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Members Subjected to
Axial Tension

Introduction
Where do tension members live in a steel structure?

Geschwindner (2012)

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Introduction
Typical Shapes Used for Tension Members

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AISC Specification Provisions Discussed

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Behavior and Strength


Chapter D in the AISC specifications covers tension members.

Two possible limit states are assumed for tension members:


Yielding (on gross-cross section)
Rupture (on effective net area)

The design (LRFD) or allowable (ASD) strength of a tension member is


computed as;

LRFD ASD
Design Tensile Strength Allowable Tensile Strength
Tn
Td Tn Ta

Behavior and Strength

Yielding
Uniformly distributed stress throughout the entire cross-
section of the tension member reaches the yield stress
over the entire member length.
The yielding limit state is attained with large
deformations and thus, warning of failure is present.

Tn, yield Fy Ag

Area of Gross
Yield Stress
Cross-Section

0.90 ( LRFD ) 1.67 ( ASD)

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Behavior and Strength


Rupture
Significant stress concentrations develop at holes in tension members

Geschwindner (2012)

The cross-section will continue to strain in the vicinity of the


hole until the material yields over a very small length
Further straining at these locations results in strain hardening
and eventual rupture
The very small length over which yielding occurs results in NO
WARNING before rupture.

Behavior and Strength

Rupture (continued)

Tn,rupture Fu Ae

Ultimate Tensile Effective Net Area


Stress of Member

0.75 ( LRFD) 2.00 ( ASD)

Smaller resistance and safety factors are assigned because


warning of impending failure is not present with rupture limit
state.

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Computation of Areas
Gross Area
Gross area can be thought of as the full cross-sectional area
without deduction for bolt holes.
For structural steel shapes commonly used in construction, the
AISC Manual Part 1 contains gross areas for shapes.
The gross-area for HSS shapes is computed using 93% of the
nominal wall thickness (AISCS B4.2). (Side Bar. this is likely to
change as the result of work by Foley and Marquez 2010).

Computation of Areas
Net Area
Computed by subtracting the area of holes made within the members cross-
section from the gross cross section area.
Holes considered are those used for mechanical fasteners (e.g. bolts) and
welds (e.g. plug or slot welds).
Standard Holes that are DRILLED are 1/16 greater in diameter than the
nominal dimension of the mechanical fastener passing through it (AISCS
B4.3b).
Punched Holes result in some damage to the material surrounding the holes.

Thus, when punched holes


are utilized, material in
damaged area might not
be effective. As a result, a
hole diameter 1/8 larger
than the nominal bolt
diameter is used.
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Computation of Areas
Oversize and Slotted Holes
When bolt diameters of 5/8 and 3/4 (common in buildings) are utilized,
oversize (OVS), short-slotted (SSL), and long-slotted (LSL) hole dimensions are
as shown below (AISCS J3.2).

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OVS, SSL and LSL bolt hole dimensions for bolt diameters larger than 3/4
are provided in the Specifications J3.2.

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Computation of Areas
Short Connecting Elements
The previous discussion regarding yielding prior to rupture implied that it is
better to have a longer member where yielding over the members cross-
section can occur over a long length thereby generating larg(er) deformations
prior to rupture.

When the connecting elements are short, there is limited opportunity for
large deformations to develop and therefore, when splice plates and other
short connection elements are used (AISCS J4.1),

Ae 0.85 Ag

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Computation of Areas

Effects of Hole Placement (bolt stagger)


There is often a need to fit a significant number of bolts within connection
elements. As a result, bolt lines often involve stagger in these larger
connections.

Angle gage
dimensions, g, can
be found in the
AISC Manual.

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Computation of Areas

Effects of Hole Placement (bolt stagger)


When the net area is computed for bolt groups with stagger, the Specifications
(AISCS B4.3b) require that every potential failure line be addressed with the full
area of each intersected hole deducted and consideration of the potential for
failure along diagonal paths.

For each diagonal segment in a potential failure path, the quantity,


s2
4g

is added back into the net width.

