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UDC 624.078.014.

A paper to be presented and discussed at a meeting of The Institution of Structural Engineers, I1 Upper Belgrave Street, London SWlX 8BH, on
Thursday 9 October 1980, at 6 pm.

Connections in structural
steelwork for buildings
F. H. Needham, BSc(Eng), ACGI,CEng, FIStructE, FICE

A graduate of Imperial College, Mr Needham BS 449’, e.g. conveyor frames, water towers, open gantry structures, and
gained experience in steelwork design with the like.
fabricators, consulting engineers, and a local
authority, before joining the British Iron & Steel
Research Association in 1962. Heading its Basic principles and design philosophy
Structural Engineering Section until 1970, he was
then transferred to Redpath Dorman Long, It isaxiomatic that, howevermuch care and attention isgiven to the
Bedford, as head of product research & determinationofstructurallayoutand membersizes, the resulting
development. Since 1974, he has been Chief
Engineer, Design Development, at CONSTRADO. structure will not behave as the designer intends unless comparable
He served on the Council of the Institution consideration is givento the connectionsbetween such members.Further,
1963-66, and was re-elected as a London Fellow in much of the final cost of the structure is incurred by the fabricator in
1978. He was Chairman 1973-74 of the
1 Bedfordshire & Adjoining
Counties Branch. He preparingtheconnections which theerector will secure. It is thus

ii vvh
serves on a number of BSI committees. important, in producing an economic structure, to ensure that both these
activities can be speedily and cheaply performed.
It is perhaps unfortunate that theway the industry is organised entails
The paper outlines the basicprinciples and designphilosophy underlying the main framework design and the detailing of connections for themost
the design of both bolted and welded joints. It emphasises the needfor part being carried out in different offices. For the best overall result it is
joint design to beconsistentwithassumedstructural behaviour. The desirable for the designer to have a working knowledge of the detailing
several kindsofbolt currently inuse are defined, theirstrengths process and to define, for the detailed guidance, the basic structural
compared, and the variouskinds ofwelded joint described. Anoutline of anatomy and behaviour he is seeking to attain. It is perhaps unthinkable
design procedures is given for joints using all three bolt types, togelher thatthe two parties should not meet to discuss common issues, but
with an example of thedesign of an eccentric bracket.Moment regrettably this situation is sometimes allowed to occur.
connections, giving rise to combined shear and tension in the bolts are
The requirements of BS 449’ are based on the assumption of elastic
touched on, as are the origins of prying forces. An outline of design
procedures for welded joints isgiven,withthesameexample of an joint behaviour, although plastic design of connections is not precluded
eccentric bracket used to illustrate the differences berween bolted and (if sufficient is known of behaviour to justify such an assumption, which
welded joints. Practical and economic considerations are presented and in general is notthe case). Suffice it to say, though, thatmost joints will in
the paper concludes with a number of typical details, again comparing ultimate conditions behave plastically, however designed, which is worth
bolted and welded solutions. bearing in mind at all times. The Specification describes three approaches
to the design of theframework, i.e. SimpleDesign,based on the
Introduction assumption of effectively pinned connections betweenbeams and
This paper was submitted in response to an editorial plea in the journal columns, transverse forces being resisted by bracing or other means; Rigid
for papers giving practical guidance to others and younger members to Design, in which full continuity is assumed at beam-to-column or rafter-
help them in their professional work. It seemed to the writer that a need to-column joints, as in portal frames, thus accommodating transverse
exists for a succinct treatment of thesubject of straightforward forces by framing action; andSemi-Rigid Design. Inthis last an attemptis
connections in building steelwork. This paper is intended to meet this made to recognise the stiffnesses of practical connections andtheir effect
need; as such, it containsnothing new and, within the limitations of in transmitting bending moments. This hasbeen little used, partly because
space, inevitably leaves much uncovered. Further information is already no substantial economy derives and partly because too little is known of
available from various sources, to which reference will later be made to the moment-rotation characteristics of most joint configurations (and
assist those interested in deeper study. such are likely to remain unquantifiable in the foreseeable future).
Clearly, there is much common ground between steelwork for bridges The decision as tothe design method must be made at anearly stage in
and that for buildings and kindred structures, and this similarity extends the development of a project, and it is at this stage that one should also
to connections. However, it is generally accepted that bridgework rightly decide the form that the connectionswill take and how they may be best
requires a greaterdegree of sophistication andexactitude; thus while most effected, in the particular circumstances. The reason for deciding this
principles are common, whatfollows isnot intended to be applied directly issue at an early stage is that the size of members, and even their layout,
to bridgework. The many uncertainties associated with
buildings, may be influenced by the choice of connections.
particularly as regards themagnitudes of loads, and the comparative
rarity of fatigue conditions, justify less exact, but more readily attained, Shop and site connections
solutions. Ontheotherhand,the term‘buildings’in this contextis Favoured practice today is to use welding to a large extent in the shops
intended to embrace other structuresusually designed in accordance with and to effect site connections by bolting. Economy can be derived from

The Structural EngineerlVolume 58AINo. 9lSeptember 1980 267

Paper: Needham

shop welding, whereas welding on site can beexpensive and difficult,

because members need to be firmly held in place while welding iscarried
out. A correctly fabricated frame to be connected by bolts is to a certain
extent self-aligning. By the same token,light lattice work is best bolted in
the shops, unless large numbers of identical items are needed, justifying THROAT
thecost ofassembly jigs. Anglemembers are readily croppedand
punched accurately and, when so made, cannot be wrongly assembled. THICKNESS
There beingexceptions to everyrule,occasions do arise where site LENGTH
welding is appropriate and, in such cases, it is worth taking advantage in
design of the continuity obtainable from welded joints. These cases are
rare, but if the decision has already been made to use fully rigid design in
a large framework, and loadings and spans demand the transference of
large bending moments, then there will be less uncertainty as to the real Fig 1. Fillet weld
behaviour of the joints if welding is used.

