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Get the design fundamentals, straightfon¡vard concepts and key specifications

necessary to take full advantage of manufactured steel tubes' mechanical

propefties, light weight and aesthetic appeal in steel construction.

Intsnnalional Gonfsrence
ûn Tuhulan Slnuctur'Gs
May 9-10, 1996 . Vancouver, British Columbia


This is a not-to-be-missed oppoftunity for structural engineers, fabricators, and

architects to be briefed on static design. fatigue design, seismic design, bridge design,
concrete-filling, innovative joining methods. and computer-based tools by some of the
world's leading experls on Hollow Structural Sections (HSS).


American Welding Society 6 welding lnstitute of Canada

Endorsing 1rganizaîions . American Society of Civil Engineers . American lnstitute of Steel Construction
. Steel Tube lnstitute of North America . University of Toronto
Thble of Contents
Keynote Presentation:
Limit States Design, Hollow Structural Sections, and Welds ,:
D. J. L. Kennedy, Univenity of Alberta
i .

Desigu Rules Key to CompeÌitive Tirbular Structu¡es .. .. :.: .... 19

R. M. Bent, Welding Instituæ of Canada

Resistance Ïhbtes for Welded Hollow Structurat Section Tbuss Connections 32

J. A. Packer, University of Toronto; G. S. Frater, Hatch Associates;
and S. Kitipornchai, University of

I Welded Circular lfollow Section Tbuss Connections 48

P. W: Marshall, MHP Systems Engineering
Simpte Beam Connection to Ilollow Structural Section Columns 55
D. R. Sherman, University of Wisconsin

Fatigue of Hollow Structural Section Welded Connections 64

A. M. van Wingerde and J. A. Packer, University of Toronto

Earthquake-Resistant Design Provisions for Tl¡bular Structurcs 74

Y. Kurobane and K. Ogawa, Kumamoto University

Fire Performance of Concrete-FilledTirbular Columns. ...... 86

V. K. R. Kodur and T. T. Lie, National Fire Laboratory

Tubular Offshore Structures 97

P. W. Marshall, MIIP Systems Engineering

Design of Hollow Struqtural Section Columns and Beam-Ç61¡¡mns . . 110

D. R. Sherman, University of Wisconsin

Guide to the Ilollow Structural Section Guides and Codes .. . . 118

J. A. Packer, University of Toronto; a¡rd S. Kitipornchai, University of Queensland

Concrete-Filled Hollow Steel Sections. .. .. 126

H. G. L. Prion, University of British Columbia

Fundamental Criteria for Welding Thrbular Steel . 137

R. M. Bent, Welding Insútute of Canada

Bending, Bolting and Nailing of lfoilow Structural Sections. . 150
J. E. Henderson, Henderson Engineering Services

Fabrication and Tnspection Practices for l{elded Ïtrbutar Connections . . 162

J. Post, J. rñ/. Post Associates,Inc.
i : -i
Design of llalf-Through or'?ony" Thuss Bridges Using Squarg or
Rectangular llollow Structural Sections. . . 179
S. J. Herth, Continental Bridge ,:

Case Studies of Recent Ti¡bular Stnrctures .... . 189

C. M. Allen, Adjeleian Allen Rubeli, LTD
' ,:':
lVelding of Structural Alrrminum Ïbbing.
R. Bonneaû, Canadian Welding Bureau

The Challenge of Knowledge-Based Expert Systems

in the Future of the Design of Ttrbular Structures .... . 216
G. Davies, W. Tizani, and K. Yusuf, University of Nottingham


D. J. L. Kennedy*


The rationale of limit states design with its inherent advantages over working stress design is
discussed. Among other advantages, because, for the ultimate limit states, LSD focuses on the
possible modes of failure, it fosters an examination of the true behaviour and the writing of
strength or resistance formulations that reflect this behaviour. Within this conceptual basis, the
development of some of the provisions of design standards for hot and cold formed hollow
structural sections, concrete-filled hollow structural sections, partial penetration g¡oove welds
and fillet welds at varying orientations is presented. The resistance formulations include
resistance factors that account not only for the variation in material and geometric properties but
also for the statistical fit of the formulation to the test results, i.e., the bias coeffrcient and the
co effi ci ent of va¡iation of the test-to-predi cted ratio.


Fillet welds, hollow structural sections, Iimit states design, partial penetration groove welds,
resistance formulations, resistance factors, statistical evaluation, test-to-predicted ratios.



Limit States Design, the only design methodology sanctioned for steel stn¡ctures in the National
Building Code of Canada since 1990, is rapidly gaining world-wide acceptance. In the United
States of America, when applied to steel structures, it is called Load and Resistance Factor
Design, while for concrete structures, the term Ultimate Strengfh Design is used. The
designation as used here is more universal in use and encompasses all the classes of limit states
and not just those related to ultimate or failure conditions.

Limit States and its classifications

Limit states are those limiting states or conditions of a structure at u'hich it ceases to fulfill some
intended function. Therefore the probability of exceeding any limit state is kept to an acceptable
low level. Limit states design is that design philosophy in which the designer, recognizing the
various limit states, proportions the structure such that these probabilities are attained. Currently

Professor Emeritus, Dept. of Civil Engineering, University of Alberta, Edmonton, AB. Canada, T6G 2G7
limit søtes a¡e classif¡ed as seviceability, fatigue and ultimate limit states.

Seviceability limit states are those associated with the provision of proper acceptable service
conditions such as the limitation of deflections, vibrations, permanent deflections, cracking, and
foundation settlements. The seviceability limit states are to be satisfied during the life of the
stn¡ch¡re at levels of load that are likely to occur with reasonable frequency. These are the so-
called working loads of working stress design and are now called the specified loads. In the
National Buitding Code of Canada (Ref. l), for example, the specified wind load is that of the I
in l0 yearwind.

The fatigue limit state is that associated wittr crack growth under the stress raûge spectn¡m
occtrrring under service conditions. Miner's rule may be used for combining stress range levels.
As well we may need a method for counting the cycles of stress ranges such as the reservoir
method and a method for assessing the remaining fatigue life.

The ultimate limit states are those associated with collapse of all or part of the stn¡cture and
include, rupture or fracture, crushing, buckling, local buckling attainment of the critical, yield
or fully plastic mometrt, mechanism formation, overturning, sliding or foundation failure. The
ultimate limit states must be satisfied during constn¡ction and during the life of the stn¡cture at
levels of load that occur very infrequently, i.e., that have a small probability of being exceeded.

From this we see that Limit States Design (LSD) provides a unified approach in that the designer
explicitly recognÞes the various limit states, i.e., the failure modes and designs against them, all
the while taking into account the statistical variation of both the loads and the resistances.

Formulation of Limit States Desien

Fig. I depicts schematically the probability density functions for the effect of a load, S, and the
resistance, R, of some structural component

:-QR= aS




Fig. L Frequency distribution functions for the effect of a load and a resistance
The nominal values are indicated by S and R while mean values are indicated by S and R. In
working stress design (WSD), to attempt to keep Ç¡,
gretter than S-"*, the nominal values S
and R also shown in Fig.l, ate separated by a global factor of safety, G, thus:

G=R/S (1a)

R:GS (lb)

In Limit States Design (LSD), recognizing that both the loads and resistmces vary and that their
probability density functions will differ from load to load and from resistance to resistance, two
factors, a resistance factor and a load factor a¡e used thus:

$R>øS (2a)

or n>9s (2b)

as illustrated in Fig. l, where the LSD inequa,ity is just satisfied.

