure 27 illustrates these dimensions.

Figure 27. Effective Throat Dimensions for Complete


Penetration Groove Welds

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As Figure 28 illustrates, the effective throat dimension of a fillet weld is nominally the shortest distance from
the root to the face of the weld. Assuming the fillet weld has equal legs of nominal size (a), the effective throat
(te) is 0.707a. Figure 28B shows a fillet weld designed to be unsymmetrical (a rare situation) with unequal
legs. When this happens, compute the value of t e from the diagrammatic shape of the weld. To account for
their inherent superior quality, the effective throat dimensions for fillet welds made by the SAW process are
modified as follows:
For fillet welds with leg size equal to or less than 3/8 in. (9.5 mm), the effective throat
dimension equals the leg size a.

For fillet welds larger than 3/8 in., the effective throat dimension is the theoretical throat
dimension plus 0.11 in. (2.8 mm), that is, 0.707a + 0.11.

Figure 28. Effective Throat Dimensions for Fillet Welds

The effective shearing area of plug or slot welds is their nominal area (sometimes called faying surface) in the
shearing plane. The resistance of plug or slot welds is the product of the nominal cross section times the
allowable stress.

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Sample Problem: How to Calculate Allowable Resistance of a Fillet Weld

Given:

Given the following equations calculate the allowable shear resistance of a 3/8-in. fillet weld produced by (a)
shielded metal arc welding (SMAW) process and (b) submerged arc welding (SAW) process. Assume use of
electrodes having minimum tensile strength F u of 70 ksi, and use AISC Specifications.

Solution:
(a) SMAW process
te = 0.707a = 0.707(0.375) = 0.265 in.

Rw = te(0.30Fu) = 0.265(0.3)70 = 0.265(21) = 5.57 kips/in.

(b) SAW process


te = a = 0.375 in.

Rw = te(0.30Fu) = 0.375(21.0) = 7.87 kips/in.

Sample Problem: How to Determine the Required Size and Length of a Fillet Weld

Given:

Given Figure 29, determine the size and length of the fillet weld for the lap joint which uses the submerged arc
welding (SAW) process with electrodes having minimum tensile strength F u of 70 ksi. The plates are A36
steel. See Work Aid 1.

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Figure 29. Size and Length of a Fillet Weld

Solution:
AISC Manual of Steel Construction, Part 5, Section J2.2b gives the following limits:
Maximum size = 5 1 = 9 in.
8 16 16

Minimum size = 1 in.


4

Use 1/2-in. fillet weld, since that is about the maximum size the SAW process can make in one pass. Since the
nominal size of fillet weld is over 3/8 in., the effective throat dimension is equal to the theoretical throat plus
0.11 in.
Effective throat = 0.707(0.50) + 0.11 = 0.464 in.

The capacity of 1/2-in. fillet welds per inch of length is


Rw = (Effective throat)(allowable stress)

= 0.464(21.0) = 9.73 kips/in.

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The 5/8-in. plate may not be assumed to carry a shear stress in excess of 0.40F y. Thus
Max Rw = 0.40Fyt = 14.4(0.625) = 9.0 kips/in. (controls)

Length of weld, Lw, required is


L w = 95 = 10.6 in. Use 1/2-in. fillet, 7 in. on each side.
9.0

Design and Fabrication Concerns and Quality Assurance


This part discusses the following topics concerning design and fabrication when using welded connections:
Constructability

Welding problems

Weld inspection

Constructability
Constructability refers to whether or not a weld can physically be made as specified. Sometimes design
drawings specify a certain weld detail that in practice cannot be made due to space limitations. Practicability
should always be considered when designing welded connections.
Welding Problems
Specific problems that may occur in welding are as follows:
Lamellar tears

Weld shrinkage and structural distortion

Residual stresses

Fatigue sensitivity

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Lamellar Tears - This is a separation (or crack) in the base metal caused by through-thickness weld shrinkage
strains. See Figure 30.

