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Skewed connections result
when members frame to each other
at an angle other than 90 degrees
TO EACH OTHER . In most structures
there will be some members which do
not meet at right angles. These are
referred to as skewed connections. They
require special design considerations to
provide for safety while providing an
economic structure.

Figure 1: Shear Tab

Configurations For Skewed Single Plate
Connections To Beams

The preferred skewed connections for

economy and safety are single plates
(Fig. 1) and end plates (Fig. 2). Single
bent plates (Fig. 3) and eccentric end
plates also work well at very acute
angles. The old traditional double bent
William A. Thornton plate connections are difficult to accu-
(top) is chief rately fit and are expensive to fabricate.
engineer of Cives
Steel Company and
There are also quality (safety) problems
president of Cives with plate cracking at the bend line as
Engineering the angle becomes more acute.
Corporation, both Single plates (Fig. 1) are the most
Figure 2: Shear End Plate
of Roswell, GA. versatile and economical skewed con-
Larry Kloiber has nection with excellent dimensional con-
been with LeJeune trol when using short slotted holes.
Steel Company for While capacity is limited, this is usually
more than three not a problem because skewed members
decades, serving as generally carry less tributary area.
chief engineer, vice
president for
Using the standard 3” hole gauge from
operations and the Table in AISC Manual of Steel
president. He Construction, Vols. I and II, single
currently serves as plates can be utilized for intersection
a structural angles of 90º to 30º. Snug tight bolts are
engineer and preferred because they are more eco-
fabrication nomical and greatly simplify installa-
consultant tion when there are adjacent beams.
responsible for They also eliminate the “banging bolt”
value engineering problem which occurs in single plate
and quality control.
connections when pretensioned bolts

Modern Steel Construction / May 1999

e1 and e2 are
There are no
Figure 3a: Bent Plate Figure 3b: Use of Angle in place of Single Bent Plate

slip into bearing. The AISC The eccen-

tables can be used to select the tricity for the
required plate size and bolts bolts eb is mea-
along with the weld capacity for sured from the
the required load. This connec- face of the sup-
tion has an eccentricity related p o r t .
to physical distance a between Therefore, the
the bolts and the weld as shown eccentricity for
in Fig. 1. The actual eccentricity the weld, ew, is
depends on support rigidity, hole e w = e b + a.
type, and bolt installation. H o w e v e r ,
For a flexible support and rather than
standard holes, the eccentricity using this
for the bolts is value, AISC Figure 4: Eccentric End Plate
eb = (n − 1)− a ≥ a that the weld
size be such
where n is the number of bolts. that the plate yields before the AISC Tables to select plate size,
For a flexible support with welds yield. For A36 plate and bolts, and weld capacity. Note
short slotted holes, E70 electrodes, this requires that there is no eccentricity with
that the fillet weld size is a mini- this joint. The weld detail, how-
2n mum of 3/4 of the plate thickness. ever, has to be adjusted for the
eb = −a ≥a The actual weld detail does, actual geometry of the joint in a
however, have to be developed manner similar to the shear
For a rigid support and stan- for the skewed joint geometry, as plate.
dard holes, will be shown later. Single bent plates (Fig. 3a)
can be sized for either bolted or
eb = (n − 1)− a
End plates (Fig. 2) designed
for shear only are able to provide welded connections using proce-
more capacity than single plates dures similar to those in the
For a rigid support and short and if horizontal slots are uti- AISC Manual for single angle
slotted holes, lized with snug tight bolts in connections. These involve two
bearing some dimensional eccentricities, e1, and e2 from the
2n adjustment is possible. Hole bend line.
eb = −a gages can be adjusted to provide The eccentricities are mea-
3 bolt access for more acute skews. sured from the bend line because
When it cannot be determined The only real constructability the plate at this point has effec-
whether the support is rigid or problem arises when there are tively zero bending strength
flexible, the larger value of e b opposing beams that limit access because of the bend, i.e., the
from the above equations can be to the back side of the connec- plate is “kinked” at this point.
used. tion. These end plate connec- A variation on the single bent
tions can be sized using the plate of Fig. 3a is shown in Fig.