Types of connectors
There are basically three types of connector in common use, i.e.
- I S 0 metric black hexagonal bolts, screws and nuts to BS 4190’
No preparation: square butt
(strength grade 4-6)
Suitable only for thin plates, e.g.
- IS0 metric precision hexagonal bolts, screws and nuts to BS 36923
webs of light castellas
(strength grade 8 8)
- High strength friction grip bolts and associated nuts and washers 60
to BS 43954
Bolts to this last British Standard are themselves of three kinds, i.e.
- Part 1: General grade (strength grade 8 -8)
- Part 2: Higher grade (strength grade 10.9)
- Part 3: Higher grade (waisted shank) (strength grade 10.9)
Several pointsshould be noted. Firstly, the term ‘BlackBolt’is no
longer sufficiently specific since, while 4.6 bolts to BS 4190 are always
suppliedin the black condition, 8.8 Precision boltsare sometimes Single V-butt
supplied black, and sometimes turned to attain the specified precision. Preparation can be by flame-
Thus it would be better if the term ‘black’ were dropped in favour of cutting or chipping
referring specifically to 4.6or 8 -8 bolts. Secondly, the term ‘Precision’ in
the title of BS 3692 refers to the dimensional toleranceon the bolt shank
itself, not its fit in the hole. Most such bolts are in fact used in clearance
holes, i.e. of a nominal diameter 2 mm greater than the shank diameter.
Thirdly, regarding HSFG bolts to BS 4395: Part 1 ‘General Grade’ bolts
account for about 95% of those used. Part 2 ‘Higher Grade’ provide Double V-butt
greater slip values owing to the increased shank tension, but the increase Must be welded from both sides
is not proportional. Againstthis,they require more closelycontrolled
tightening. Part 3 ‘WaistedBolts’show little advantage overGeneral
Grade, except that their performance in fatigue situations is better. Thus
Part 2 and Part3 bolts are for the most part confined to bridgework and Single U-butt
will not be further discussed here. Uses less weld metal than single V
The I S 0 method of strength designation should be explained. This is but preparation must be machined
now given by two numbers separated by a decimal point, e.g. 4-6, 8.8,
etc. The first number is atenth of theUltimate Tensile Strength,
expressedinKgf/mm2 (note: notN/mm2). The second number is the
ratio of the yield strength to UTS, X 10. Thus, multiplying the two
numberstogether gives the yield strength.It is to be notedthat this
designation refers only to the bolt material. The corresponding nutwill be
of the sameor higher UTS. HSFG bolts aresupplied with nuts a gradehigher
than the bolt to minimise the risk of thread stripping duringtightening. It Fig 2. Butt welds
will be observed that the .bolt material properties are substantially the
same for 8.8 bolts to BS 3692 and General Grade HSFG bolts to BS 4395. joint, with the faces forming an angle of between 60” and 120”. (See Fig
The essential differences are in the dimensions of the head and nut, the l .) They are approximately triangular in section and are geometrically
HSFG b’olts having a greater width across the flatsand a deeper nut. These specified by either the leg length or the throat thickness as appropriate,
differences are to accommodate the greater shank tension and torsional although the former is more often used.Normally the leg lengths are
stresses duringthetorquing process; in particular,the deepernutis intended to be equal, although in practice there may be some asymmetry.
necessary to control the stresses in the threads. Some degree of concavity or convexity is acceptable, the throat thickness
All these bolt types, and their identifying markings, are described in being required to be between 0 . 7 and 0 -9 times the leg length.
greater detail in a recent BCSA publication Structural fasteners and their Fillet welds are designed to carry all types of load through shear taken
application5. This also describessuchthings ascountersunk bolts, onthethroatarea. To allow forvariations inweld geometry, the
parallel and tapered washers, etc., not dealtwith here, and gives a number minimum throat thickness ratio of 0 . 7 is taken for calculating the throat
of design examples. areafora right-angled fillet, with appropriate reductions for angles
greaterthan 90”. Conversely, an extra allowance is made for deep
Types of welded joints penetration welds, achieved by the use of special electrodes.
There are two main types of weld, i.e. fillet welds and butt welds. Buttwelds are weldsinwhich the depositedmetalliessubstantially
It is usual to assume that compatible parentmetal and electrodes will be within the extension of the planes of the parts joined, i.e. the weld metal
used(unlessspecifically stated to thecontrary), inwhichcase the forms a direct continuation of the parent plate, and thus the allowable
deposited metal will be at least as strong as the parent metal. BS 449does, stresses are those of the plate itself, which may be tension, compression,
however,allow the useofmildsteelelectrodeswith grade 50 plate, shear, or a combination. They are geometrically specified by the throat
provided that mild steel stress levels are used in sizing the weld. thickness, usually equal to the thickness of the thinner part joined and the
Fillet welds, as implied by the name, are deposited in the angle of a shape of the weld preparation, if any. Butt welds can be used for joining

268 The Structural EngineerlVolume 58AINo. 9ISeptember1980

Paper: Needham

coaxial plates and for effecting right-angle joints. The preparation

can be
of several forms.
Figs (See 2 and 4.) -- - - - ---
NOTE: Welds try to contract on cooling,bothlongitudinallyand ____.----
transversely. Therefore, there will
be angular
distortion in an
asymmetrical weld (see Fig 3), which can be offset by offering the plates
at a small angle iDitially. A double V or double U is best if it is important
to minimise such angular distortion. Fig 3. Weld distortion
Fuller details of various types of fillet weld and butt weld configuration
are to be found in another BCSA publication, Metric practice for
structural steelwork.6.