Figure 30. Lamellar Tear


Note: Joint showing typical lamellar tear resulting from shrinkage of large welds in thick material under high
restraint.
In the hot rolling of steel, any sulphide or other inclusions tend to be elongated as microscopic platelets in the
plane of the plate. These reduce the ductility in the through-thickness direction to lower values than in the
conventional longitudinal or transverse tests. Some joint designs are quite susceptible to lamellar tears.
Complete penetration welded tee joints in thick sections are possible candidates for lamellar tears in the
crossbar of the tee. See Figure 31.

Figure 31. Tee Joint Lamellar Tears


Note: Contraction of large weld joints can strain the interposed plate beyond the limits of through-thickness
ductility, producing a lamellar tear.

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Weld Shrinkage and Structural Distortion - The heating and cooling cycle that occurs during welding always
causes shrinkage in both base metal and weld metal, and shrinkage forces tend to cause some distortion.
Engineers must anticipate and control this shrinkage to achieve the full benefits of welded steel construction.
One technique used to control weld shrinkage involves prebending the member or presetting the joint before
welding. In this way, the net effect of weld shrinkage pulls the member or connection back into proper
alignment (Figure 32).

Figure 32. Prebending for Weld Shrinkage

Residual Stresses - Residual stresses remain in a member after it has been formed into a finished product.
Such stresses can result from welding, as a result of uneven cooling or restraint against distortion.
Welding of built-up shapes is a particularly large contributor to residual stress. Initially, the plates themselves
have little residual stress because of relatively uniform cooling after rolling. However, after the heat is applied
to make the welds, the subsequent nonuniform cooling and restraint against distortion cause high residual
stresses.

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Fatigue Sensitivity - In a dynamically loaded structure, fatigue fractures at notches grow at a rate proportional
to the stress range and to the number of times the stress is applied. Any change in section should be
streamlined, and any notches in the tension areas should be ground out.
One-sided fillet welds can result in severe notches. The solution is to use two fillets, one on each side. A
similar condition affects partial penetration groove welds.
Weld Inspection
To ensure good quality welds, a weld inspector is usually required to inspect some or all of the welds. He
ensures that the welds are properly made, that they adhere to the specifications, and that they lack defects.
Figure 33 illustrates the characteristics of the five most common methods of weld inspection.

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INSPECTION CHARACTERISTICS AND


METHOD APPLICATIONS LIMITATIONS

Visual (VT) Most common, most economical, Detects surface imperfections


particularly good for single-pass welds only
Dye Penetrant (DPT) Detects tight cracks, open to surface Detects surface imperfections
only; deep weld ripples and
scratches may give false
indications
Magnetic Particle (MT) Detects surface cracks and subsurface Requires relatively smooth
cracks to about 0.1-in. depth with proper surface; careless use of
magnetization; indications can be lifted magnetizing prods may leave
and preserved on clear plastic tape arc-strike defects
Radiographic (RT) Detects porosity, slag, voids, cracks, Defects must occupy more than
irregularities, lack of fusion; film negative about 1.5% of thickness to
is permanent record register; only cracks parallel to
impinging beam register;
radiation hazard, exposure time
increase with thickness
Ultrasonic (UT) Detects cracks in any orientation, slag, Surface must be smooth;
lack of fusion, inclusions, lamellar tears, equipment must be frequently
voids; can detect a favorably oriented calibrated, operator must be
planar reflector smaller than in.; regularly qualified, exceedingly coarse
calibrate on 1/16 in. diameter drilled hole; grains give false indications
can scan almost any commercial thickness

Source: American Institute of Steel Construction, Manual of Steel Construction - Volume II: Connections.
With permission from the American Institute of Steel Construction.

Figure 33. Characteristics of Common Weld Inspection


Methods

The allowable stresses for shear on the effective area of all welds and the tensile stress normal to the axis on the
effective area of a partial joint penetration groove weld are equal to 0.30 times the electrode tensile strength.
However, the stress in the base material may not exceed 0.60F y for tension or 0.40Fy for shear.