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EXAMPLE 1
Data:
Consider the L6x6x3/4 angle below with 7/8 diameter bolts used in the
tension member connection.

Geschwindner (2012)

Determine:
Compute the gross and net areas of the angle tension member. Assume
that standard holes (could be punched or drilled) are created in each leg.

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EXAMPLE 1 (continued)
Solution:
Gross Area
This is relatively easy, as gross cross-sectional areas are provided in
the AISC Manual.

Ag 8.46 in 2 (AISC Manual Table 1-7)

Net Area
The bolt lines do not include stagger. Furthermore, we are not sure if
the holes will be punched or drilled. Thus, we will assume punched.

d h 0.875" 0.0625" 0.0625" 1.00"


Section 2-2 would control the design because two bolt holes can be
deducted from the rupture failure line.

An 8.46" 2(1.00")(0.75") 6.96 in 2

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EXAMPLE 2
Data:
Consider the L6x4x1/2 with staggered bolt pattern below.

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The bolts to be used are 7/8 nominal diameter and punched holes.

Determine:
Compute the gross and net areas for the angle.
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EXAMPLE 2 (continued)
Solution:

We can treat the angle as a folded flat plat, or we can use the AISC
Manual Table 1-7 to compute the gross area.

The effective width of the equivalent flat plate is,

we l1 l2 t 6" 4" 1 / 2" 9.50 in.


Multiplying by the angle thickness gives,

Ag 9.50"(0.50") 4.75 in 2 (same as AISC Manual Table 1-7)

We will look at the flattened angle shown in the previous figure and will
evaluate fracture (failure) paths 1-1, 2-2, and 2-1-2.

We will look at net areas along each of the failure paths and will select the
smaller of the three.

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EXAMPLE 2 (continued)
Failure Path (chain) 1-1:

bn1 9.5" (0.875" 0.125") 8.5"

An1 bn1 t (8.50")(0.50") 4.25 in 2

Failure Path (chain) 2-2:

bn 2 9.5" (2)(0.875" 0.125") 7.5"

An 2 bn 2 t (7.50")(0.50") 3.75 in 2

Failure Path (chain) 2-1-2:

( g g1 t ) 2.50" 2.25" 0.50" 4.25 in (Vertical Spacing)

(2.50") 2 (2.50") 2
bn 3 9.5" (3)(0.875" 0.125") 7.49 in
4(2.50") 4(4.25")
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EXAMPLE 2 (continued)

Failure Path (chain) 2-1-2 (continued):

An3 7.49"(0.50") 3.75 in 2

The effective area is therefore, the minimum area computed,

An An 2 An 3 3.75 in 2

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Effective Net Area


When tension members are finally
connected to other components there Ineffective Area
is a portion of the tension member that (shaded area)
becomes ineffective in transferring
force.

We account for this ineffective area by


defining the:
Effective Net Area

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The ineffective area of


the tension member
(shaded area) is
generated through a
structural mechanics
phenomena called
shear lag.
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Effective Net Area (continued)

The shear lag phenomena


results from the stress
flowing to the portions of the
cross-section that are
anchored at the ends of the
tension member.

(Vinnakota 2006)

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Effective Net Area (continued)

The AISC procedure (Chapter D) is to


break the member up into segments
that are away from the
connection and those that are at
the connection.

This leads to the concept of the


effective net area defined using,
Ae U An

Shear Lag Factor


Cross-Section Efficiency Factor
Table D3.1 in AISC Spec.
(Vinnakota 2006)

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Effective Net Area (continued)


The shear lag factor is defined as the ratio of effective connection
length to actual connection length,

L L x x
U 1
L L L

Geschwindner (2012) x - distance from attached face to member centroid


L - length of connection

The length of the connection is similar when bolts and welds are utilized
(refer to Slide 20 in this section).

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Effective Net Area (continued)


Connection eccentricities for common connection configurations: x xcon

(Vinnakota 2006)

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EXAMPLE 3
Data:
The angle shown below is connected to the gusset plate via one leg. The
bolts used in the connection are 3/4 diameter (nominal) and the angle is
made of A36 steel. Assume holes are punched.