Comparing eqùations (1b) with (2b) we see t rat the global factor of safety, G, is replaced with
the combination, c/S, but now these two àctors are determined based on their statistical
variations. For more than ¡ryo loads the LSD *xpression becomes:

$R: Ðcr;S¡ (2a)

Currently, in LSD, the two measures of the probabiliry density functions used are the mean
value, e.g., S and R-, and the dispersion about the mean as measured by the standard deviation,
o. The coefficient of variation, V, equal to tlle standard deviation divided by the mean value is
more often used. As the reference or nomir,al value used is unlikely to be the mean value, as
shown in Fig. l, the bias coefficient, p, equa: to the ratio of the mean to nominal value, and its
mean value are also required. Thus we have, ior example, for the effect of loads:

V. = os/S (3a)

and P.:S/S (3b)

The probability of failure can be expressed in va¡ious forms such as:

P¡:P(R-S>0) (4a)

or P¡: P(R/S >1.0) (4b)

P¡= P(ln R/S >0) (4c)

We let X = ln R/S and plot iæ probability density function as shown in Fig. 2.

X = ln (R/S)

Fig.2 Probability Density Function of X

From Fig.2, because the total area under the curve is 1.0, then the area to the left of the origin
representing values of X less than zero, is the probability of failure. By making the value of R
larger we shift the curve to the right - as far as we can afford. We position t}re curve such that
the distance from the mean value, i, to the origin is a number, p, times the standard deviation,
o*, of X. The reliability index, p, is selected by calibrating against current good practice. After
some mathematical manipulation, lrye obtain, for log-normal distributions and a number of loads:

Ec,s, =fts*ololu ]

where the symbols have their previous definitions and the mean values of the bias coefficienß
are used. The load factors and the resistance factors are linked by this equation and therefore
they are not independent. Furthermore, for both the loads and the resistances, the bias
coeffrcient and coeffrcient of va¡iation, e.8., pn and V¡, are needed. Putting aside how the data
for loads are developed and ho'r load combi¡rations are handled what information is needed to
develop these two measures for the resistances?

The resistance of any structural component depends on the variability of three different
quantities. These are the variability of a material property such as the yield strength, Fy, the

variability of a geometric property such as the plastic section modulus, Z, and the variability of
the predictive capacity of the design equation such as Mp = ZFy, as determined from
comparisons of test results with that predicted by the simple equation. This laner variability
arises from the fact that all design equations, in the interests of simplicity, contain some

approximations. In the present case, the formulation is based on fully plastic stress blocks
without strain hardening. The first of these is not attainable and therefore the prediction is too
high while the second is likely to be present and therefore the prediction is too low. As well,
moment gradients have not been considered. Thus there is a va¡iability around the mean for all
three quantities.

Because the three variables are independent the mean value and the bias coefficient of the
resistance are given simply as the product of the respective values while the coefficient of
variation is obtained as the squa¡e root of the sum of the squares of the three quantities thus:

PR = Pc tPu'Pp = PztPry.Py (6a)

VR= vfr+vfr+vf vi +vf +vf (6b)

These equations are used subsequently.

Advantages of Limit States Design

Some argue that LSD only complicates design and increases design time without any real
advantages. This is not factual. Once the initial learning curve is mastered, designs are as e¿rsy
or easier to carry out, increased understanding of the design process results and advantages
accrue as follows.

I.0 Resistance formulations are written transparently as member strengths

The output of structural analyses is the stress resultants acting on the members such as ærial
forces, bending moments and shears. That being the case, why not write member resistances in
a parallel manner? The resistance formulations are based on the actual behaviour of the
component, member or structure. Thus the designer is made aware of the possible failure modes
and can then design against them rationally. Inelastic member behaviour is accommodated
automatically in LSD. For example, the nominal moment resistance of a compact section as
formulated in LSD is:

M=Mp =ZFy (7a)

However, in WSD this must be expressed in terms of stresses; frequently the extreme frbre stress
of stress blocks that vary linearly across the cross-section. Thus, introducing a global factor of
safety, G, and dividing by the elastic section modulus, S, gives:

o* = M/GS - ZFvlGS = l.l0Fy / G =l.lOFy /1.67 =0.66ry (7b)

This formulation obscures the actual behaviour and appears to suggest that compact beams can
have higher allowable stresses. Moreover the ratio of ZIS varies considerably from the value of
l.l0 used here. Thus, in LSD, the designer is made aware of the behaviour and resort need not
be made to fictitious allowable süesses.. The same condition applies in composite construction
where, in LSD, fully plastic stress blocks are incorporated, when appropriate, for both the steel
and concrete. Working stress design does not give a consistent rational method of assessing the
flexural resistance.

2.O .Non-linear geometric effects'. '

Progressive standards now reçire that second order geometric effects be considered in the
analysis. In LSD these are evaluated at the factored or collapse load level and therefore are
propedy established as they contain the product of the factored loads acting on the factored
deflections. Second order amplification at the working load level underestimates these effecg as
indicated in Fig. 3. Ar¡ analysis at the working load level cannot include the second-order non-
linear effects due to the change in geometry at the ultimate load.


Â. 4

Fig. 3 NonJinear geometric effects

3.0 Separate Load and Resistance Factors Determined Statistically

These give rise to reliability levels that are much more consistent and at the same time lead to
better safety and economy. Both these facts are illustrated in Fig. 4 based on Allen (Ref. 2) for
three different design standards. The broad line represents usual load combinations and the fine,
all combinations. Ideally there would be no variation in the reliability index, p, but this would
make the load cõmbinations too complex. The range of is the least for the LSD standard. It is
by far the most consistent. By eliminating low values of p the safety or reliabiliry is improved
and by eliminating the high values economy is achieved.


4 all
F3 1 I
t r¡sr¡at
2 casqs

sl6, wsD AIsc, wsD st6.l, LsD

Fig. 4 Range of the reliability index, p, for three standards (Ref. 2)

The Ferry Bridge Cooling Tower collapse, as reported by Allen (Ref. 3), was precipitated by
failure of the tensile reinforcement. This also illustrates the superiority of limit states design
arising from the use of both load and resistance factors. The reinforcement was designed, using
WSD procedures, to withstand the difference between the uplift due to wind and the dead load
effects, which were 0.85 of the uplift, using an allowable stress of 0.50 Fr. Thus the
reinforcement a¡ea is found from:

0.50 orA"*, = \l¡,r -D : W - 0.85W : 0. I5W (8a)

or Ar,,:0.30Wo, (8b)

where the subscript "w" stands for WSD. The wind force to cause yielding, Wu*, is:

Wy* - D = W, - 0.85W = orAr.,, : 0.30\il (8c)

or Wy*: l.lsW (8d)

that is, only lilToabove the specified wind load. Had LSD been used, witl load factors of 1.50
on wind and 0.85 on the dead load when it is counteractive, and with a resistance factor of 0.85
on yield, the design equation would have been:

0.85o, Ar : 1.50W - 0.85D : 1.50W - 0.85 x 0.85W : 0.778W (ea)

or A¡ = 0.915 Wo, (eb)

where the subscript "L" stands for LSD. The wind force to cause yielding would be:

Wv¡ - D = Wyl - 0.85W : orA, = 0.915W (ec)

or WyL= 1.76W (9d)

The increased reinforcement as required by LSD would have prevented collapse at little cost.
This illustrates that a single factor of safety, as used in WSD, simply does not work.