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Types of Structural Bolts and Bolted Connections


The most commonly used types of bolts for steel structures are the unfinished bolt (A307) and the high-strength
bolt (A325 and A490).
This section briefly describes the uses, applications, and limitations of these ASTM designated bolts. Figure 34
shows the properties of each of these types of bolts.
Unfinished (A307)

High-strength bolts (A325)

High-strength bolts (A490)

This section also describes the two connection types, friction-type and bearing-type bolts and explains the
difference between them.
MINIMUM
MINIMUM YIELD
TENSILE STRENGTH,
STRENGTH, ksi, 0.2%
ASTM DESIGNATION BOLT DIAMETER, In. ksi OFFSET
A307, low-carbon steel 1/4 to 4 60
High strength
structural bolts:
A325, medium-carbon steel 1/2 to 1 120 92
A490, alloy steel 1-1/8 to 1-1/2 105 81
1/2 to 1-1/2 150 130

Figure 34. Properties of Structural Bolts

Unfinished (A307)
A307 bolts are the least expensive type of bolt. They may not, however, produce the least expensive
connection since many more of them may be required in a particular connection. Their primary use is in light
structures, secondary or bracing members, platforms, catwalks, purlins, girts, small trusses, and similar
applications in which the loads are primarily small and static. Such bolts are also used as temporary fitting-up
connectors in cases where high-strength bolts or welding may be the permanent means of connection.
Unfinished bolts are sometimes called common, machine, or rough bolts. They are manufactured in Grades A
and B.

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Grade A is for general purposes, and Grade B is for joints in a pipe system where one or both flanges are cast
iron. These bolts are tightened using long-handled manual wrenches, so that the induced tension is relatively
small and unpredictable.
High-Strength Bolts (A325)
The A325 Bolt is the most commonly used high-strength bolt. It is intended for general use in structural joints.
The A325 bolt is made of heat-treated medium-carbon steel. The tensile strength of this bolt decreases as the
diameter of the bolt increases, so Figure 34 specifies two ranges of diameter. A325 bolts are available in the
following three types:
Type 1: medium-carbon steel for general purpose and elevated temperatures

Type 2: low-carbon martensite steel alternative for general purpose use and atmospheric
temperatures

Type 3: bolts with improved atmospheric corrosion resistance and weathering


characteristics

High-Strength Bolts (A490)


The occasionally used A490 bolt is made of heat-treated alloy steel in one tensile-strength grade. These bolts
are available in the following three types:
Type 1: ordinary alloy steel for general purpose and elevated temperatures

Type 2: low-carbon martensite steel alternative for general purpose and atmospheric
temperatures

Type 3: bolts of alloy steel and with improved atmospheric corrosion resistance and
weathering characteristics

High-Strength Bolts (A325) and (A490)


High-strength bolts range in diameter from 1/2 in. to 1-1/2 in. The most common diameters used in building
construction are 3/4 in. and 7/8 in. The most common sizes in bridge design are 7/8 in. and 1 in. A490 bolts are
occasionally used when diameters over 1-1/2 in. and up to 3 in. are needed. They are also used for anchor bolts
and threaded rods.

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High-strength bolts can be tightened to develop large tensions, which produce high clamping forces between
the connected parts. The primary requirement when installing high-strength bolts is to provide a sufficient pre-
tension force. The pre-tension should be as high as possible without risking permanent deformation or failure
of the bolt. AISC specifications for A325 and A490 bolts require that these bolts be installed with an initial
tension equal to about 70% of the specified minimum tensile strength of the bolt. This can usually be obtained
with 1/2 turn of the nut from snug position.
Connection Types
In high-strength bolt connections, connection forces may be transferred either by friction or by bearing. Joints
containing high-strength bolts are designed either as friction type, where high-slip resistance is desired, or as
bearing type, where high-slip resistance is unnecessary. However, the bolts must be installed to the same
minimum tension value.
Friction-Type Connection
This connection is used when no slip at service load is desired. Static friction between the contact surfaces of
the connected parts transmits shear forces. The resistance is directly related to the magnitude of the bolt
clamping force and the nature of the faying surfaces. Industry specifications recommend that a slip coefficient
of 0.35, based on tight, unrusted mill-scale surfaces, be used for typical situations. The slip coefficient for
painted surfaces is only approximately 0.10, so faying surfaces of friction-type connections must be free of oil,
paint, lacquer, or galvanizing. Bolts in friction-type connections are not subjected to shear stress or to bearing
stress. This type of shear connection should be used where slip might be objectionable and where stress
reversal, excessive stress variation, impact, or vibration is encountered.
Bearing-Type Connection
This connection transmits shear forces on the connection by shear and bearing. The bearing-type connection
takes the greatest advantage of the high-strength bolt and is the most commonly used connection in building
construction. Since slip is permitted, contact surfaces may be painted.