It should be pointed out that fillet welds require no edge preparation,

whereas for themost part butt welds require some form of preparation. It
therefore follows that fillet welds will be cheaper, even at the expense of
some increase in weld metal. If possible, therefore, details should be so
designed that fillet welds can be used as much as possible.
One must also addthat the qualityof the cuttingof plates is important,
as on it depends the fit-upof the parts and hence the root gap. If this is
too large or variable, poor welds will result, necessitating back gouging
and re-welding from the reverse side. It is good practice in any case so to
design the details that, should such back gouging be necessary, access is
Alternative is a double fillet,which
adequate for it to bedone.Shouldthis be impossible, consideration
is cheaper but maybe subject to
should be given to using a backing strip. This may be of steel, and hence
lack of fit.TheT-butt ensures
non-removable,or of ceramic or non-ferrousmaterial which can be
complete continuity.
subsequently removed.
Without going into the various welding processes that may be used, it
should be borne in mind that automatic or semi-automatic welding can
provide deposition rates many times that of manual welding, and hence
are more economic. Further, when correctly set up and operated, the
automatic processes tend to providebetterquality welds, of regular
profile and minimum weld defects, such as slag inclusions and porosity.
Detailed design should, therefore, facilitate the fullest possible useof
automatic welding. For instance, intermittent manualwelds are no longer
appropriate for web-to-flange welds in a plate girder. Rather, one should
use a continuous run of reduced throat thickness.
Of course, manualwelding has to be used for such things aswelding of I I

cleats to columns and endplates to beams. Butt welds in flanges of plate Partial penetration T-butt
girders, and smaller box girders, also have to be manual, and should be A useful intermediate between
carried out using run-on and run-off platesto ensure that the weld profile double fillets and a full penetration
is retained for the full width of the flange. T-butt

Outline of design procedures-bolted joints I

In designing a bolted joint thereare three aspectsof the behaviourof the -7

connected parts that must be considered, i.e. I

- Bearing: the stress onthe inner surface of a hole, imparted by the
- Reduction in cross-sectional area due to the presence of the holes
- The bending and prying effects of any tension in the bolts
By the same token, thereare three aspects of the behaviour of each bolt
that must be considered, i.e.
- Bearing: the stress between the bolt and the connected parts (the
same stress as the first above; thebearing either on the bolt or on
the plate may be critical) Corner butt
- Shear: the action of the connected parts tending to sever the bolt If possible allowance should be
on a plane perpendicular to its axis (i.e. dowel action) made for angular distortion
- Tension: when the connected parts tend to separate, which action
is resisted by the tensile stress in the bolt along its axis

Edge and enddistances

It is clearly necessary to ensure that sufficient material surrounds a bolt
hole to transmittheforcesimparted by thebolt.Therefore,certain
minimum values of edge and end distancesare specified by BS 449,which
apply irrespective of the type of bolt used. This does not imply that, when
this minimum is provided, the amount of material in a cross-section
through the boltholes is necessarily adequate when high strength bolts are
used. With 8 . 8 bolts or HSFG bolts thetensile or compressive stress across
the minimum net area should always be checked.
Table 21 of BS 449 gives minimum edge distances from centresof holes Partial penetration corner butt
to ‘sheared or hand flame cut’ and ‘rolled, machine flame cut, sawn or with innerfillet
planed’ edges, related to hole diameter. These closely approximate to 1 7 Requires goodfit-upbut reduces
and 1 5 times the bolt diameter, respectively. In addition the minimum angular distortion.
spacing between bolts in line is specified as 2*5d,where d is the diameter Fig 4. Right-angle butt welds

The Structural EngineerNolume58A/No. 9lSeptember 1980 269

Paper: Needham

of bolt. It has been shown experimentally that, if this is increased to 3 - 0 TABLE I-Permissible stresses specified in BS 449: allowable bearing
d , stronger
a joint will
result, although somewhatmore elastic stresses in connected parts (N/mm * )
deformation will occur at working load.
Asindicated in thefootnotetoTable 1 , an enddistance of 2d is
I I Grade 50 I Grade 55
assumed, with a pro rata reduction ofbearingstress for lesserend Typeoffastener Grade 43
distances (BS 449, clause50(c)).As stated above, Table 21 of BS 449
prevents the use of an end distance less than l 5d.
It will be noted that stresses for 8 - 8 bolts are 2.34 times as great in all
in holes 250 350 1 400

three modes as 4 - 6 bolts, and also that shear and bearing stresses are Close tolerance & turned
greater in both typesofboltwhen in close tolerance holes.Thisis bolts in close tolerance 300 420 480
because,with accurate reamingofholes, load is more equally shared holes
amongagroup ofbolts and because, in suchcases, threadsarenot -
permitted within the plies. For obvious reasons, thefit of a bolt in a hole
does not affect its tension value. NOTE: These stresses assume an end distance e of 2d. If e < 2d
At onetime, the use of structural boltsin tension wasprohibited by BS these stresses are multiplied by e/2d
449. As indicated, this is not now the case and bolts maybe used in shear
ortension, or acombination. Nonetheless, it remains good practice,
where possible, to design connections so that bolts are stressed in shear. TABLE 2-Allowable stresses in bolts
This isbecause, shouldnuts becomeloosened (perhaps owing to
vibration, or to notbeing properly tightened initially), the performanceof
thejoint willbelargely unaffected.Further,the knowledgeofbolt Axial
performance in pure shear is more reliable than when prying forces of Type of fastener tension Pt Shear P, Bearing Pb
uncertain magnitude are present(ofwhich more later). It is therefore -
proposed to deal with pure shear first. 4 . 6 in clearance holes 120 80 250
Consider a M16 (16 mm dia) bolt in single shear (see Fig 6). 8.8 in clearance holtes 28 1 187 585
Assume grade 43 plate and 4 . 6 bolt. 8 8 in close tolerance holes 28 1 234 70 1
(NB: In this case the permissible bearing stress on both the bolt and the (4.6 turned & fitted bolts
plate is 250 N/mm2 .) in close tolerance holes 120 100 300)
Shear strengthof bolt = xx
~ 162 80= 16 kN.
4 1OOO