4.0 Tailored Load and Resistance Factors

The use of statistical analyses also paves the way for the rational development of load and
resistance factors tailored to the specific site conditio$¡ as may be desirable for major
engineering structures. Such was the case for the Northumberland StrÀit Fixed Crossing. Load
and resistance factors were de¡¡eloped by MKM Engineering (Ref. 4) taking into account the
particular environmental conditions such as wind and ice loadings, values of p of 4 or more as
iequired by the ou¡ner, and recoeûizing the tight contol on the manufactr¡ring of the structural

5.0 Changes in Reliability Levels

As was established, the load and resistance factors are directly related to the value of the
reliability index, p. Thus, by varying the value of p, values of the load and resistance factors can
be determined to take into account such factors as the consequences of failure, the behaviour of
the component, and the like. Table l, paralleling the work of Allen (Ref. 5) gives values for the
change in p, i.e., Âp, proposed by Kennedy (Ref. 6). Other values of Âp could be considered.
The target value of the reliability index may be found as:

9r:3.50+EÂF, >2.0 (10)

Table l: Adjustment factors, Åp, to the reliability index, p

Life Safety Factor Description
Consequences of failure essential for post-disaster services ^P
normal 0
small probability of loss of life or economic loss -0.30
Component behaviour sudden brittle failure 0
limited ductility -0.35
gradual ductile failure -0.70
System behaviour component failure leads to total collapse 0
component failure leads to contained collapse -0.35
component failure leads to local failure -0.70
large loss of life +0.30
Number of persons at risk
moderate loss of life 0
minimum loss of life -0.30

7.0 The Fostering of Research

Limit States Design fosters research. It soon becomes evident in examining the Limit States
Design equation that much research needs to be done to define better the loads and load effects.
The first of these deals with the assessment of loads acting on structures; whether they are
environmental, use and occupancy, vehicular, dynamic, the weight of the structure itself or
whatever. The determination of the effect of loads is the analysis of the structure under the
action of the loads. Computer analyses that take more and more factors.into account and reduce
or eliminate drudgery represent significant advances.

On the other side of the equation is the assessment of the resistance of the particular structnral
component. While quality control has reduced both the variability of the geometry and of the
characteristic strength of components, the structural engineering researcher continues to look for
better models of the behaviour of members, components and structures. The goal is to develop
models for which the bias coefficient is close to 1.0 and the coefficient of variation is low.
Reducing the lauer, in particular, is likely to enhance the resistance factor for a given reliabiliry.
This is not the problem that is faced by a design engineer where it is perfectly acceptable to
make simplifying assumptions provided only that they are conservative. The question being
addressed by the researcher is what model predicts the behaviour closely and consistently. It is
this latter aspect that is examined in the next two sections for some aspects of hollow structural
sections, HSSs, and welds.


Class H Hollow Structural Section Columns

Kennedy and Gad Aly (Ref. 7) proposed, in I980, thatColumn Curve of the Stn¡ctural Stability
Research Council could be used for Class H hollow structural sections, produced in Canada in
accordance with CSA Standard G40.20-1976, with a resistance factor generally greater than
0.90. Subsequently the Sl6 Committee on Structural Steel for Buildings incorporated this into
the 516.1 Limit States Design Søndard (Ref. 8) with a resistance factor of 0.90. This
represented a considerable increase in the factored compressive resistance as compared to the
lower SSRC Curve 2. It is important to note, as the Standa¡d continues to state, that this higher
strength is for Class H sections and not for Class C sections which have considerably different
properties. Furthermore the sections must be produced to CSA Standard G40.20 the current
edition of which is that of 1992 (Ref. 9). Hollow structural sections manufactured to ASTM
Standard 4500-93 (Ref. l0) do not qualify as the tolerances on wall thicknesses are considerably
less stringent in it. In S 16. I -94, SSRC Curve I is expressed in double exponential form as:

Cr= oAFv ( * *"lX (l l)

in which the resistance factor, Q, is 0.90 and the exPonen! n, is 2.24. The data given in Table 2
are based on the original analysis in which the equation of Galambos and Ravindra (Ref. I l) for
the resistance factor, incorporating a separation factor, d,¡, of 0.55, was used- This is:

0 = pn exp(-ÞcrnVn) (r2)

A reliability inder; p, of 3. 0, consistent with the NBCC, was used-

Table 2. Statistical data for HSS Columns

Variable v
Static yield strength, Fy 1.240 0.092
Cross-sectional area, A 0.985 0.034
Test-to-predicted ratio, P 0.965 0.040
Unit resistance, F
for l, = 0.00 t.240 0.092 1.179 0.106 0.990
î,:0.40 1.229 0.087 Ll68 0.102 0.987
I = 0.80 t.174 0.064 l.l l6 0.083 0.973
?,.= 1.20 r.025 0.033 0.974 0.062 0.880
I = 1.60 1.040 0.029 0.986 0.060 0.892
l. = 2.00 t.021 0.033 0.970 0.062 0.875
ì'= 2.40 t.025 0.033 0.974 0.062 0.880
l,:2.80 1.035 0.031 0.984 0.061 0.890

The test-to-predicted ratio is based on tests of Birkemoe (Ref. 12) and the entire procedure was
confirmed by exagining the results of 158 tests reported by Sherman (Ref. 13). In table 2, the
bias coefficients and the coefTicients of variation given for the unit resistance for different values
of the slenderness parameter take into account the bias coeffÏcient and the coefficient of
variation of the yielå strength, the radius of gyration and the modulus of elasticity and the fact
that as the slendemess incieases the influence of the yield strength decreases and that of the
modulus of elasticity increases. For any value of ln the bias coefficient, Pc,, iS the product of
those for the cross-sectional are4 the test-to predicted ratio and the unit resistance while
corresponding value of Vç, is found as the square root of the sum of the squares- Thus,
example, for I:0.80, equation (12) gives:

We note that the bias coefficient is reasonably close to 1.0 and that the coefficient of variation

not too high for the range of slenderness ratios. In CSA Standard 516.l a single value of the
resistance factor of 0.90 is used.

Concrete-Filled Hollow Structural Sections in Flexure

Based on 12 flexural tests on concrete-filled hollow strucA¡ral sections and control tests on the
five different hollow structural sections used, Lu and Kennedy @ef. 14) developed n¡¡o models
to predict the strength of concrete-filled hollow stn¡ctural sections; a "research model" and a
"design model". Classifications of the sections, based on measured dimensions and properties,
ranged from Class I to Class 4. By using rectangular sections with the long dimension oriented
both horizontally and vertically and by using sections with a considerable variation in wall
thickness, ratios of the concrete and steel areas in compression of 3.1 to 5.6 were tested. As
well, shear span to depth ratios of I.0 to 5.0 were investigated. Neither of these factors had any
effect on the test-to-predicted moment ratios and therefore the models developed a¡e considered
to be independent of these facûors.

The moment curvah¡re relationship is initially elastic followed by increasing inelastic softening
culminating with a very long plateau of slightly increasing slope until failure occurs. Failure
was precipitated by an upward buckle of the steel top flange. The concrete in the tension zone
was heavily cracked a¡d in the compression zone was crushed where the steel had buckled. On
the average, steel strains reached 14 000 ¡re in compression and23 000 pe in tension.

The concrete prevented inward movement of the steel webs and therefore provided rotational
restraint to the edges of the top flange which could only buckle upwards. Thus the compressive
strains in the steel at failure were very large. Observations indicated that there was no loss of
composite action between the steel and the concrete due to lack of shear transfer by friction or
bond. Confinement of the concrete by the steel increased its load carrying capacity such that the
ratio of the maximum concrete stress in flexure to the cylinder strength should be taken as 1.00
and not just 0.85 as is the case in reinforced concrete design. The effective rectangular stress
block in the concrete should be taken to extend to 0.85 of the depth to the neutral axis.