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designing a common bolted connection for a specified set of parameter


This section discusses the design of bolted connections as well as design and erection concerns.
Design of Bolted Connections
This part covers the following areas:
Applicable standards

Allowable stresses

Overview of theory for design

Applicable Standards
Standards for the design of bolted connections are provided in the following:
AISC Manual of Steel Construction, Part 5, Section J3

Research Council on Structural Connections (RCSC) Specification for Structural Joints using
ASTM A325 or A490 Bolts. This is also included in Part 5 of the AISC Manual of Steel
Construction.

Allowable Stresses
Figure 35 gives the allowable tension and shear stresses on bolts in ksi. Allowable loads are found by
multiplying the appropriate value in Figure 35 by the unthreaded nominal body area of the bolt.

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High-strength bolts supporting applied load by direct tension are proportioned so their average tensile stress,
computed on the basis of nominal bolt area and independent of any initial tightening force, does not exceed the
appropriate stress given in Figure 35. The applied load is the external load and any tension resulting from
prying action produced by deformation of the connected parts.
Allowable Shear (Fv)
Slip-Critical Connectionse
Long-Slotted
Allowable Standard Oversized and Holes Bearing-
Description of Fasteners Tension Size Short-Slotted TransverseJ ParallelJ Type
(Ft) Holes Holes Load Load Connections
A307 bolts 20-.0a 10.0b, f
A325 bolts, when threads are not 44.0 17.0 15.0 12.0 10.0 21.0 f
excluded from shear planes
A325 bolts, when threads are 44.0 17.0 15.0 12.0 10.0 30.0 f
excluded from shear planes
A490 bolts, when threads are not 54.0 21.0 18.0 15.0 13.0 28.0 f
excluded from shear planes
A490 bolts, when threads are 54.0 21.0 18.0 15.0 13.0 40.0 f
excluded from shear planes
aStatic loading only.
bThreads permitted in shear planes.
eClass A (slip coefficient 0.33). Clean mill scale and blast-cleaned surfaces with Class A coatings. When specified by the
designer, the allowable shear stress,Fv, for slip-critical connections having special faying surface conditions may be increased to the
applicable value given in the RCSC Specification.
fWhen bearing type connections used to splice tension members have a fastener pattern whose length, measured parallel to the line of force,
exceeds 50 in., tabulated values shall be reduced by 20%.
JDirection of load application relative to long axis of slot.

Source: American Institute of Steel Construction, Manual of Steel Construction, Ninth Edition, copyright
1989.

Figure 35. Allowable Stress on Bolts, ksi

Overview of Theory for Design


As discussed earlier, the high-strength bolt is installed to have a specified initial tension. Since the specified
tension is large enough to give a frictional force capable of transferring the entire load, bearing of the bolt shank
against the side of the hole does not generally occur under service load. Figure 36 illustrates the free-body
diagrams for the transfer of load in a high-strength bolted connection.

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Figure 36. Transfer of Load High-Strength Bolted Connection

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Actual connections usually consist of more than one bolt (sometimes a large number of bolts). Therefore, as
long as friction alone can transfer the load, all bolts participate equally in transmitting the load (assuming they
are the same size and material). However, after overload, once the frictional resistance is inadequate to transfer
the load, bearing against the side of the hole occurs. When failure of the connection is imminent, the frictional
force does not greatly affect the failure mode. Instead, the plate strength and the bolt tensile and shear strengths
control the connection strength. Figure 37 illustrates possible failure modes.