Modern Steel Construction / May 1999

nections should not be used
unless the bolts are positioned
outside the column flanges. This
will make the connection so
eccentric that top and bottom
plates, as shown in Fig. 7, may
be needed. Extending the single
plate increases the connection
cost and, unless the connection is
designed for the increased eccen-
Connection tricity (e of Fig. 7), the column
Eccentricity design may need to account for
Only it. Except for Fig. 7, the eccen-
tricities for these connections are
the same as similar connections
to beam webs.
Figure 5: End Plate Figure 6: Eccentric End Plate Skewed connections to the col-
umn flange will also be eccentric
when the beam is aligned to the
column centerline. However, if
the beam alignment is centered
on the flange, as shown in Fig. 8,
the minor axis eccentricity is
eliminated and the major axis
eccentricity will not generally
govern the column design. The
connection eccentricity is related
to the parameter a here in the
same way as was discussed for
Fig. 1. It is reasonable to
assume that the column provides
a rigid support in Fig. 8.
When the beam is aligned to
the column centerline either sin-
gle plates (Fig. 9), eccentric end
plates (Figs. 10 and 11), or single
Figure 7: Eccentricity of Connection or Column bent plates (Fig. 12) can be used.
The eccentricity for each of these
connections is again similar to
that for the same connection to a
3b, where an angle is used pro- beam web. An additional eccen-
viding a 90º bend. The eccentric- Configurations For tricity ey, which causes a moment
ities e 1, and e 2 are again mea- about the column weak axis, is
Skewed Connections present in these connections as
sured from the “bend line,”
which is at the intersection of To Columns shown in Figs. 9 - 12. The col-
the two legs of the angle. Note umn may need to be designed for
that this connection places an this moment.
Skewed connections to wide A special skewed connection is
eccentric load on the carrying flange columns present special
beam which may need to be con- often required when there is
problems. Connections to webs another beam framing to the col-
sidered in the design of this have very limited access and
beam. umn flange at 90º. If the column
except for columns where the flange is not wide enough to
Eccentric end plates (Fig. 4) flange width is less than the
can be easily sized for the eccen- accommodate a side by side con-
depth, or for skews less than 30º, nection, a bent plate can be shop
tricity e using the tables in the connections to flanges are pre-
AISC Manual for eccentrically welded to the column with
ferred. matching holes for the second
loaded bolt groups. When connecting to column beam as shown in Fig. 13. The
webs, it may be possible to use plate weld is sized for the eccen-
either a standard end plate or tricity e2 plus any requirement
eccentric end plate as shown in for development as a fill plate in
Figs. 5 and 6. Single plate con- the orthogonal connection, and

Modern Steel Construction / May 1999

Figure 8: Single Plate (Shear Tab) Figure 9: Single Plate (Shear Tab)
Centered on Column Flange Gravity Axis Configuration

Figure 10: Eccentric Shear End Plate Figure 11: Eccentric Shear End Plate
Gravity Axis Configuration for High Shear

the column sees an eccentric based on using standard AWS Welding Code provides a method
moment due to ey which equals e2 equal leg fillet welds. The single to calculate the effective throat
in this case. plate weld is sized to equal or for skewed T-joints with varying
exceed the strength of the plate dihedral angles which is based
which results in a fillet weld size on providing equal strength in
Methods For of 0.75 x t for orthogonal connec- the obtuse and acute welds. This
tions. The end plate weld is is shown in Fig. 14a. The AISC
Determining Strength sized to carry the applied load. Method is simpler, and simply
Of Skewed Fillet These standard orthogonal fillet increases the weld size on the
Welds welds of leg size W (Fig. 14) need obtuse side by the amount of the
to be modified as the skew gap as is shown in Fig. 14b.
becomes more acute in order to
The AISC tables in the maintain the required capacity. Both methods can be shown to
Manual of Steel Construction for There are two ways to do this. provide a strength equal to or
single plates and end plates are The AWS D1.1 Structural greater than the required

Modern Steel Construction / May 1999

Figure 12: Single Bent Plate Figure 13: Single Bent Plate—
One Beam Framing to Flange Two Beams

tact length of the leg as would be

the case for orthogonal fillets,
but rather it is the projection of
the contact length of one leg on a
line perpendicular to the other
leg. This is done to enable these
fillet welds to be measured. On
the acute side of the connection
the effective throat for a given
fillet weld size gradually increas-
es as the connection intersection
angle changes from 90º to 60º.
From 60º to 30º, the weld
changes from a fillet weld to a
partial penetration groove weld
(Fig. 16) and the effective throat
decreases due to the allowance Z
for the un-welded portion at the
root. While this allowance varies
Figure 14: Skewed Fillet Weld Sizes Required to
Match Strength of Required Othogonal Fillets based on the welding process
and position, it can conservative-
ly be taken as the throat less 1/8
inch for 60º to 45º and less 1/4”
for 45º to 30º. Joints less than
orthogonal weld size of W. The g is always greater than the 2W
main difference with regard to of the required orthogonal fillets.
strength is that the AWS method It should be noted that the
maintains equal strength in both gap g is limited by AWS to a An Example
fillets, whereas, the AISC maximum value of 3/16 inch for
method increases the strength both methods.
on the acute side by maintaining The effects of the skew on the 30º are not prequalified and gen-
a constant fillet size W while the effect throat of fillet weld can be erally should not be used.
increased size W + g on the very significant as shown in Fig. Fig. 17 shows an arrangement
obtuse side actually looses 15. Fig. 15 also shows how fillet of beams framing to a column,
strength because of the gap g. legs WO and WA are measured two of which are skewed and one
Nevertheless, it can be shown in the skewed configuration. which is off center. This often
that the sum of the strengths of Note that in non-orthogonal fil- occurs to accommodate architec-
these two fillet welds W and W + lets, the “leg size” is not the con- tural features and curtain wall