The "research" model to predict the ultimate moment resistance is suitable for use when the
strengths of the steel and concrete are known. The concrete compressive resistance is taken as
the concrete strength multiplied by 0.85 of the area of the concrete in compression i.e., the
rectangular stress block extends to 0.85 of the depth to the neutral axis. The steel stress is taken,
both in tension and compression, as the average of that at 14 000 and 23 000 pe. This is valid
for Grade 350 steel with b/t ratios as high as 36.0. The position of the neutral axis is determined
to satisfy horizontal equilibrium. For design, because the strengths of the steel and concrete are
not known a priori, the model is based on the specified minimum yield strength and the 28-day
concrete strength with the neutral axis position again established to satisfy equilibrium. Table 3
shows the test-to-predicted ratios for the two models where, for the design model, the measured
steel yield strength and the measured cylinder strength have been used in the prediction

The coefficient of variation for both models is very low indicative of a narrow distribution about
the mean. For the research model the mean value of the test-to-predicted ratio at 1.016 is very

close to l. Thus the research model predicts the strength exceedingly well. The design model
under-predicts the moment by about l9o/o on the average. This is due to the under-assessment

Table 3 Test-to-predicted ratios for two models

Test Test moment Predicted moment, klrlom Test-to-predi cted ratio

Research Design Research Design

cB13 75.t 72.2 63.1 l.Ml 1.190

cBl5 71.3 72.0 62.9 0.991 l.l34
cB22 t46.5 t39.7 t23.1 1.068 l.190
cB31 210.7 2t2.4 t76.2 0.992 1.196
cB33 2t0.7 ztt.7 r75.6 0.995 1.200
cB35 207.6 211.3 t75.3 0.983 1.184
cB4l 283.8 275.2 248.7 1.031 1.141
CB4r'. 282.2 274.7 248.0 1.027 1.138
cBs2 t4.7 t42.5 tr7.l 1.015 t.236
cBs3 t46.7 t4t.4 I16.5 1.038 t.260
cB55 142.9 141.4 t16.4 l.0l I t.227

p l'016 1' 188

-Y - ,- o'o2s- 0:034
- -
of the steel contribution because the yield strength for the cold rolled HSSs, obtained by the
O-2vo offset method, is considerably less than the stress levels obtained at the large strains the
steel was able to undergo before failure. This high mean value would not be disadvantageous
for design because a resistance factor derived using this test-to-predicted ratio together with the
bias coeffrcients for the yield strength and the cross-sectional properties and with the respective
coefficients of variation would give the desired reliability levels automatically.


Partial Penetration Groove,lVelds

partial penetration groove welds do exist. Gagnon and Kennedy (Ref. 15) tested 75 such welds
made with matching electrodes in grade 300W and grade 3504 steel plates, to determine
and the
overall behaviour -¿ ttt" effects on the strength of percent penetration, plate strength,
eccentricity of the load arising from the fact that the welds are not aligned with the æris of the
plate. Nominal penetrations ranging from 20 to 100% were used. The plates were tested singly
*¿ in pairs to establish any differãnces between eccentrically loaded welds and the concentric
loading of a pair of specimens.

place so that
The inherent ductility of the welds allowed lateral deflections and straining to take
the eccentrically loaded welds were as strong as concentrically loaded welds' The strengh

the welds is greater than the strength of the plate multiplied by the percent penetration and
increases with increasing lateral restraint that occurs with decreasing penetration as shown in


o" .l¡

t! !l
¡ ¡

20 40 60 80 100
Percent penetration

Fig. 5 Ultimate stress versus percent penetration

This increased strength was attributed to the fact that the weld, heavily strained in tension,
attempts to contract laterally but is restrained from so doing by the adjoining less heavily loaded
plate material. A biaxial or even triaxial stress state is set up which increases the failure stress.
Extending the von Mises-Hencky yield criterion to the ultimate, for the case when the out of
plane stress is zero, and for the case when the strains in the two orthogonal directions are zero,
gives l.l5 and 1.75 times the ultimate tensile stess respectively,for v = 0.3. Furthermore, for
eccentrically loaded welds, the moments developed in the plates tend to cause the plates to self-
align under the tensile force and the moments are reduced. (This cannot occur for the plates
tested in pairs as they keep each other in the original alignment.) However, in both cases, when
all the weld cross-section is yielded in tension there can be no moment on the weld. A very
reliable model is, therefore, to take the tensile resistance of the partial penetration groove weld,
made with matching electrodes, as:

T, =0* pAp Fo (14)

where p is the decimal fraction of the penetration, An and Fu are the area and tensile strength of
the plate and the resistance factor is to be determined from equation (12) in a slightly modified
form. Because load and resistance factors have to determined consistently, if equation (12) is
used to determine resistance factors with a reliability index of, say 4.0, the corresponding
equation for load factors should also be based on an index of 4.0. However, because it is
convenient to use one set of load factors in design based on the general index for members ¿Ìs a
whole, say 3.0, for example, an adjustment factor must be applied to equation (12). Based on

Fisher et al. (Ref.16), this is, for our case taking the two indices as 3.0 and 4.0 resPectively,
about 0.93. Gagnon and Kennedy (Ref. 15) give the following bias coefficients: plate strength,
1.090; weld are4 0.978; plate areq 1.015; and the test-ùo predicted ratio, l.l52for the data in
Fig. 5 resulting in pn obtained as the product, equal to 1.246. Combining the corresponding
coãflicients of variation of 0.1013; O.147;0.013; and 0.l72to give V¡ equal to 0-248 results in:

0.93 p¡ exp(- Þanvn) (l sa)

0o, =

0.67 (lsb)
0w =0.93x 1246 exp(-+.oxossx0.2a8) =
which is that used in CSA Standard Sl6.l. Because the partial penetration groove welds fracture
with little deformation, even though the welds are ductile, to get overall ductile behaviour the
plate must yield before the weld fractures, hence:

pApFutAo& (l6a)

Rr (l6b)
or D>¿

Fillet Welds

Although it has been known for years that the strength of trarsversely loaded frllet welds is
gr""trr-th* that of longitudinally loaded fillet welds and that welds loaded at intermediate
Lgtes have intermediaæ strengths, as reported by Spraragen and Claussen F"f. ll) and bV
Frãeman (Ref. lB) respectively, u-oog others, it is only relatively recently that this
has been
19) formed the
recognizeà in design standa¡ds. The more recent work of Butler and Kulak @ef.
basis-for the design tables for eccentrically loaded weld groups in the 7977 Edition
of the Limit
States Design fvfanuaf of the Canadian Instin¡te of Steel Constnrction
(Ref. 20). Only in the
lgg4 edition of cSA Standard sl6.l is the variation of the factored shear strength with

direction of loading recognized in the equation:

Y, =0-67 0* A* Xu(1.00+0'50sinls 0)

where S* is the resistance factor for welds, A* is the throat area, X,, is
the electrode classification
and 0 is the angle between the æris of the weld and the line of action
of the force. This is based
(Ref' 22) ' Miazga and
on the work of Miazgaand Kennedy (Ref. 2 I ) and of Lesik and Kennedy
loading changed from the
Kennedy gave two ,-."ron, for the increased shear strength as the
direction' i'e''
tongituiinãl direction, i.ê., parallel to the weld arcis, to the transverse
continuously from
oemendicular to the weld a,xis. First, the angle of the failure plane changes
in Fig' 6,
ffi;¡ ;r ,¡. rongitudinal weld to about 140 for the transverse weld as shown the mæ<imum
where are plotted their test results as well as the failure angle predicted
groove welds' the lateral
shear súess theory. Second, as was the case for partial Penetration

shear stess theory



15 30 45 60 75 900

Angle between longinrdinal and load a¡ces

Fig. 6 Variation of fracture angle with the angle between the longitudinal and load axes

restraint provided by the less heavily loaded adjacent plates increases the strength. For
longitudinal fìllet welds in shea¡ this influence is zero but it increases to a maximum for the
transverse welds when there is a considerable normal force component acting on the rveld in
addition to the shear force. Equation 18, from Lesik and Kennedy (Ref.22), a simplificarion of
the more complex equations
inMiazga and Kennedy (Ref. 2l), is plotted in Fig. 7 aeainst
the test results reported in the latter. The shear stress is computed for convenience as if it acted
on the throat although this is the failure plane only for the longitudinal welds. This accounts, in
considerable measure, for the increased strength of transverse welds.