Geschwindner (2012)

Determine:
Compute the design strength (LRFD) and allowable strength (ASD) of the
L4x4x1/2 angle tension member shown below

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EXAMPLE 3 (continued)
Solution:

Compute the Gross Area and Net Area


There is only one bolt line (i.e. no stagger, etc) so the net area is
relatively easy to compute.

Ag 3.75 in 2 (AISC Manual Table 1-7)

An 3.75 in 2 0.75" 0.125" (0.50") 3.31 in 2

Compute the Effective Net Area


Since only one leg of the angle is connected, the shear lag factor
needs to be determined and applied.
Three fasteners in one leg of angle leads us to Case 8 in AISC
Manual Table D3.1;
U 0.60

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EXAMPLE 3 (continued)

Compute the Effective Net Area (continued)


In Case 8, we also have the option of computing the shear lag factor.
We will do this below.
x
U 1
L
x 1.18" (AISC Manual Table 1-7)

L 3" 3" 6"


1.18"
U 1 0.80 0.60 U 0.80
6"
Ae 0.80 3.31 in 2 2.65 in 2

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EXAMPLE 3 (continued)
Nominal Tensile Strength of Angle
We consider two limit states: tensile yielding and tensile rupture.
Tensile Yielding:

Tn1 Fy Ag (36 ksi )(3.75 in 2 ) 135 kips


Tensile Rupture:

Tn 2 Fu Ae (58 ksi )(2.65 in 2 ) 154 kips

Design Tensile Strength of Angle - LRFD


Td 1 0.90(135 kips) 122 kips
Td 2 0.75(154 kips ) 116 kips

Rupture Controls: Td 116 kips

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EXAMPLE 3 (continued)
Allowable Tensile Strength of Angle - ASD
135 kips
Ta1 81 kips
1.67
154 kips
Ta 2 77 kips
2.00
Rupture Controls: Ta 77 kips

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EXAMPLE 4
Data:
The WT shown below is composed of A992 steel. The flange of the WT
is connected to the gusset plate via fillet welds that are 6 inches long.

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Determine:
Compute the design strength (LRFD) and allowable strength (ASD) of the
WT6x32.5 tension member shown below
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EXAMPLE 4 (continued)
Solution:
Compute the Gross Area and Net Area
The force is transmitted to the gusset plate via fillet welds. Thus,
there is no need to deduct bolt holes.

Ag 9.54 in 2 (AISC Manual Table 1-8)

An Ag

Compute the Effective Net Area


Since only the flange of the WT is connected, the shear lag factor
needs to be determined and applied.
Case 7 and Case 2 in the AISC Manual Table D3.1 can be applied;

b f 12.0"
(AISC Manual Table 1-8)
d 6"

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EXAMPLE 4 (continued)
Compute the Effective Net Area (continued)

Case 7 in the AISC Manual Table D3.1;


2
b f 12.0" (12.1") 8.07"
3
U 0.90
Case 2 in the AISC Manual Table D3.1;
x 0.985"
U 1 1 0.836 Case 7 controls: U 0.90
L 6"

Ae 0.90 9.54 in 2 8.59 in 2

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EXAMPLE 4 (continued)
Nominal Tensile Strength of WT
We consider two limit states: tensile yielding and tensile rupture.
Tensile Yielding:

Tn1 Fy Ag (50 ksi )(9.54 in 2 ) 477 kips


Tensile Rupture:

Tn 2 Fu Ae (65 ksi )(8.59 in 2 ) 559 kips

Design Tensile Strength of WT - LRFD


Td 1 0.90(477 kips ) 429 kips
Td 2 0.75(559 kips) 419 kips

Rupture Controls: Td 419 kips

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EXAMPLE 4 (continued)
Allowable Tensile Strength of WT - ASD
477 kips
Ta1 286 kips
1.67
559 kips
Ta 2 279 kips
2.00
Rupture Controls: Ta 279 kips

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Block Shear
There is a rather interesting scenario that can occur in the connection
region of a tension member. This phenomena called block shear is shown
below.