Figure 37. Possible Failure Modes

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Bearing-Type Connections - Engineers use bearing-type connections when it is not important if slip occurs
under an occasional overload to bring the bolt shank into bearing against the side of the hole. For any
subsequent loading, friction in combination with bearing on the plate transfers load. As long as the loading is
static and does not reverse direction, such slip occurs only once. Afterward, the bolt is already bearing against
the material at the side of the hole.
Friction-Type Connections - When slip-resistance at service load is desired, the friction-type connection is
used. As Figure 36 shows, the pre-tension force (T) in the bolt equals the clamping force between the pieces
being joined. The resistance to shear is a frictional force T. AISC uses the nominal shear stress approach
rather than directly using the slip coefficient (). Thus an allowable nominal shear stress F v is given for bolts
in friction-type connections.
The following sample problems illustrate the steps to determine the capacity of bearing-type and friction-type
connections.

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Sample Problem: Determine the Tensile Capacity of the Bearing-Type Connection


Given:
Given the information in Figure 38, determine the tensile capacity of the bearing-type connection, if the bolt
threads are (a) excluded from the shear plane and (b) included in the shear plane. Use the AISC specification
with 7/8-in. diameter A325 bolts and A572 Grade 50 plate (F y = 50 ksi, Fu = 65 ksi) with standard holes. See
Work Aid 2.

Figure 38. Bearing-Type Connection

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Solution:
From AISC Table J3.1: Standard hole size for 7/8-in. bolt = 15/16-in. diameter
Consider first the tensile capacity of the plates.

net area, A n = 6 15 0.625 = 2.50 in.2
16
gross area, Ag = 6(0. 625) = 3.75 in.2
effective net area, Ag = 2.50 in.2
AISC Section D1: T = 0.60 FyAg or 0.50 FuAe, whichever is smaller
= 30(3.75 = 113 kips or 0.5(65)(2.50) = 81.3 kips (controls)
The action of the entire connection is a shear transfer of load between the two plates. The plane of contact may
be considered the shear plane. When a single plane of contact is involved in the load transfer, the action is also
called single shear.
(a) Threads excluded from shear plane
The allowable capacity per bolt in single shear for A325 bolts (see Figure 35 or Table J3.2 of the AISC Manual
Of Steel Construction, p. 5-73) is:
Rss = FvAb = 30(0.6013) = 18.04 kips
2
7
where: A b =
4 8
The total capacity for the connection is:
T = 4Rss = 4(18.04) = 72.2 kips

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Bearing strength must also be checked.


The allowable bearing stress Fp from AISC Manual of Steel Construction, Section J3.7, p. 5-74, is:
Fp = 1.5Fu = 1.5(65) = 97.5 ksi (AISC, J3-4)

The allowable capacity RB per bolt in bearing is:



R B = FpDt = 97.5 7 5 = 53.3 kips
8 8
Rss < RB; therefore, Rss = 18.04 kips, which (controls)
The end distance from the center of a standard hole to the edge of the plate may not be less than
2(18.04 )
L e 2P = = 0.89 in. (AISC, J3-6)
Fu t 65 (0.625 )

The 1.5 in. provided exceeds the minimum required 0.89 in. and also satisfies the 1-1/2 in. minimum for
sheared edges given by AISC Manual of Steel Construction, Table J3.5, p. 5-76.
Since the shear capacity (T = 72.2 kips) is lower than the plate tensile capacity (T = 81.3 kips), then
T = 72.2 kips (for A325)
Threads included in shear plane
The tensile capacity based on single shear for A325 bolts (see Figure 35 or the AISC Manual of Steel
Construction, Table J3.2, p. 5-73) is:
T = 4(21.0)0.6013 = 50.5 kips (Fv = 21 ksi)

Nominal shear stress again governs since there is no change in net section tensile capacity or in the capacity
based on bearing.