If plates are 5 mm thick, bearing capacity of both bolt and plate

= 16 X 5 X 250 = 20 kN.
(NB: Bolt diameter is used in calculating bearing capacity of both bolt
Wrong plate prepared
is no in the weld being
strongerthanthethinner plate,
I . <
and plate in all cases.) since the smallest plate thickness
:. capacity of joint is governed by the bolt shear strength, i.e. 16 kN. If determines the load that canbe
bolt shear strengthand bearing capacity isto equate, let plate thickness be carried.
t mm.
Then 16t x 250 = 16 000
:. t = 4 mm,
i.e. for bearing to be the criterion one of the plates must be less than 4
mm. That is to say that, in nearly every case of M16 4 . 6 bolts in single
shear, the bolt shearing strength is the criterion. In grade 50 steel, the
same rule applies, since increasingthe bearing capacity of the platehas no
effect on the bolt-bearing capacity. Correct alternative
The same calculation could be done for alarger diameter bolt, resulting
in adifferentoptimum, sinceboltshearing strength increases asthe
square of the diameter, while bearing capacity increases only linearly, e.g.
for a M24 bolt, optimum plate thickness = 6 mm.
Now consider a 8 - 8 bolt through grade 43 plate.

Shearstrength ofbolt = IT x 162 x 187 = 38 kN.

- -
4 1OOO A
If plates are 5 mm thick, bearing capacity of plate
= 16 x 5 x 250 = 20 kN(as before). Fig 5. Corner butt welds between plates of different thickness
.’. capacity of joint is governed by this value.
If bolt shear strength and plate bearing capacity is to equate, let plate
thickness be t mm. If t = 5 mm, bearing capacity of bolt and plates
16 x t x 250 = 38 OOO = 16 X 2 X 5 X 250 = 40 kN.
.: t = 9.5 mm, If bearing and shearing capacities are to equate
i.e. if oneofthe platesisless than 9.5 mm, plate-bearingcapacity 16 X 2 X t X 250 = 32000
governs; if not, bolt shear strength governs. whence t = 4 mm, as before.
Now consider a 8 8 bolt through grade 50 plate. Similarly, comparable valuesof optimumplate thicknessescan be
Bolt shear strength = 38 kN. derived for 8 8 bolts in grade 43 and 8 - 8 bolts in grade 50.
If plates are 5 mm thick, bearing capacity of plate The detailedcalculations above havebeengiven for thesakeof
= 16 X 5 X 350 = 28 kN. explanation; in practice, none of these values needs to be calculated but
For strengths to equate, canberead fromthe tables appearingas an appendix to the BCSA
16 X t X 350 = 38 OOO :.t = 6.76 mm. publicationZ.
Now consider the case of double shear (see Fig 7). Now consider general grade HSFG bolts. The use of such bolts is covered
Again, assume a M16 4 . 6 bolt in grade 43 steel. byBS 4604: Part 1 ’ . Therein the design procedure is given, on the basic
assumptionsthatboltsare tightened toat least theproof load (or
Shear strength ofbolt = ~ x 80 = 32 kN.
2 x 5 16* minimum shank tension). Proof loads for variousboltdiameters are
4 1000 given in Table 2 of the standard. Two alternative methods of tightening

2 70 The Structural EngineeriVolume 58A/No. WSeptember 2980

Paper: Needham

are given, i.e. the part turn method and the torque control method, and
also details ofa standardtest to determine theslip factor. Since shearload
in HSFG bolts is resisted by the friction between the interfaces due to the
bolt tension, thecoefficient of friction at such faces isimportant. BS 4604
gives a value for slip factor of 0.45 for clean, dry surfaces, free of loose
rust and millscale, and uncoated. This is the valueusually adopted in
design,butinreality can besubject to wide variations depending on
surface roughness and probably the standard of fit-up at a joint. The
effect of the first factor can be found from slip tests, but the effect of the
second is largely unknown since, by the nature of it, the fit of a slip test I-t'
specimenisnearly perfect. Various other values for slip factorsare
quoted elsewhere for other surface qualities, i.e. grit-blasting increases Fig 6. Bolt in single shear
the factor and paint coats and the introduction of shim packs reduces it
substantially. This is why the introduction of shim packs to correct poor
fit is probably deleterious rather than beneficial.
BS 4604 also specifies a minimum outer ply thickness of half the bolt
diameter or 10 mm, whichever is least, and suggests that, where possible,
this should apply also to inner plies. This is to ensure against buckling or
tearing of the locally highly stressed plate surrounding the hole.
BS 4604 gives a load factor against slip of 1 -4for structures to BS 449,
and permits a reduction to 1.2 if wind forces are allowed for. BS 153*,
and subsequent bridge specifications, requires a load factor of 1.7. The
implicationofthese different values is that, inbridgework, slip is
considered to constitute failure, whereas in buildings it is recognised that
such bolts possess further reserves of strength after slip has taken place
(although the value of such post-slip strength is not known). In other
words, in buildings bolt slip is regarded as a serviceability criterion. One
would, however, suggest that, recognising a measure of dubiety of slip I
factor values, if in a buildingregular full reversalsof loadcan be Fig 7. Bolt in double shear

expected, a load factor of 1 7 should be considered.
The design principle is as follows:

Shear capacity = Slip factor x no. of interfaces x proof load of one bolt
of one
Consider a M16 general grade HSFG bolt in single shear through 8 mm
plate. 0

Shearcapacity = 0.45 x 1 x 92.1 = 29-6 kN.

