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This edition of the handbook has been updated throughout to reflect continuing changes in
design trends and improvements in design specifications. Criteria and examples are included
for both allowable-stress design (ASD) and load-and-resistance-factor design (LRFD) methods, but an increased emphasis has been placed on LRFD to reflect its growing use in
Numerous connection designs for building construction are presented in LRFD format in
conformance with specifications of the American Institute of Steel Construction (AISC). A
new article has been added on the design of hollow structural sections (HSS) by LRFD,
based on a new separate HSS specification by AISC. Also, because of their growing use in
light commercial and residential applications, a new section has been added on the design
of cold-formed steel structural members, based on the specification by the American Iron
and Steel Institute (AISI). It is applicable to both ASD and LRFD.
Design criteria are now presented in separate parts for highway and railway bridges to
better concentrate on those subjects. Information on highway bridges is based on specifications of the American Association of State Highway and Transportation Officials (AASHTO)
and information on railway bridges is based on specifications of the American Railway
Engineering and Maintenance-of-Way Association (AREMA). A very detailed example of
the LRFD design of a two-span composite I-girder highway bridge has been presented in
Section 11 to illustrate AASHTO criteria, and also the LRFD design of a single-span composite bridge in Section 12. An example of the LRFD design of a truss member is presented
in Section 13.
This edition of the handbook regrettably marks the passing of Fred Merritt, who worked
tirelessly on previous editions, and developed many other handbooks as well. His many
contributions to these works are gratefully acknowledged.
Finally, the reader is cautioned that independent professional judgment must be exercised
when information set forth in this handbook is applied. Anyone making use of this information assumes all liability arising from such use. Users are encouraged to use the latest
edition of the referenced specifications, because they provide more complete information and
are subject to frequent change.
Roger L. Brockenbrough




This handbook has been developed to serve as a comprehensive reference source for designers of steel structures. Included is information on materials, fabrication, erection, structural theory, and connections, as well as the many facets of designing structural-steel systems
and members for buildings and bridges. The information presented applies to a wide range
of structures.
The handbook should be useful to consulting engineers; architects; construction contractors; fabricators and erectors; engineers employed by federal, state, and local governments;
and educators. It will also be a good reference for engineering technicians and detailers. The
material has been presented in easy-to-understand form to make it useful to professionals
and those with more limited experience. Numerous examples, worked out in detail, illustrate
design procedures.
The thrust is to provide practical techniques for cost-effective design as well as explanations of underlying theory and criteria. Design methods and equations from leading specifications are presented for ready reference. This includes those of the American Institute of
Steel Construction (AISC), the American Association of State Highway and Transportation
Officials (AASHTO), and the American Railway Engineering Association (AREA). Both the
traditional allowable-stress design (ASD) approach and the load-and-resistance-factor design
(LRFD) approach are presented. Nevertheless, users of this handbook would find it helpful
to have the latest edition of these specifications on hand, because they are changed annually,
as well as the AISC Steel Construction Manual, ASD and LRFD.
Contributors to this book are leading experts in design, construction, materials, and structural theory. They offer know-how and techniques gleaned from vast experience. They include well-known consulting engineers, university professors, and engineers with an extensive fabrication and erection background. This blend of experiences contributes to a broad,
well-rounded presentation.
The book begins with an informative section on the types of steel, their mechanical
properties, and the basic behavior of steel under different conditions. Topics such as coldwork, strain-rate effects, temperature effects, fracture, and fatigue provide in-depth information. Aids are presented for estimating the relative weight and material cost of steels for
various types of structural members to assist in selecting the most economical grade. A
review of fundamental steel-making practices, including the now widely used continuouscasting method, is presented to give designers better knowledge of structural steels and alloys
and how they are produced.
Because of their impact on total cost, a knowledge of fabrication and erection methods
is a fundamental requirement for designing economical structures. Accordingly, the book
presents description of various shop fabrication procedures, including cutting steel components to size, punching, drilling, and welding. Available erection equipment is reviewed, as
well as specific methods used to erect bridges and buildings.
A broad treatment of structural theory follows to aid engineers in determining the forces
and moments that must be accounted for in design. Basic mechanics, traditional tools for



analysis of determinate and indeterminate structures, matrix methods, and other topics are
discussed. Structural analysis tools are also presented for various special structures, such as
arches, domes, cable systems, and orthotropic plates. This information is particularly useful
in making preliminary designs and verifying computer models.
Connections have received renewed attention in current structural steel design, and improvements have been made in understanding their behavior in service and in design techniques. A comprehensive section on design of structural connections presents approved methods for all of the major types, bolted and welded. Information on materials for bolting and
welding is included.
Successive sections cover design of buildings, beginning with basic design criteria and
other code requirements, including minimum design dead, live, wind, seismic, and other
loads. A state-of-the-art summary describes current fire-resistant construction, as well as
available tools that allow engineers to design for fire protection and avoid costly tests. In
addition, the book discusses the resistance of various types of structural steel to corrosion
and describes corrosion-prevention methods.
A large part of the book is devoted to presentation of practical approaches to design of
tension, compression, and flexural members, composite and noncomposite.
One section is devoted to selection of floor and roof systems for buildings. This involves
decisions that have major impact on the economics of building construction. Alternative
support systems for floors are reviewed, such as the stub-girder and staggered-truss systems.
Also, framing systems for short and long-span roof systems are analyzed.
Another section is devoted to design of framing systems for lateral forces. Both traditional
and newer-type bracing systems, such as eccentric bracing, are analyzed.
Over one-third of the handbook is dedicated to design of bridges. Discussions of design
criteria cover loadings, fatigue, and the various facets of member design. Information is
presented on use of weathering steel. Also, tips are offered on how to obtain economical
designs for all types of bridges. In addition, numerous detailed calculations are presented
for design of rolled-beam and plate-girder bridges, straight and curved, composite and noncomposite, box girders, orthotropic plates, and continuous and simple-span systems.
Notable examples of truss and arch designs, taken from current practice, make these
sections valuable references in selecting the appropriate spatial form for each site, as well
as executing the design.
The concluding section describes the various types of cable-supported bridges and the
cable systems and fittings available. In addition, design of suspension bridges and cablestayed bridges is covered in detail.
The authors and editors are indebted to numerous sources for the information presented.
Space considerations preclude listing all, but credit is given wherever feasible, especially in
bibliographies throughout the book.
The reader is cautioned that independent professional judgment must be exercised when
information set forth in this handbook is applied. Anyone making use of this information
assumes all liability arising from such use.
Roger L. Brockenbrough
Frederick S. Merritt