The data in Fig. 7 give a mean bias coefficient for the test-to-predicted ratio of 1.010 w'ith the
relatively low coeffrcient of variation of 0.089. With these, the statistical values of orher
parameters as reported in Lesik and Kennedy are incorporated as follows. The mean value of
the effective throat area to the nominal value, p6 is 1.034 with a coefficient of variation, \rç, of
0.026. There are two material factors to be considered; the ratio of the tensile strength ro the
electrode classifrcation and the ratio of the shear strength to the tensile strength. This latter ratio
is taken as 0.67 in the resistance equation. The mean value of the ultimate tensile strength of
electrodes divided by the electrode classification, pÀ{r, is 1.123 u'ith V^a, equal to 0.077. The
mean value of the shear suength to the ultimate tensile strength is 0.749. Thus p¡12 is 0.74910.67
= l.ll8 and the corresponding value of V¡a2 is found to be 0.12I. Multiplying the bias
coefficients together gives a value of p¡ of l.3l and for the coefficient of variation the square
root of the sum of the squares gives a value of 0.170. As before for partial penetration groove
welds, using a p of 4.0 with an adjustment factor of 0.93 so that the resistance factor can be used
with load factors determined for a 3.0, results in:

0r" = 0.93p¡ exp(-Þonvn) (1sa)

0,,.. =0.93 x 1.3 I I exp (-+.ox 0.55x 0.1 70) = 0.86 (1sc)

1.0 + 0.50 sint'0


l5 30 45 60 75
Angle betwecnlongitt¡dinal and load a:ces

Fig.7 Variation of normalized shear strength with angle between the longinrdinal and load æres

This exceeds the value of 0.67 given h 516.l considerably. Lesik and Kennedy give a lower
value, but still greater than 0.67, when test results of others are incorporated.

Equation (17) can be used to develop the inelastic strengths of eccentrically loaded weld groups
of arbitrary configurations, using the method of instantaneous centres, when it is expanded to
include a tefm that accounts for the load deformation respoff¡e of the weld. Thus, writing in
normalized form by dividing by the longinrdinal weld strength and without resistance factors the
resistance of a unit area of weld is:

r"o * e]r(o) (l 8)
Ír¿ = [r.oo ,¡nr-50

where (p) is given by Lesik and Kennedy (Ref. 22) in polynomial form as obtained by
conelating with the load-deformation response for all 42 tests of Miazga and Kennedy' A
polynomiãl is used in order that the descending branch of the curves, after reaching the
mocimum load, can be modelled. It
is further necessary to ensure that the ma<imum
deformation that the weld can undergo at the particular angle between the weld æris and the load
is not exceeded. In using equation (18) the test-to-predicted ratio is no longer determined for a
single weld but by comparisons of the load carried by different weld configurations to that
preãicted by equaiion (18). Such work,including the determination of resistance factors, was
caniedout-byiesikandKennedy. Itwasfoundthatthe516.l resistancefactorof 0-67 wasat
leas¡ 6Yo cons ervative.

liang (Ref. 23) advanced this procedure another step by developing and verifying a computer
progiu* for the analysis and ãetermination of the factored resistance of eccentrically loaded
i.tã groups of any arbitrary configuration of line segments when loaded in plane by a load
acting-at any orientation. Input data are: the line of action of the in-plane force, the weld

configuration, the weld size, and the electrode strength. The solution is iterative and begins with
an ¿$sumption of the location of the instantaneous centre of rotation. The program then carries
out the iterations necessary to arrive at the correct location of the instantaneous centre and the
ultimate load that the weld group can carry. One analytical experiment showed that an arbitrary
one-third reduction in the deformation that the weld could undergo did not decrease the strength
of the welded connection.


In addition to the fundamental advantage of Limit States Design over Working Stress Design in
providing much greater consistency in the reliability of structures and in providing economy at
the same time, it has been shown, by particular application to hollow strucû¡ral sections, partial
penetration groove welds and fillet welds, that LSD allows the rational development of
resistance formulations that take into account the inelastic action that occurs ineviøbly in
attaining the ultimate load that stn¡ctr¡ral components can carry. The obvious extension is the
second-order inelastic analysis of structures under factored load combinations accounting for
both material and geometric nonJinearities.


The support of the Natural Sciences and Engineering Resea¡ch Council throughout the course of
the projects cited here in which the author played a role is gratefully acknowledged.


l. NBCC 1995. National Buildine Code of Canada. Associate Committee on the National
Building Code, National Research Council of Canada: Ottawa ON
2. Allen, D.E. 1975. Limit States Design - A Probabilistic Snrdy. Canadian Journal of Civil
Ensineerine 2 (1) 36-49
3. Allen, D.E. 1969. Safety Factors for Stress Reversal. International Association for
Bridee and Structural Eneineering Publication 29-II 19-27
4. MKM Engineering Consultants 1993. Ultimate Limit States Load Combinations. Load
Factors and Resistance Factors for the Desien of the Northumberland Strait Fixed
Crossine Report to SCI Ltd.
5. Allen, D.E. 1992. Canadian Highway Bridge Evaluation: Reliability Index. Canadian
Journal of Civil Eneineering l9 (6) 987-991
6: Kennedy, D.J.L. l99l . Tareet Values of the Reliability Index Report to ISO Technical
Committee 167 SCl, Document N 259E
7 . Kennedy, D.J.L., and Gad Aly, M. 1980. Limit states design of steel structures -
performance factors. Canadian Journal of Civil Engineerins 7 (l) 45-77
8. CSA 1994. CSA Standard S 16. I Limit States Desien of Steel Structures. Canadian
Standards Association, Rexdale ON

9. csA lgg2. CSA Standard G40.20 General Requirements for Rolled or welded Structr:ral
oualitv steel canadian standards Association, Rexdale oN
10. ASTM 1993
American SocietY for Testing and
Materials, PhiladelPhia PA
resistance factor desigrr
ll. Galambos, T.V., and Ravindrq M.K. 1973. Tentative load and
criteria foi steel buildines. Research Report No. l8 S nuctural Division, Civil

ffiering Deparrnent, washington university, st. Louis, Mo

t2. Birkemoe, P.C.1976.
publication No. 76-09 Departrrent of Civil Engineering University of Toronto
13. sherman, D.R. 1974. Tentative çriteria for strucnral applicati
gipe. American Iron and Steel Institute, Washington DC
and Kennedy, D.J.L. 1994. The flen¡ral behaviour of concrete-filled
t4. tJ.e.,
stn¡ctural sections. Canadian Journal of Civil Eneineerine 2l
(l) I I l-130
tensile strength of
15. Gagnon, D.p., and I<.oo.¿y, O.J.L. 1989. Behaviour and ultimate
(3) 384-
p"rriul joint penetration gróóve welds. Canadian Journal of Civil Engineerine 16
Fisher, J.W., Galambos, T.V., Kulalq G.L. and Ravindr4 M. 1978.
Load and resistance
factor design for conneótions- ASCE Journal of the Structr¡ral Division 104
(sT9) 1427'
plug welds - a review of
t7. Spraragen, w., and claussen, G.E. 1942. Static tests of fîllet and
the liteiature from l93Zto January 1, 1940. Welding Journal 2l (4) l6ls -197s
Freeman, F.R. 1932. Strength of arc-welded joints. Weldine Jourqal I I
(6) 16'24
19. Butler, L.J., and Kula¡, C.L. ßlt Strength of fillet weld as a funcúon of direction of
loading. Weldins Journal 50 (5) 23ls'234s
20. CISC,-tg . Canadian Institute of Steel Consiruction,
Willowdale ON
21. Miazg4G.S., and Kennedy, D.J.L. 1989. Behaviour of fillet welds as a function of the
ande of loading. Canadian Journal of Civil Eneineerine l6 (4) 583 - 599
22. Lesik, D.F., anã fenneJy, D.J.L. 1990. Ultimate strength of frlled welded connections
Ioaded in plane. canadian Journal of civil Eneineerine 17 (l) 55'67
23. Jiang, Y. 1995. M. Eng. Thesis,
Oepã4ment of Ciuit Environmental Engineering, Carleton University. Ottawa ON


R. M. Bent*


Despite a host of superior properties, many structural designers and.fabricators shunned the
general use of Hollow Structural Sections (HSS) in the arly 1970's. Although the fundamental
engineering guidelines were relatively straight forwa¡d, and have remained so for over 25 years,
HSS designs were often uneconomical when compared to conventional structures. Moreover,
frnished products were not always pteasing to the eye ... some were aestheticly zgly since the
connections were particularly bad.