(carried by
bolts)

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The basic behavior is for part of the tension member to tear out and remain
connected, while the rest of the member moves away from the connection.

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Block Shear (continued)


There are two portions of the tension member to consider in defining the
block shear strength: (a) tension area; and (b) shear areas.

(carried by
bolts)

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The nominal strength of the tension member considering block shear is defined
by the Specification in Section J4.3.

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Block Shear (continued)


The nominal strength of a tension member defined by the limit state of
block shear rupture is computed using,

Tn 0.6 Fu Anv U bs Fu Ant (shear rupture on net shear area)

0.6 Fy Agv U bs Fu Ant (shear yield on gross shear area)

Fu - ultimate tensile stress of material


Fy - tensile yield stress of material
Anv - net area in shear
Agv - gross area in shear
Ant - net area in tension
U bs 1.00 (uniform tension stress)

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EXAMPLE 5
Data:
The gusset plate shown below has a thickness of 1/2 inch. The steel plate is
composed of A36 steel. Bolts are 7/8 diameter with punched holes.

Geschwindner (2012)

Solution:
The required strength for LRFD is 225 kips and the require strength for ASD is
150 kips. Does the gusset plate have sufficient capacity with regard to block
shear?
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EXAMPLE 5 (continued)
Solution:
Compute Needed Areas

Ant (0.50") 6 0.875" 0.125" 2.50 in 2

Agv 2 11"(0.50") 11.00 in 2

Anv 2 11.00" (3.5)(0.875" 0.125") (0.50") 7.50 in 2


Compute the Block Shear Strength

Tn1 0.6(58 ksi)(7.50 in 2 ) (1.00)(58 ksi )(2.50 in 2 ) 406 kips

Tn 2 0.6(36 ksi )(11.00 in 2 ) (1.00)(58 ksi)(2.50 in 2 ) 383 kips


Design (LRFD) and Allowable (ASD) Strengths

Td (0.75) min 406 k ,383 k 287 kips 225 kips OK

min 406 k ,383 k 192 kips 150 kips OK


1
Ta
2.00
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EXAMPLE 6
Data:
Two W14x43 wide flange shapes are spliced together using two 1/2 thick
flange cover plates as shown below. The W14 are composed of A992 steel.
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Solution:
The LRFD design strength of (6) 7/8 diameter bolts in single shear as used in
the connection is 227 kips. The cover plates will not define the strength limit
state. What is the design strength (LRFD) for the connection?
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EXAMPLE 6 (continued)
Solution:
Design Strength for Limit State of Yielding: W14x43

Ag 12.6 in 2

Tn1 (50 ksi )(12.6 in 2 ) 630 kips

Td 1 (0.90)(630 kips ) 567 kips

Design Strength for Limit State of Tensile Rupture: W14x43

t f 0.530 in
Compute the Net Area. It is computed by deducting 2 bolt hole areas
at 2 locations (one in each of two flanges) . Assume punched holes.

An 12.6 in 2 (2)(2)(0.530")(0.875" 0.125")


10.5 in 2

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EXAMPLE 6 (continued)
Design Strength for Limit State of Tensile Rupture (continued)
Compute the Effective Net Area: The W14x43 is treated as two
WT7x21.5 sections.
x 1.31"
U 1 1 0.782 WT Data from AISC Manual Table 1-8
L 6"
2
b f 8.0" (6.00") 4.00" U 0.90 CONTROLS
3
Ae 0.90 10.5 in 2 9.45 in 2

Tn 2 (65 ksi )(9.45 in 2 ) 614 kips

Td 2 (0.75)(614 kips ) 461 kips

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EXAMPLE 6 (continued)
Design Strength for Limit State of Block Shear Rupture
Computation of block shear limit state strength will be computed by
considering the strength of one block (as shown below) and adding up
the results for each of the four flanges.