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Sample Problem: Determine the Tensile Capacity of the Friction-Type Connection

Given:
Remember that Figure 38 was used as an example for a bearing-type connection. Using the same figure,
consider the connection as a friction-type connection, and determine the tensile capacity.

Solution:
As determined previously, the plate capacity:
T = 81.3 ksi (based on 0.50FuAn)
From Figure 35, the allowable capacity per bolt in single shear is:
Rss = FvAb = 17(0.6013) = 10.22 kips
T = 4Rss = 4(10.22) = 40.9 kips
Thus bolt strength controls the capacity:
T = 40.9 kips
Design and Erection Concerns
This part discusses the following topics as they pertain to bolted connections:
Corrosion

Misuse of bolts

Improper torque

Bolt fatigue due to vibration

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Corrosion
Corrosion reduces the strength of bolts in several ways. For example, corrosion reduces the effective area of
the bolt, resulting in lower capacity and brittleness due to hydrogen absorption.
Bolts should be protected from dirt and moisture at the job site. They should not be cleaned of the lubricant
that is present in an as-delivered condition. Bolts that accumulate rust or dirt should be cleaned and
relubricated before installation.
To provide a degree of corrosion resistance, bolts are sometimes coated, for example, galvanized.
Misuse of Bolts
Misuse of bolts includes using a different size, number, configuration, or type of bolt from that specified.
Engineers must adhere to the AISC Specifications and design requirements.
Improper Torque
As discussed earlier, when installing high-strength bolts, a sufficient pre-tension force should be provided.
(AISC specifies 70% of minimum tensile strength.) If the torque applied is too small, slippage may occur at the
connection under service loading. If the torque is too large, the bolt may be fractured.
Bolt Fatigue Due to Vibration
Vibration may loosen bolts, resulting in prying action. Subsequent bolt cyclic stresses may lead to fracture.

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selecting Standard connections from the AISC manual

AISC Standard Connections and Suggested Details


This section discusses the following AISC standard connections:
Prequalified welds

Suggested details

Prequalified Welds
A previous section of this module discussed the types of welded connections and their use and limitations.
However, it did not discuss how welds become qualified. The following paragraphs define the qualification of
welds and illustrate prequalified welds.
In general, before a structural connection can be welded, the type of weld and the welding procedure to be used
must be proven to be capable of providing a connection with the required mechanical properties. The process
of carrying out a test weld and then testing it to destruction is called weld procedure qualification. The test
weld is made in exactly the same way as the weld to be used on the real structure. If the weld passes the tests, it
is considered qualified. The process of qualifying welds is often time consuming and costly. However, the
AISC Specification and the Structural Welding Code of the American Welding Society (AWS) exempt most of
the common welded joints used in steel structures from tests and qualification. Such exempt joints are
designated prequalified. AWS prequalification of a weld joint is based upon experience that sound weld metal
with appropriate mechanical properties can be deposited, provided work is performed in accordance with all
applicable provisions of the Structural Welding Code. Among the applicable provisions are requirements for
joint form and geometry.
Prequalification is intended to mean only that sound weld metal can be deposited and fused to the base metal.
Suitability of particular joints for specific applications is not ensured merely by the selection of a prequalified
joint form. The design and detailing for successful welded construction require consideration of factors that
include, but are not limited to, magnitude, type, and distribution of forces to be transmitted; accessibility;
restraint to weld metal contraction; thickness of connected material; effect of residual welding stresses on
connected material; and distortion.
In general, all fillet welds are considered prequalified, provided they conform to requirements of the AWS Code
and the AISC ASD Specification.

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Using prequalified welds saves time and money. Figures 39, 40, and 41 show examples of prequalified fillet
welds, complete penetration groove welds, and partial penetration groove welds respectively. See also notes in
AISC Manual of Steel Construction, pages 4-152 to 4-154.

Source: American Institute of Steel Construction, Manual of Steel Construction, Ninth Edition, copyright
1989.

Figure 39. Prequalified Fillet Welds

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Source: American Institute of Steel Construction, Manual of Steel Construction, Ninth Edition, copyright
1989.