This early disillusionment left HSS with a stigma. Accordingly, architects became the prime
users of HSS, teki¡g advantage of the fine aesthetic qualities. Major fabrications, m¿rny wary
of past experiences, continued to use traditional shapes unless othenryise instructed by the client.
A further impediment in Canada - still not quite fully remedied - was the lack of a single, all-
inciusive, universally accessible HSS Design Standard. Much useful information was scattered
throughout various Standa¡ds or squirrelled away in obscure technical libra¡ies.

Stelco Inc., an active member of CIDECT, published perhaps the most useful and
comprehensive set of HSS design guidelines in Canada until 1982. However, having a limited
distribution precluded these f,rne manuels from having a major impact. As Engineers and
Fabricators gained experience with HSS, competitive tubula¡ stn¡ctures soon became a reality
in the construction markeþlace. Designers had to reverse their traditional mindset of mínímum
weight. . . HSS demanded a much tougher target.


Notwithsta¡ding the early problems, appropriately designcd HSS structures can, and have,
proven to be competitive in the markeçlace. Not surprisingly, the role of the structural
engineer has proven to be the deciding factor; his choice of member sizes and joint orientation
predetermines both the quality and economy of the final weldment. Designers also must
appreciate that (1), not all structures lend themselves to HSS, and (2), simple substitution of
equivalent HSS in lieu of existing shapes seldom succeeds.

Of the numerous factors that the structural designer needs to be cognizant, the following are
especially signifi cant:

* Senior welding Engineer, welding Institute of canada, oakville, ontario

(1) Inherent advantages of using HSS
Q) Design guidelines for both members and joints
(3) Design pitfalls
(4) Competitive truss designs
(5) Design references


Structural designers must take advantage of the inherent properties of HSS.

(l) Strength Sections made to CSA G40.zl have a yield strength of 50 Ksi (350 Mpa).
Thus, for satically designed structures, members can be designed for an allowable
working súess of 30 Ksi; for aSTM 436, the equivalent allowable is 22 Ksi.

Q) Torsional Resistance Being closed sections, HSS offer excellent resistance to torsional
forces. Similarly, sections have favouable H/r slenderness ratios, making excellent
compression members, especially bracing members. Also, a significantly longer
unsupported length can be used for beams. These same properties give added stiffrress
to fabricated units, facilitating field erection. For example, it is not unusual to see 50
ft. pedestrian wallovay trusses being brought to the construction site in one piece.

(3) Reduced Slendemess Ratio Research has shown that the calculated values for kl/r may
be further reduced in truss chord and web compression members. When combined with
items (l) A (2), the load+o-weight ratio can be exceptional.

(4) Corrosion Resistance Being hollow, corrosion takes place only on the outside surface.
Likewise, only the exterior surface need be painted. The rounded edges promote a clea¡r

(5) Fewer Gussets For many welded connections, gusset plates are not required.

(6) Aesthetic Oualities Given the smooth lines of HSS, and the elimination of most gusset
plates, aesthetically pleasing designs can be produced for a growing number of industrial,
commercial, ild domestic uses. Combined with high strength, HSS is particularly
favoured by architects.


Philosophy of HSS Connec{ions

The concept for obtaining an optimum economic design for HSS fabrications is zof based on
minimum weight, the benchmark used so effectively for fabrications from conventional sections
(Tees, Wide Flanges, Plate, etc.). With HSS the objectives are (l), to simplify the joint
configuration, and (2), to maximize the joint strength . . . minimum weight is not the prime

The strength of a welded connection benveen
unreinforced HSS members is often a
function of geometric parameters of the
sections being joined (the relative dimensions
and wall thicknesses). The profile of the
intersection between a branch member and a
main member passes along a path of varying
local stiffness in the main member. Simply
stated, one must ñot forget that these
members are hollow, and thus the percentage
of the branch load that is ransferred through
the chord member depends on the degree of
Figure 1: Reduced neffectiven length for comprrssion local joint deformation. Stiffness variations
chord and web members.
produce wide ranges in weld loading. It
follows that, when "portions" of the weld
transfer little or no load, the strength of the connection is generally less than that of the member,
regardless of weld size.

Connection capacity expressed as "connection

resistance" effectively defines the capacity of
KIH = 0.751¡f HSS members that have unreinforced
connections. Therefore, designers are advised
Klp = 0.91p to consider the available connection resistance
when member sizes are being determined.
Members selected solely on the basis of
minimum mass may require expensive
reinforced connections in order the loads.

The load carrying capacity of an HSS joint is

directly dependent upon the geometry and
configuration of the members framing into the
l^ |
connection. Thus, the designer's choice for
a truss diagonals (branch member) must be
able to effectively transfer axial loads through
the chosen chord member. The performance
Fignrre 23 Typical load failure, web to chord of the resulting joint is intimately linked to
face. both members. Unlike many other structures,
the fabricator may have little or no
opportunity for substitution when dealing with HSS. Simply using an alternate HSS member
with similar load carrying capacity does not ensure the integrity of the joint strength.t

The load carrying capacities for various combinations of chord and wall
geometries, as tabulated in the Stelco Inc. Design Manual of 1982, should not
be used today, except for estimating initial sections. Safety may be at risk.

Simply stated, the web force can cause a localized failure in chord walls, particularly in the
upper face, somewhat akin to the "high heel phenomena". The flexibility of the tubular walls
give rise to such failure mechanisms ÍN excessive deformation, punching shear, plasticity, and
buckling (Figure 1). Not unexpectantly, the degree of load transfer across the joint is critically
impaired. In other words, the strength of the joint will be less than the súength of the web
An equally important observation, the welding may not be a factor in overall performance.
Many HSS design principles of the late 1960's for attaining optimum connections still apply,
particularly the simple rules relating to member geometry and configuration. Resea¡ch a¡ound
the world, much of it under the auqpices of the International Institute of lVelding (Iltil), has
better deñned the va¡iability of stress transfer benveen web and chord members. In particular,
Professor J.Packer at the University of gauge tests on fulI scale models for à variety of different
joint configuration, i.e., "Nn and "Kn.

One tangible result has been significantly increased joint resisances, thereby allowing greater
load transfers from branch members. Although the formulae and graphical design charts a¡e
more complex, current design calculiations also have greater reliability over the qpectrum of
infinite joint conñgurations.


The design of individual HSS members differs little from conventional practice. One still uses
the appropriate CSA 516.l criteria for tension, compression, bending, and allowable stress.
However, the effective design length for HSS truss members in compression can be reduced,
thereby increasing the allowable compressive load. For continuous chords, use 0.9 kllr; for
webs, use a 0.75 factor (Figure 2).

The following guidelines a¡e consistent with CSA 516.1 criteria. Choosing web and chord
members having compatible geometries will result in joints having:

(l) High joint efficiency (they will carry larger loads)

(2) Simple preparations and fit-up (no gussets or stiffener plates)
(3) Accessible fillet welds

The net result should be a high-quality, economical design that is competitive with traditional
fabrications. The designer, however, will ultimately determine the outcome. If the work
reaches the shop floor with overly complicated joints, its too late for the welders and fitters to
rectify the situation.

However, the old "load tables" shown here in Appendix A do illustrate the
dramatic effect of geometry on HSS joint resistance.

Some Basic Rules

(l) Connection capacity increases as the

width of the joining HSS members
(web and chord) approach the same Wllh rmrll r¡cllur
com.rt. rulttDla
values. Unfortunately, costs increase d.t¡ll tor
when welds are placed on the corner groova wald
radius of the chords and the final
quality may well depend on the skill
of the individual welder (Figure 3).
A poor fit-up may necessitate a
backing ba¡ inside the tube, a
particularly diff,rcult task at large
radius corners.