This value compares with:
4 . 6 bolt through 8 mm grade 43 or 50 plate 16 kN 0
8.8 bolt through 8 mm grade 43 plate 32 kN 4
88 bolt through 8 mm grade 50 plate 38 kN .-

Comparable values can becalculated for largerdiameterbolts,which

show a similar relationship. Thus, while HSFG bolts show a significant
advantage over 4.6 bolts, 8.8 boltsare superior fromastrength In
standpoint, leading to more compact connections. Further, 8.8 bolts do
not need the tedious and expensive torquing process, necessary with HSFG
Now consider an eccentrically loaded shear connection (see Fig 8.)
In such a case it is convenient to treat separately the bolt forces due to
vertical load and torsion.It is assumed that vertical load is shared equally. Fig 8. Eccentric shear connection
The shear due to eccentricity is not shared equally, being proportional to
the distance of the bolt from the centroid of the group, the corner bolts
carrying the greatest load. The magnitude is found by calculating the
polar moment of inertia of the group, based on the unit area method:

loo= zm + I YY
= (4 X 14*) + (6 X 7*)
= 1078 cm4

The distance from the centroidof the group tothe furthest bolt

= 14* + 72 = 15.65 cm.
:. the torsion modulus of the groupis

Shear on each bolt due to vertical load =

- = 17 * 5 kN
d l

Shear on corner bolts due to torsion = lo5 x 40 = 61 kN

- 68.9
These shears must be added vectorially (see Fig 9.) Fig 9. Vector addition of bolt forces

The Structural EngineerlVolume58A/No. SISeptember 1980 271

Paper: Needham

Thus maximum load carriedby corner bolt = 70.6 kN.

Capacity of M24 8 * 8 bolt in single shear = 85 kN.
Bearing capacity through 12 mm web of channel grade 43 = 72 kN Q

:. this connection is adequate. e---

NB. Capacity of M24 general grade HSFG bolt

-- L___)
= 1.4X 207 = 66.5 kN. < 70.6 kN.
- -- - P+Q
i. e. such bolts would not be adequate for this connection; either they ' Q
would have to be spaced out to the maximum in both directions (i.e. 12t
where t = 12-2 = 146 mm (clause 5l(cii) BS 449), or more bolts are A
needed, necessitating a larger bracket. Fig IO. Prying forces
The key issue is whether a small degree of bolt slip is acceptable.
Interference fitwould in any case probably reduce thedegree of slip from
that calculable. If slip is not acceptable, thebest solution would probably Force Distribution
be to use 8 8 bolts in close tolerance holes, rather than use more HSFG - Diagram
bolts in a deeper bracket, which would have to be built up from plates,
not cut from a rolled channel.
Turning now to bolts in pure tension, the capacitiesof the three bolts,
calculated on the tensile stress area (which falls between the area at the
root of the thread and the shank area),are as follows, takingM20 bolts as

4 . 6 bolts 120 X 245 = 29.4 kN

8.8 bolts 281 X 245 =68*7kN
HSFG = 0 . 6 X proof load
0 . 6 X 144 (BS 4604 ~ = 8 6 * 4kN. Fig I I. Face connected bracket
Thus in tension, HSFG bolts, as one would expect, having regard to the
larger head and nut sizes, have a greater capacity than 8 - 8 bolts. Note
that the permissible tensile stess in the latter of 281 N/mm2 is 0.44 times
the yield stress, which for HSFG it is effectively 0.55 times the yield stress.
These values appear somewhat modest, but were no doubt determined
in the knowledge that prying forces will probably be present, whether or
not they have been considered in design. Such forces arisefrom a leverage
effect, as indicated in Fig 10.
It will be observed that if the flange of the T or endplate is extremely
stiff, prying forces will be negligible; conversely, if extremely flexible,
prying forces w libe small. In the intermediate situation, prying forces are at
their maximum, and in such cases, if not taken into account, can result in
seriousoverstressing of thebolts.Theprincipleadopted for design
purposes is to assumea value for the prying forces, say 40% of the
nominalbolttension, and use thisforce to determinetheendplate
thickness. Havingdone so to the nearest convenient value, then check the
prying force.
One should observe that there is no point in providing an endplate of
greater thickness or stiffness than themember to which it connects, since Fig 12. Welded endplate
in such a case the prying forces will be generated by local deformation in
such a member, e.g. a column flange. When faced with this problem it
seems best to mirror the column flange by the endplate, i.e. endplate of diameter, but it is not stated on what basis this assumption is made.
same thickness and width, and provide bolts capable of accommodating Clearly, the effective width of stiff bearing may be less than the full
the prying forces that result. One should then considerwhether the local width, depending on the flexibility of the plate and flange, but would
elastic deformationis acceptable (possible corrosion trap) andif not some seem not to depend ontheboltdiameter. Be that asitmay,the
other solution should be sought. assumption is further made that the upper pair of bolts are fully stressed
Theories and corresponding formulae have been developed in a number in tension, and on thisbasis the position of the neutral axis is found and
of quarters, notably by Douty and McGuire9, and Fisher & Struick'O, but the moment capacity calculated. This approachgives a high estimate of
regrettably give solutions that agreeonlyapproximately.One must moment capacity and hence is most economic, but may not be accurate,
therefore conclude that, as yet, there remains a measure of uncertainty particularly in the elastic range. Caution, therefore, shouldbe observed in
regarding the magnitude and effect of prying forces. adopting it if such a bracket is subject to fatigue loading, asin a support
We will now consider a face connected bracket(see Fig 11). for a gantry girder.
In the design of such a bracket itis usual to assume that vertical shear is In practice, it willbe found that for most practical connections the
distributed equallybetween the bolts. Such is probably true so long as the value of n varies from 1/8 to 1/4. Since the formulae quoted are,at best,
connection remains elastic,i.e. up to working load. In order to determine approximations, it is sufficiently accurate, for most design purposes, to
the bolt tensionsin the upper zoneof the bracket, one must first assess the assume a value of 1/7 (although some writers suggest 1/6). One would
position of the neutral axis, below which compression is exerted between recommend, therefore, that it is only in the case of an exceptionally deep,
the meeting surfaces, and above which the bolt tensionsare proportional or exceptionally critical,bracket that one needs to adoptarigorous
to their distance from it, asseen in Fig 1 l . These horizontal forcesclearly analysis.
must equate. The position of the neutral axis can be found from statics. It would thus appear that a similar treatment should beused for a
Bresler, Lin, and Scalzi" assume the full width of the lower part of the moment connection effected by a welded endplate, as shown in Fig 12.
bracket to act in compression, and assume a stalk of equivalent area to However, the effectof welding distortion is likely to be such as to ensure
the bolts to actin tension above it. Thus they assume an inverted Tfor the that the centre of pressure of the compression zone is in line with the
, determination of nd. Ontheother hand, the BCSA publication^^'^ centroid of the bottom flangeof the beam, particularlyif a web stiffener
assume an effective width of the compression zoneof four times the bolt is used in the column. Thus itwould be a reasonable assumptionthat the