Modern Steel Construction / May 1999

Figure 15a: Geometry of Skewed Fillet Weld Figure 15b: Geometry of Skewed Fillet Weld
Obtruse Side Acute Side

Figure 17: Typical Skewed

Connection Arrangement

Figure 16: Acute Angles Less Than 60º

Obtuse Angles Greater Than 120º

Modern Steel Construction / May 1999

requirements. Consider the 5. Gross Shear - Bent Plate
design of the connection of the (AISC Spec., Sect. F2.2). φRn =
W24x76 on Line A to the column. 0.9 x 0.6 x Fy x tw x l = 0.9 x 0.6 x
The connection is similar to that 36 x 0.5 x 21 = 204 kips.
shown in Fig. 12 where the
eccentricities for the connection, 6. Net Shear - Bent Plate (AISC
e1 and e2 of Fig. 12, are taken Spec, Sect. J4.1). φRn = 0.75 x
from the bend line. The bolts are 0.6 x Fu x Anet. Anet= 0.5(21 - 7 x
A325N, 7/8”diameter, in standard (0.9375 + 0.0625)) = 7.0 in2. φRn
15/16” diameter holes. The con- = 0.75 x 0.6 x 58 x 7.0 = 183 kips.
nection material is A36, and the
members are A572 Grade 50. 7. Net Bending Strength of Bent
For the bolts, e1 = 4.125 - 1.5 = Plate. From AISC Manual Table
2.625 and for the weld, e 2 = 12.1, the net section modulus is
3.375 - xl where l = 21 and x will Sn = 24.8 in3.
be determined from AISC
Manual Table 8-42. The capaci- 0.75 Fy S n 0.75 × 58 × 24.8
φRn = = = 411 kips
ty of this connection will now be e1 2.625
determined by checking the fol-
lowing limit states.
8. Gross Bending Strength of
1. Bolt Shear. The design Bent Plate. The gross section
strength of one bolt is φrv = 0.75 modulus near the bolts is S =
x 48 x 0.6013 = 21.6 kips (AISC 0.25 x 0.5 x 212 = 55.1.
Spec., Sect. J3.1). With the
0.90 Fy S 0.90 × 36 × 55.1
eccentricity e 1 = 2.625, AISC φRn = = = 680 kips
Table 8-18 gives C b = 6.22 by e1 2.625
interpolation. The design
strength of the seven bolts is The design strength of the con-
thus φR n = 21.6 x 6.22 = 134 nection is the least of the Limit
kips. State values given above, or φRn
2. Weld Design Strength (AISC = 134 kips, and the bolts control.
Manual Table 8-42). A 5/16” fillet The last two limit sstates,
weld of “C” shape is indicated in Numbers 7 and 8, may not seem
Fig. 17. With l = 21, kl = 3, and very important because they
al + xl = 3.375, k = 0.143, x = yield such large design
0.017, al = 3.375 - 0.017 x 21 = strengths, 411 kips and 680 kips,
3.018, a = 0.144, and Cw = 1.85. respectively. For shallow con-
The weld design strength is thus nections, ie, small, and larger
φRn = 1.85 x 5 x 21 = 194 kips. eccentricities, they can become
the controlling limit states.
3. Bearing on the W24x76 Web
(AISC Spec., Sect. J3.10). φRn = This paper is part of the 1999
0.75 x 2.4 x tw x d x Cb = 0.75 x North American Steel
2.4 x 65 x 0.440 x 0.875 x 6.22 = Construction Conference session:
280 kips. This calculation “Research II (Topic: Design of
assumes that the edge distances Skewed Connections).
equal or exceed 1.5d and the
spacing equals or exceeds 3d,
which is the case here.

4. Bearing on the Bent Plate

(AISC Spec., Sect. J3.10). φRn =
0.75 x 2.4 x 58 x 0.5 x 0.875 x
6.22 = 284 kips. Again, this cal-
culation assumes that edge dis-
tances and spacing in the plate
equal or exceed 1.5d and 3d,
respectively, which is the case

Modern Steel Construction / May 1999