Choose a web that is narrower than

the chord by at least 5 times the chord
wall thickness. This small adjustment
will provide enough space to use a Figure 3: tfarinun ef f icieacy is
expensive aud difficult weld.
simple fillet weld around the full

Q) Chord members with thick walls offer greirter joint efficiency. Efficiency is further
increased when a thin walled web member is used. Thus, the designer should maximize
the ratio of:

Chord wall thickness / lVeb wall thickness

Also, thin web walls require smaller fillet welds for a full strength joint, another tangible

(3) Gap connections are preferable to

g = 16 minimum
overlap connections because the
members are easier to prepare, fit,
and weld. A gap joint facilitates the
use of a simple fìllet weld a¡ound the
HSS periphery, provided that there is
sufficient clearance between adjacent
members. The recommended clea¡
distance between "toes" is four times
the average web wall thickness, but
not Iess than 16mm.

(4) Gap joints usually result in Figure 4i Gap joints are usually
eccentricity and secondary bending.
the most economical.
However, these effects can be

dismissed in joint design if the intersection of the centre lines of the web members lies
within the following range measured from the centre line of the chord: 25Vo of the chord
depth towa¡ds the outside of the truss, and 55To of chord depth towards the inside of the
truss (Figure 4).

-0.55 < e/h" <0.25

(5) If a given lap joint does not provide .
adequaæ efficiency, then either (l)
change member parameters to achieve
a stronger gap joint, or Q) change the
connection to a lap joint with at least
25Vo overlap (Figure 5).
With a lap joint the forces are
transferred directly between the web
members, thereby eliminating local
chord wall failures. Consequently, Figfure 5: Use ]$$rmirnitnrmoverlap joints if agap
lap joints have both a higher static and joint will not wor*.
fatigue life than gap joints. However,
lap joints require two preparation cuts
and a tighter fit-up, both cost-adding features. To simplify fit-up, place the narrower
tension member onto the wider compression member. AIso, the bottom inside a¡ea need
not be welded (Figure 6).

Given the almost infinite number of

combinations of member size,
periphery, wall thickness, and
orientation, alternative gap joint
designs with equal or higher
efficiencies are readily attained at the
design stage.

(6) In web members that are inclined to

the horizontal by 60 degrees or more,
the welds can be classified as fillets
(Figure 7).

It should be readily apparent that Figrre 63T0€ of overlapped member is not

designing in HSS is very much atríal- welded.
and-error process. However, the
methodology is straight forward and designers will readily discover the great versatility
of tubular sections. The same unit weight can be attained by a multitude of available


there are few that merit sPecial

The number of potential pitfails can be infinite; however,


(l) HSS Redesign First, do not redesign

¿rn existing structure bY merely
substituting HSS members of equal
load carrying capacity. The results
are not likely to win many accolades,
as the fabrication costs may set new
records. For examPle, when a "Fink" 0r", = 120o
tnrss (Figure 8) was redesigned in
HSS some Years ago @Y the author),
the number of different sizes, lengths,
peripherals, web orientations, laP
joints, etc. was indeed a Poor
advertisement for mY comPanY's
product. The lesson learned, of
course, was that HSS structures must Eigrure 7: The angle of HSS mernber is

be designed from "scratch" to take ir nportant design feature.

full adva¡tage ofthe inherent

(2) Ice Damaee While studies have

shown that there is minimal chance
for corrosion on the interior surface of
tubula¡ structures, it is usually prudent
to seal or cap all open connections. If
water gets inside a tube (during the
erection perid or if exPosed to
elements while in service), the
tigure E: A "f"rk" roof truss - not well suited for
damage wrought bY the freezing of
even a small amount of water can be
quite depressing (Figure 9).
Whereuer the potential for such a disasl er exists, provide a

the geometry
(3) Minimum Weigùt Competitive HSS constn¡ction is driven by optimizing
of the .onnõñ* and úy simplifying the fabrication process. Having satisf,red total
pounds off the
criteria, there is little to Ue gaiìø by attempting to shave a few
weight. Use as few sections as possibie - this will standardize production. For
whenever possible; to procure a
for a group of web members, use the same section
virtual kaleidoscope of members having a different width, depth, or thickness
the purpose of reducing wight would negate purpose of using HSS' The extra handling
and tracking problems would definitely increase costs.

(4) Gussets & Stiffeners With a little manipulation of HSS sizes, the designer should be
able to eliminate gusset plates and stiffeners (Figure 10). These items add extra material
and cost. However, such chord member reinforcement provides excellent results when
fabricated and welded according to the empirical methods developed by Korol et al

(5) lVeld Efficiency The angle of the web to the chord directly affects the efficiency of the
weld. For angles where 120" > 0 > 60o, use simple f,rllet welds all around the outside.
For angles where 6ü > 0 < 3V, the weld on the heel must be considered a PJFG weld.
For angles less than 30 degrees, the heel weld is not considered to be effective in
resisting the applied member force.


The "Wa¡ren" tn¡ss (Figure 1l) is particularly well

suited to take full advantage of HSS. Such designs,
¿rs outlined below, have consistently proved
competitive in the market place; where tenders for
both an HSS and an equivalent, traditional design
(Tees & angles) have been called, the HSS has been
the clear winner.

IISS lVarren Truss

The following criteria result in high quality,
economically competitive HSS truss designs. The
same criteria will also result in higher joint
resistances and load carrying capacities.

o web members having the same single cut end

preparation (say 60)
o continuous, parallel chords
o gap joints Figure 9: FrozED sater
o fillet welds cracks aud ðeforus EBg
o design based on F, : 50 Ksi
o reduced "kl/rn ratio for compression members
(0.9 for chords, 0.75 for webs)
o high ratio of web-to-chord width (no weld on corner radius)
o thick chord walls
o high ratio of chord wall thickness-to-web wall thickness
o member sizes kept to a minimum


h6d",l"f"rma-tion for the design of HSS

t*.*ttt is still difficult to find: references
i" scattered among different codes'
It o¿.tát, countries, organizadons' and \. ./

ä"t"J publications' There is no single' ^

authoritative source of useful data'

information vacuum represents a serious
explain truss
hurdle to designers, and may partially Figure 1o: Reinforced Bga
their reluctance to use HSS' There is no
in the current
chorô vorlrs wel1.
frovision for fatigue design
Canadian Standards.

(1) CIDECT ^. ---.:a^^ r^- +ha cnrrr., en¡l f)eveloDment of Tubular

CIDECT(fhelnternationalCommitteefortheStudyan.dDweJor for much of the early design
Structures), a major sponsor for research, "tpontiutt
material. Howevef, its work is not readily
ut"t"ibl" to most Canadian engineers'

(2) Stelco Inc.

ñtit -tggZ, Stetco assimilated
CIDECT research and disseminated
the knowledge in
several company
Design Manuals. At the time, these
tanutl, were a Primary source of
HSS design information in Canada'
UnfortunitelY, being a commercial
oublication, these excellent manuals
ïere not widely distributed and many trr¡ss is well suited
designers were unaware of their figure 11: A nWarrenn
HSS construction.

(3) IIlV on HSS is now at the

ftt. UW (International Institute of Welding) Subcommifteeof Codes based on its
forefront on HSS reseatch, with an increasing ãray Ue obtained from the Welding
recommendations. CoPies of IIW Oo.ut"n,t
Institute of Canada.

is devoted solely to HSS' Two
code. Section 10 of nWSbt .çg4 and earlier
of shaPes are covered:

o squares &rectangles (conform to IIW)

. circula¡ shapes (apply only to offshore)

(s) CISC Handbook of Steel Construction. FÏfth Edition
Section 3.0 þage 3-83) covers HSS connections, having numerous diagrams and an
excellent summary of design parameters (based on IIW"). Tpical welding details are also
provided. The required length of weld for different wall thickness and periphery at given
angles is provided in tabular form. However, the Handbook is not a Code, and rnany
designers are unaware of the information on tubular steels.