Figure 40. Prequalified Complete Penetration Groove Welds

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Source: American Institute of Steel Construction, Manual of Steel Construction, Ninth Edition, copyright
1989.

Figure 41. Prequalified Partial Penetration Groove Weld

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Suggested Details
When designing a structural connection, different connection configurations can usually be used, each
satisfying the specified strength and flexibility requirements. The first step in the design of the connection is to
select a suitable detail.
The AISC Manual of Steel Construction, pages 4-126 to 4-136 provides a number of suggested connection
details for several different applications, covering the following:
Beam framing

Skewed and sloped

Moment

Shear

Weld moment splices

Column base plates

Column splices

Bolted

Welded

Miscellaneous

Beam-to-column connections for structural tubing and pipes

Purlin and girt connections

Tie rods and anchor bolts

Each suggested detail is considered to have good constructability. The engineer can select a suitable detail
from the details suggested and use it as his starting point for design (that is, to detail the connection fully, he
must then determine the number and size of bolts required, length and size of weld required, etc.). For
example, if a skewed or sloped beam-framing connection must be designed, refer to Figure 42 or the AISC
Manual of Steel Construction, Green Book, Part 4, p. 4-126, and use the example as a guide of a good detail.

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Source: American Institute of Steel Construction, Manual of Steel Construction, Ninth Edition, copyright
1989.

Figure 42. Suggested Details for Skewed and Sloped Beam Framing Connections

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Work aid 1: Procedures for Designing a COMMON Welded Connection for


a specified set of parameters
The following procedure can be used to select a suitable fillet weld size for a connection:
1. Determine (a) the minimum and (b) the maximum permissible fillet weld size from AISC
Manual of Steel Construction, Part 5, Section J2.2b.

2. Select a fillet weld size between (a) and (b) in Step 1.

3. Determine the effective throat thickness, t e, of the weld as follows:

te = 0.707a in.
where: a = leg length (in.)

If the SAW process is used:

when a < 3/8 in.

te = a
when a > 3/8 in.

te = 0.707a + 0.11
4. Determine the allowable resistance of the fillet weld, R w:

Rw = te (0.30 Fu)
where: Fu = Nominal tensile strength of weld metal

5. Calculate the required length of weld metal, L w:

Lw = T
Rw
where: T = Connection shear load to be transmitted

6. If Lw < length available, then the weld size selected in Step 2 is suitable. If not, choose a
larger weld size and repeat Steps 3, 4, and 5.

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Work Aid 2: Considerations, references, and procedure for Designing a


common bolted connection for a specified set of parameters

Considerations and References


Use the following summary in conjunction with the information given in the sample problems for bearing-type
and friction-type connections. When designing axially loaded joints, consider strength and other limitations of
design specifications. This summary applies equally for both bearing-type and friction-type connections. The
elements of a good design are:
1. Adequate net area and gross area to carry tensile load

2. Adequate gross area to carry compressive load

3. Adequate number of bolts to provide shear strength

4. Adequate number of bolts or use of thick enough plates, so bearing strength is adequate
(normally a concern only for bearing-type connections)

5. Adequate end distance so connectors cannot shear out (See Section J3.9 in AISC Manual of
Steel Construction, pages 5-75 to 5-76.)

6. Avoidance of exceeding maximum edge distance, so dishing or curling of the edge does not
occur (See AISC Section J3.10, p. 5-77.)

7. Reasonable spacing between connections, measured center to center, so tearing of plates


cannot occur and wrenches can easily be used to tighten bolts. (See AISC Section J3.8.)

8. Avoidance of long lines of connectors and the use of compact joints if feasible

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Procedure
The following procedure can be used to design a common bolted connection to develop the allowable capacity
of the connected pieces:
1. Determine the bolt hole size from AISC Table J3.1, page 5-71 for the bolt size selected.

2. Determine the gross (Ag) and effective net (Ae) areas of the connected pieces. Refer to AISC
Sections B1, B2, and B3, pages 5-33 and 5-34.