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EXAMPLE 6 (continued)
Design Strength for Limit State of Block Shear Rupture (continued)
Rupture on the Tension Plane (1/2 of a bolt hole deducted)
U bs Fu Ant (1.00)(65 ksi ) 2.00" (1 / 2) 0.875" 0.125" (0.530")
51.7 kips
Yield on the Shear Plane
0.6 Fy Agv (0.60 50 ksi)(8.00")(0.530") 127 kips

Rupture on the Shear Plane (2-1/2 bolt holes deducted)


0.6 Fu Anv (0.60 65 ksi ) 8.00" (2.5)(0.875" 0.125") (0.530")
114 kips
Tn1 0.6 Fu Anv U bs Fu Ant 165.7 kips
Tn 3 165.7 kips
Tn 2 0.6 Fy Agv U bs Fu Ant 178.7 kips

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EXAMPLE 6 (continued)
Design Strength for Limit State of Block Shear Rupture (continued)

Td 3 (0.75)(165.7 kips) 124 kips


Td 3 4(124 kips ) 496 kips

Design Strength for Limit State of Bolt Failure (given for problem)

Td 4 (2)(227 kips ) 454 kips

Design Tension Strength for Splice

Td min 567 k , 461 k , 496 k , 454 k

Td 454 k

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EXAMPLE 7
Data:
Consider the diagonal tension member within a truss shown below. The
diagonal member is composed of a single L4x3x3/8.

The bolts used will be 3/4


diameter. The bolt allowable
shear strength in this
connection is 35.7 kips.

The steel from which the


angle is made is A36.

Determine:
Determine the allowable
tension strength of the angle
truss member (ASD).

Geschwindner (2012)

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EXAMPLE 7 (continued)
Solution:
Allowable Strength for Limit State of Yielding: (one L4x3x3/8)

Ag 2.48 in 2

Tn1 (36 ksi)(2.48 in 2 ) 89.3 kips


89.3 k
Ta1 53.5 kips
1.67

Allowable Strength for Limit State of Tensile Rupture: (L4x3x3/8)

t 0.375 in
An 2.48 in 2 (0.375")(0.75" 0.125") 2.15 in 2
x 0.775"
U 1 1 0.871 WT Data from AISC Manual Table 1-7
L 6"
Ae 0.871 2.15 in 2 1.873 in 2
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EXAMPLE 7 (continued)
Allowable Strength for Limit State of Tensile Rupture: L4x3x3/8 (continued)

Tn 2 (58 ksi )(1.873 in 2 ) 108.6 kips

108.6 k
Ta 2 54.3 kips
2.00
Allowable Strength for Limit State of Block Shear Rupture
Rupture on the Tension Plane (1/2 of a bolt hole deducted)
U bs Fu Ant (1.00)(58 ksi ) 1.50" (1 / 2) 0.75" 0.125" (0.375")
23.1 kips
Yield on the Shear Plane
0.6 Fy Agv (0.60 36 ksi )(7.25")(0.375") 58.7 kips

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EXAMPLE 7 (continued)
Rupture on the Shear Plane (2-1/2 bolt holes deducted)
0.6 Fu Anv (0.60 58 ksi ) 7.25" (2.5)(0.75" 0.125") (0.375")
66.1 kips
Tn1 0.6 Fu Anv U bs Fu Ant 89.2 kips
Tn 3 81.8 kips
Tn 2 0.6 Fy Agv U bs Fu Ant 81.8 kips

81.8 k
Ta 3 40.9 kips
2.00

Allowable Strength for Limit State of Bolt Failure (given for problem)

Ta 4 35.7 kips

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EXAMPLE 7 (continued)

Allowable Tension Strength for Truss Member

Ta min 53.7 k ,54.3 k ,40.9 k ,35.7 k

Td 35.7 k

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References

AISC (2010) Manual of Steel Construction, 14th Edition, American Institute of


Steel Construction, Chicago, IL.

Geschwindner (2012) Unified Design of Steel Structures, 2nd Edition, John


Wiley & Sons, New York, NY.

Vinnakota (2006) Steel Structures: Behavior and LRFD, McGraw-Hill Higher


Education, New York, NY.

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