Introduction to connection design


To introduce connection design, concentrating on the mechanics of load transfer in various forms of connection.


The principal components of welded and bolted connections are described. The concept of load transfer from the supported member into the supporting member is presented and the different types of load components are identified. The steps involved in tracing the load path, assessing the strength requirements, and checking the resistance of components are established in general terms as a prelude to more detailed coverage of the subject in the related lectures.


The reasons for connections in all forms of steel construction have already been explained in the previous lecture. The principal structural and economical requirements were also presented. In this lecture, the structural requirements (strength, stiffness, and deformation capacity) are discussed in greater detail. The Eurocode 3 [1] classification for connections is introduced. This classification considers the stiffness and strength of beam-to-column connections.

The freedom of the designer to choose the type of connection, and to choose the details for each type, leads to a great variety of connections - see, for example, the figures in the previous lecture. The analysis of the structural properties of connections is presented in Section 4, where a number of basic load transfers are identified.

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