3. Calculate the allowable tensile capacity of the connected pieces as the smaller of:

T = 0.6 FyAg
where: Fy = Yield stress of connected piece
T = 0.5 FuAe
where: Fu = Ultimate strength of connected piece
4. Determine the allowable shear capacity per bolt as follows:

Rs = FvAb (single shear)

Rs = 2FvAb (double shear)

where: Fv = Allowable shear from AISC Table J3.2, page 5-73



A = Unthreaded nominal body area of bolt = D 2
b
4
(D = Nominal bolt diameter)
5. Determine the allowable bearing capacity per bolt as follows (bearing-type connections only):

RB = 1.5 FuDt
where: t = Thickness of connected piece

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6. Determine the number of bolts required as follows:

N= T
R
where: R = Smaller of RS or RB
7. Check minimum spacing and edge distance of bolts. Refer to AISC Section J3.8 and Section
J3.9, pages 5-75 and 5-76.

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GLOSSARY
A307 bolt Low carbon-steel bolt used in light structures where the loads are primarily
small and static.
A325 bolt High-strength bolt made of heat-treated medium-carbon steel having a
minimum tensile strength of 105 to 120 ksi depending on diameter.
A490 bolt High-strength bolt made of heat-treated alloy steel having a minimum
tensile strength of 150 ksi.
API American Petroleum Institute
ASD Allowable Stress Design
ASME American Society of Mechanical Engineers
ASTM American Society for Testing Materials
AWS American Welding Society
bearing-type connection This connection transfers shear on the connection by shear and bearing.
Bearing-type connections are the most commonly used connection in
building construction.
dye penetrant (DPT) Common method of weld inspection that detects tight cracks open to the
surface. It detects surface imperfections only.
effective area of weld The effective area of a groove or fillet weld is the product of the effective
throat dimension (te) times the length of the weld.
electrodes Electrodes are the filler metals used in a weld. They are made from
carbon, alloy, and stainless and corrosion-resistant steel.
faying surface The effective shearing area of plug or slot welds is their nominal area in the
shearing plane.
field weld A field weld connection is a weld that is made in the field rather than in the
shop (factory). This weld is generally more expensive to make than a shop
weld.
Fillet weld Weld in which cross section is roughly triangular in shape; joins surfaces
that are usually about 90 to each other.
friction-type connection This connection is used when no slip at service load is desired.
groove weld Weld made in the groove between two members to be joined.
lamellar tear A lamellar tear is a separation or crack in the base metal, caused by
through thickness weld shrinkage strains.
magnetic particle (MT) A common method of weld inspection that detects surface cracks and
inspection method substance cracks to about 0.1 in. depth. It requires a relatively smooth
surface.
metallurgy Metallurgy is the science of metals.
plug weld Welds made by placing weld metal in circular holes cut in one of two
lapped members.
prequalified welds The AISC Specification and Structural Welding Code of the American
Welding Society (AWS) exempt from tests and qualification most of the
common welded joints used in steel structures. Such exempt joints are
classified as prequalified.
radiographic (RT) inspection A common method of weld inspection that detects porosity, slag, voids,
method cracks, irregularities, and lack of fusion. Defects must occupy more than
about 1.5% of thickness to register.
RCSC Research Council on Structural Connections
residual stress Residual stresses remain in a member after it has been formed into a
finished product.
SAW Submerged arc weld
shop connection A shop connection is a connection that is made in the shop (factory) and is
generally less expensive than a field connection.
slot weld Slot welds are similar to plug welds but use elongated holes.

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SMAW Shielded metal arc weld


stitch or skip weld A stitch or skip weld is sometimes used for nonstructural connections or
when the loads in the connection are small.
suggested details The AISC Manual of Steel Construction provides suggested connection
details for several applications. Each detail is considered to have good
constructability. An engineer can select a suitable suggested detail and
use it as a starting point for design.
ultrasonic (UT) inspection A common method of weld inspection that detects cracks in any
method orientation, slag, lack of fusion, inclusion lamellar tears, and voids. The
surface must be smooth, and equipment must be calibrated frequently.

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