272 The Structural EngineerNolume58AINo. 9ISeptember1980

Paper: Needham

HSFG Bolts calculated on
Load factor -1.4
90 SIIp factor=0~45
Max Tenslon =O.6xProof Load


Fig 13. Shear tension relationships of 8.8 and general grade HSFG bolts

neutral axis lies on the bottom bolt centreline. This may be considered whether to use 8.8 bolts or HSFG bolts is partty governed by whether some
conservative, in which case one might assume the NA to lie on the top degree of joint movement is acceptable. With8 . 8 bolts, there will be some
face of the bottom flange of the beam. It will'be found, though, that it strain in the bolts under applied load and also greater local straining of
makes little difference to the tensionsin the top bolts,which are the the plates,sinceslightopening of the meetingsurfacesmay occur,
critical issue. permitting this to take place.
If a welded endplate is used for a simple beam/column connection,
assumed not to transfer bending moment, it is important that such an Outline of design procedures-welded joints
endplate issufficientlythickonly to transmitthe shear force,and it The principles governing the design of bolted joints have been treated at
should preferably not be welded to the beam top flange. In this way it will some length, since it is herethat many queries have been raisedand some
be able to distort locally sufficient to relieve the bolts of tension forces. uncertainty exists. In contrast, the design of welded joints presents fewer
Consider the design of bolts carrying combined shear and tension. BS problems.
449, clause 50(d), presents an interaction formula applicable to 8 . 8 and In the section on design of welds BS 449, clause 54, makes referenceto
4.6 bolts, the effect of which is that if stresses due totension are no more BS 1856 and BS 2642. BothoftheseBritish Standards havebeen
than 40% of that allowable, then the bolt may be fully stressed in shear. superseded by BS 513512. Therein the basic welding requirements are set
Conversely, if stresses dueto shear arenomorethan 40% ofthat forth, including such matters as butt andfillet weld details, alignment and
allowable, bolts may be fully stressed in tension (across the tensile stress fit-up, and, in Appendix A, somenotes on design. AppendixB gives notes
area). Betweentheseextremes a linearrelationshipisassumed.Fig13 on butt welds,includingshapes and dimensionsof different weld
shows that this closely approximates to the theoretical ellipse, but is of preparations. This British Standard is an excellent distillation of thestate-
coursemuchsimpler to use,since in nearlyeverycase one could of-art and should be studied before the design of welded connections is
demonstrate that a shear bolt does receive some tensile force and vice attempted.
versa (one should observe that bridgework practice is to use the ellipse). In clause 53(a)BS 449 setsout permissible stressesfor fillet welds on the
In any case the theoreticalcurveisitself an approximation, since it assumption that electrodes complying with BS63913 appropriate to the
assumes that the tensile and shear stresses act on the same element of the grade of parent metal, are used. These are 115 N/mm2 for grade 43 steel
bolt, whileinpractice the maximumtensilestressoccursacross the and 160 N/mm2 for grade 50 steel. These stresses apply across the throat
threaded portion, and the maximum shear stress across the bolt shank, if thickness (assumed equal to 0 . 7 times the leg length). Clause 53(a) refers
the plies are moderatelythick.Thiseffecthas been demonstrated to subclauses 14(c) and (d) for the determination of equivalent stress fe
experimentally, giving failure values somewhat beyond the bounds of the when a weldis subjected to a combination of stresses, such equivalent
ellipse. stresses being the same as in the parent metal.
On the other hand, when HSFG bolts are used in combined shear and As indicated earlier, butt welds are stressed to the same magnitude as
tension, because applied tension reducesinterface pressure, and hence the the parent metal, and since in general theyare of a throat thickness equal
frictional resistance, a wholly linear relationship is assumed by BS 4604 to or greater than that of the thinnest element in the connection, stress
(clause 3.1.3). This also limits the tension value of such a bolt, in the calculations are usually not required. The exceptionis in the caseof
absence of shear, to 0.6 times its proof load. incomplete penetration butt welds, such as unsealed (i.e. not backed) butt
The threeresulting interactiondiagramsare givenin the BCSA welds,welded from one side only. Insuchcases, penetration must be
publication5 but separately and to different scales. To be able to draw a demonstrably at least 7/8 of the thinnest plate, and for the purposes of
direct comparison between 8 . 8 bolts and HSFG bolts, the diagrams are design, to allow for eccentricity, a maximum throat thickness of 5 / 8 is
here superimposed, but limited to a maximum of 24 mm bolt diameter assumed. The permissible stress in a butt weld may also be reduced when
(see Fig 13). Further, for clarity, HSFG values have been plotted only for fatigue conditions exist, and the BS 153* rules are invoked.
load factor 1.4. Regarding fillet welds, the effectivelengthshould be taken as the
This clearly shows that in the combined stress situation, 8 - 8 bolts have overall length, less twice the leg length, and such effective length shouid
a significant advantage over HSFG bolts in the greater part of the range. be not less than four times the leg length. Additionally, fillet welds at the
The shaded areas indicate where the advantage lies with HSFG bolts, i.e. ends or sides of parts should be returned continuously round the corners
when shear forces are less than some 20% of the shear capacity of such for twice the leg
bolts. When considering bolts which act mainly in tension, the choice of Consider a seating bracket intended to act in vertical shear only, to

The Structural EngineerIVolume 58AINo. 9ISeptember 1980 273

Paper: Needham

carry 105 kN. (See Fig 14.) Assume grade 43 steel and fillet welds each
side of 6 mm leg length.

Then strength of weld/mm = 6 x 0 - 7 x 115 105 KN

= 483 N
Total effective length of weld needed =- lo5 O0O - 218 mm.
.: use 125 x 75 x 8 angle bracket.
Conversely, assuming a size for the bracket,one can calculate weld throat
thickness, but a 6 mm fillet is the reasonable minimum size.
Extending this example to include an eccentrically applied load thus:
(NB: Data identical to bolted example treated earlier). (See Fig 15.) ~

When torsion is introduced, it is clearly most efficient to extend the

weld right round the bracket. In the case, as drawn, theweld can be to the
face of the column flange at the top, bottom, and left-hand edge. The Fig 14. Welded seating bracket
right-hand edge can beweldedonly fromthe reverseside, but it is
admissible, for design purposes, to treat this as a complete profile weld.
(Where thisis not possible owing to difficulty of access, one has to design
for welds on three edges only.)

Assume weld width is unity.

2 x 2253
In = 2 X 250 X 112.52 + ~

= (6.32 + 1-90) X lo6 = 8.22 X lo6
2 x 2503
= 2 X 225 X 125* +- 12
= (7.03 + 2.61) X lo6 = 9.64 X lo6
= (8-22 + 9.64) X lo6 = 17.86 X lo6
c 250 ~

Dist oa = 112-52 + 125* = 168.1 mm 305x305~283UC

... Zoo = 17.86 X lo6 = 10.61 X 10"
168.1 n

Perimeter = (2 x 250) + (2 x 225) = 950 mm Fig 15. Eccentrically loaded welded bracket
.: shear due to vertical load m
= 110-5 N/mm

Shear due to torsion = 1°5 Oo0 (400 - 27) = 368 N/mm I- 250
10.61 X lo4

/y ,/'
These forces are added vectorially
Whence resultant maximum stress on weld = 456 N/mm "
Strength of 6 mm fillet weld = 6 x 0 - 7 x 115 = 483 N/mm
:. connection is adequate.
As previously, the full calculation has been givenfor the sakeof clarity,
but in practice it will be found more convenient,in most cases, to use the
tables appearing on pp44 and 45 in the BCSA publication6 but these are
limited to eccentricities up to300 mm. Having determined the dimensions
of the welded connections to thecolumn face, the strengthof the bracket

itself should be checked, and its thickness will be determined by local

buckling considerations at its lower edge, acting in compression. A long
bracket might need edge stiffening.
A comparison between this example and the similar bolted example
clearly explains the popularity of welding in the fabricating shops. Not Fig 16. Vector addition of weld
only are thefabricating processes simpler and more rapid, but thesizes of
cleats and brackets are themselves smaller and therefore cheaper.
A face connected bracket will now be considered (see Fig 17). - e
For cheapness of fabrication a fillet weld round the whole profile of the

3 /(~j
UB cutting is desirable. It is established practice to size such welds on the
assumption that vertical shear is accommodated by the lower 4/5 of the
depth of the profile, and the horizontal tension is resisted by the upper
1/5. Such a supposition is technically justifiable only if a direct bearing
exists between the lower flange of the bracketand the faceof the column. D
(In contrastBS 5135 l 2 permits a rootgap up to 3 mm, so this point needs Cutting
from UB

watching.) The top flange tension should be found by assuming a lever -- --
arm equal to the depth between centres of flanges.
Such an approach should not beused for a site weldedconnection Web stiffener
between a beam and a column, since in practice one cannot guarantee may be needed
direct bearing at both ends of such a beam. The approach should be to
reproduce the beam strengthwith the welds, i.e. the web welds should be
designed to take thevertical shear, and bothtop and bottomflange welds
designed to take the tension and compression flange forces. While fillet Fig 17. Face connected bracket

274 The Structural EngineerIVolume 58AINo. 9ISeptember 1980

Paper: Needham

welds are usually adequate for the web welds, it will be found that, for a Concluding remarks
beam of any great size, fillet welds to the flanges will become inordinately Understanding of the behaviourofindividualsteelmembersunder
large (quite apart from the practical difficulty of laying satisfactory site idealised loading and support conditionshas reached an advanced stage.
welds uphand below the flanges). In such a case the flanges should be Comparableunderstanding of the behaviourofconnectionsisby no
given a bevelled preparation, in order to be able to effect downhand butt means so advanced. There follows from this situation twocorollaries, i.e.
welds. that theeffect of practical connectionson individual member behaviour is
In a lightly loaded, eccentric bracket, one might use a cutting in the largely uncertain, but demonstrably considerable, and secondly that it is
shape of a 'T', with a complete profile fillet weld (see Fig 18.) The design in the field of connection behaviour that future research is likely to be
procedure is to calculate the neutral axis depth of the T, and assume that most cost effective. It is in this area that the greatest potential exists for
welds above it resist tension.Below it the bearingpressureshould be future innovation anddevelopment leading to economy, not in the matter
checked. If found satisfactory, it may then beassumed that the stalk of overall structural weight, but in overall cost, both in the workshop and
welds resistthe vertical shear, and theweld size is checked accordingly.In on the site, which is really what matters.
the event that inadequacyisrevealed, onecanthen either makethe It realised
is that considerableeconomy can derive from
bracket deeper or increase the weld size, the latterbeing preferable, within standardisation of simple details. Indeed, this is vital in association with
limits. computer detailing routines, which are being developed in a number of
The problem of prying forces (referred to earlier) should not arise in quarters. Nonetheless, for the forseeable future a need will remain for
welded joints. If, by tracing the load paths,it is found thatthey do occur, many individual connections to be tailored to particular circumstances,
some rearrangement of the joint is required. (Fig 19 illustrates the point.) since most buildings have some aspects that are unique. It is hoped that
some help will be found in the foregoing when such occasions arise.

t" b


Fig 20. Typical details


A --l-L
Web WeldedSeat
end bracket

(a) Beam to column-simple

Fig 18. Light eccentric bracket

Split T Extended end Site welded


Incorrect: Flexure of T section Correct: load path is as (b) Beam to column-continuous

imposes high stresses in welds. direct as possible

Fig 19. Elimination of prying forces

Practical and economic considerations

It will be appreciatedfromthe foregoing that many factors mustbe
considered in the design of connections. The decision as to the form of
jointsforaparticular schememustdepend onthe desired structural
anatomy and behaviour, as indicated earlier. Clearly, those that meet this
need at the minimum cost are to be aimed at. In the development of
connection design the following points must be appreciated.

- It is important that the load path should be correctly identified,
and that it should be as direct and simple as possible
- The cheapest connection is likely to be that which involves the (c) Lapped brackets
minimum shop and site labour
- Access for welding, or insertion and tightening of bolts should be
the easiest attainable
- All structural sections are subject to rolling tolerances, affecting
both overall size and degree of squareness; such variations should
not present undue difficulties on site
- All welded joints are subject to distortion due to shrinkage, both
along the length of a weld and transverse to it; aim at balancing U.B.Cutting
these distortions
- The possibilities of accidental damage, in handling, transport, and
erection should be minimised
- Inspection both in the shop and on the site should be made easy
and straightforward (d) Face-connected brackets

The Structural EngineerNolume 58A/No. 9ISeptember 1980 275

Paper: Needham

(QBeam splices-Bending moment and shear

'T-piece bearing
(e) Beam to beam connections plate Bolts must allow Bdts In pure shear
for eccentriclty
Level and stepped

(g) Beam splices-shear only

FLN profile
(i) Cheapest column splice
Note: Effective lengths of shafts
mustbetaken as 1 L
(h) Column splices

6 ) Splice for similar shafts

Note: Splice plates welded to separate (k) Slab-base-asumed pinned
lengths to allow for rolling tolerances (No substantial moment)

2 76 The Structural Engineer/Volume 58A/No. 9/September 1980

Paper: Needham Notes

Surge force

N B Load
paths more plates
splice eb
direct ,as drawn than joint Over column
w I th diaphragm comecting
to web of beam

(m) Gantry beam support detail

GantryBeam Support Detail

NB. Technicallycorrect
but number of bolts
l In main member
determined bymaximum
permitted spacmg
Note: These welds
1 - ( take the upliftie no
through thickness
tension in baseplate

N.B. Cheaper alternatlve


(1) Bolt box base

(To take bending moment)
1. BS 449: The useof structural steel in building: Part 2, London, British (n) Gusset.joints in trusses
Standards Institution, 1969
2. BS 4190: I S 0 metric black hexagon bolts, screws and nuts, London, 9. Douty, R. T., & McGuire,W.:‘High strength boltedmoment
British Standards Institution, 1967 connections’, Journal of the StructuralDivision, ASCE, 91, No. 572,
3. BS 3692: I S 0 metric precision hexagon bolts, screwsandnuts, April 1965, p101
London, British Standards Institution, 1967 10. Fisher, J. W., & Struik, J. H. A.: Guide to design criteriafor bolted
4. BS 4395: High strength friction grip bolts and associated nuts and and riveted joints, New York, John Wiley & Sons, 1974
washers, London, British Standards Institution, 1969-73 1 1 . Bresler, Lin, & Scalzi: Design of steel structures, New York, John
5 . Structural fasteners and their application, BCSA publication Wiley & Sons
6. Metric practice for structural steelwork (2nd ed.) BCSA publication 12. BS 5135: Metal-arc welding of carbon and carbon manganese steels,
7. BS 4604: Theuse of high strength friction grip h i t s in structural London, British Standards Institution, 1974
steelwork: Part I, London, British Standards Institution, 1970 13. BS 639: Covered electrodes for themanual metal-arc welding of
8. BS 153: Steel girder bridges, London, British Standards Institution, carbonandcarbonmanganese steels, London, British Standards
1972 Institution, 1976

London SW 1. 1 didates will need to be returned to CEI, 2

Notes Those
Associate- LittleSmithStreet,London S W l P 3DL .
continued from page 266 Membership
examination will
in- offind not later than 15 November 1980. Entries
terest the course of evening studies offered fromhomecandidatesmustbewiththe
Building. CEInotlaterthan 15 January1981. All
Forthcoming examinations Course
and ar- candiatesareremindedthattheyarenot
The next Institution Part 3 (Membership) rangements can be obtained from Mr David eligible to enter either of the Institution ex-
Associate-Membership examinations Kirkham(M),DepartmentofTechnical aminations, or to be sponsored for those of
will beheldonFriday 3 April1981.Ex- and
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aminationentryformsmustbereceived College of Building, St. Peter’s Road, St. or transferred to the appropriate class of
fromoverseascandidatesby 31 October Albans, Herts AL1 3RX. membership of the Institution has been sub-
1980; entries from home candidates must be Candidates for next year’s examinations mitted to and approved by the Council. The
at the Institution by 28 February 1981. are reminded that the Council have recently requirements are fully explained in the In-
Among collegesin
the UK offering approved an increase in examination fees asstitution’s current Regulations.
special evening courses in preparation for follows (the figures in parentheses are the Candidates overseas planning to take any
the 1981 examinations are the Polytechnic current rates): of the 1981 examinations should start now
of Central London and Westminster Col- Graduatesthe
ofInstitution E E topreparetheirmembershipapplication
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the School Registry for the Environment, (overseas) 18.00 (12.00) overseas representative of the Institution.
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T h e Structural EngineedVolume 58A/No. 9ISeptember 1980 277