(6) CSA Standard tV59

As with CSA Standard S16.1M for stn¡ctural design, the tJ/59 welding code has no
section qpecifica[y devoted to tubular steel. However, the next edition, CSA W59-1966
(this year) will for the fi¡st time have a separate section on statically loaded HSS.

(7) CISC Pr¡blication

Jeff Packer and Ted Henderson's Design Guídc for Hollow $nrcnral Section
Comccrtons provides engineers with a practical and comprehensive 'state-of-the-art" text.
The design examples conform to CAN/CSA 516.1-M89. This book covers the common
and the noþsæommon. It is consistent with IIW, but writæn to suit the Canadian


HSS offers the designer an alternative that, when appropriaæly designed and applied, produces
welded structures with high strength, quality, aesthetics, economy, and proven in-service
performance for many applications. Although major producers such as Stelco Inc. have
successfi¡lly used this product in a wide variety of applications for many years (roof tnrsses and
bracing; pedestrian walkrvays and handrail; bridges and towers; conveyor supports in corrosive
environment; lighting standards), HSS has not yet received the same acceptance throughout

Some early designs proved to be costly, and the anticipated aesthetics did not match
expectations. One can list numerous factors for these shortcomings, but I believe that the
following were the most significant:

(l) Although guidelines were available, they were not published in a single CSA approved
document. Therefore, they have not been readily accessible to all designers.

(2) HSS structures that are not built to appropriate guidelines can quickly alter a good design
concept into a fabricator's nightmare.

(3) The fabricating industry had liule practic¿l experience with HSS, often learning by trial
and error.

Hopefully this paper h¿s been able ro porrray the design of HSS a
in more favourable light.
ettî,oogt the design tools may still be Jomewhat widely dispersered:
op"914l' in Canada' the
HSS aesthetics, high
,o4or rif"r"n"r, liave been cláarly identifred and can be readily obt¿ined.
have Proven to be competive over a wide
strength-to-weight ratio, and vast range of geometries
range of service applications. Along with the
growing emphasis on co-ordinaæd global research,
the fuure bodes well for tubular stn¡cn¡res'
To emPhasil thit point one last
The designer is the key player in successful HSS constn¡ction.
Thus, the need for proper
,i-.-the-designer's iniùar-decisions can make or break a project.
raining and education is underscored'

As a f,rnal reminder to designers when using HSS:

,,Sel¿ct nemben and evøhutc joínt effæicncy sinalt¿neously."


sections, Design
1. cran J. A.; Gibson E.B.; Stadnyckyl s. 198l,Znded. Hollow Stn¡ctural
Manual for Connecdons; Sælco Inc'
packer, J.A.; Wardenier, J; Kurobane, Y; Duna, D.; Yeomans, N. 1992. Desien Guide For

CIDECT, Germany. ISBN 3-8249-0089-0

J. Fraær,G.S.; Packer, J-4. 1990. Desisn of Fillet W
;ä;; REpoRr ffio¡727;s70-2. universitv or
4. packer, J.A.; Henderson, J.E. Igg2. Desien Guidg-for HouoY SjrycJural Section
ðã*.",ionr..cISc. ISBN 0-ggg11476-6. universal offset Limited, Martham' T-
Koral, R.M.; Mirri, H.; Mtrzu F.A. 1982. Plaæ Reinforced square
HgUo* Section
pp' 143-
ioino of Une4ual Width, Canadian Journal of Civil Engineering, Vol.9, No.2,
rwelding subcommission XV-E, Design Recommendadons for
6. Inærnational Insúrute of
Hollow stn¡ctral Joints - nedominantly statically Læaded,2nd ed., Irw
Doc' xv-701-
7. Cmn, J.A.; 1982 W
usineRe"tanzult-õhoi-ilM"mbels=rf!it4^P:tl:2^2: jæt3o]n¡'
(Final Draft) Part D' PP.22'29-
9. òlSC Handbook of Sreel Constn¡cúon, Fifth Edition, 1993.
i0. Aws D1.1-1994 Stn¡ctural welding code - sæel, section 10
11. CSA Standard S16.l-92 Limit Staæs Design of Sæel Structures


Gap Joints - Maximum Allowable Venical Component of Force IV, in a Web Member (krps)
Rectangular Chords and round or box webs.

These joint efficiency Tables were based on early resea¡ch by W. Eastwood and A.A. Wood in
1970, University of Sheffield, England.

of working
Table 4.3-1 gives theralues
of cæes
toã¿ (wu) foi tne maioritY
BY enterine.the
;är;;; in desisn.
and wall
ä* *'ra;e chorã width the averaç web
ìü"*"ttì rJt.nd T)' and
.. ¡6,+d3),
member wrdm
of force
the allowable vertical component
is obtained' lf the
ì*iltl ," theweb svstem of f orce tn
ìt l"",u.r vertical component
;ö;;.;;mber is sreater than -tn1
";"j;;,; *"io s"P is not acceptable' since
would occur in the
face at ultimate load' An
"ittJi..o"r st¡ould then
ä"ãtoo ìãt", (section 4'3'2)
be considered'

Fy = 5o ks¡
TaHe 4.3.1
of force (Wv) in a web member (kips)
Gao Joints - maximum
allowable venical component
äãi;;ì;t chords and round web members
I""r.n. Diameter of web ttt6sr (in')

3.00 0.1500
3.00 0.1875
3.00 0.2500
3.00 0.3125
3.50 0.1500 35.36
3.50 0.1875 47.14
3.50 0.2500 58.93
3.50 o.3125
28.13 36.56
4.00 0.1875 37.50 48.75
4.00 0.2500 46.88 60.94
4.00 0.3125 56.25 73.13
4.00 0.3750 65.63 87.75
4.00 0.4375
24.82 31.58 37.60
5.00 0.1880 33.00 42.æ 50.00
i 24.00
5.00 0.2500 41.18 52.42 62.50
i zg.gs
5.00 0.3120 49.50 63.00 75.00
I so.oo
5.00 0.3750 57.75 73.50 87.50
I ¿z.oo g0,oo
5.00 0.4375 as.zo 59.40 75.60
5.00 0.4500 II
22.56 28.20 33.84
11.28 I 11.28 16.92
0.1880 11.28 11.28 37.50 45.00
22.50 30.00
15.00 15.00 15.00 i 15.00
46.80 56.16
6.00 0.2500
18.72 I re.zz 28.08 37.4
0.3120 18.72 18.72 45.00 56.25 67.50
6.00 22.50 I zz.so 33.75
0.3750 22.50 22.50 52.50 65.63 78.75
6.00 26.25 I za-zs 39.38
0.4375 26.25 26.25 67.50 81.00
6.00 I zz.æ 40.50 54.00
27.OO 27.OO 90.00
6.00 0.4500 27.OO
45.00 60.00 75.00
30.00 30.00 30.00 ì so.oo
6.00 0.5000

J.A. Packer', G.S. Frater* and S. Kitipornchait


In recent years recommendations for the design of planar, welded, Hollow Stn¡ctural Section
(HSS), truss-q¡pe connections have appeared in a number of 'structural steelwork
specifications or design guides around the world. These recommendations have been in the
form of extensive sets of formulae for each connection shape, with limits of validiry attached,
and occasionally with graphs showing the influences of some principal paramaen. To
engineers unfamiliar with the jargon, failure modes and nomenclature, designing with HSS
often has the appearance of being formidable and the potential for error. This paper aims to
ameliorate those concerns by tabulating the limit states (LRFD) resistances of several
connection shapes in many popular member sizes. Designers will be able to gain confidence
by checking their calculations, perform approximate interpolations for other member
combinations, and accelerate the selection of members.


Hollow Structural Sections, structural steel, tubes, connections, joints, trusses, design aids,
resistance tables, LRFD, limit states design


One of the most popular applications for Hollow Structural Sections (HSS) is in truss
construction. Unlike structural design with open sections where it is easy to provide
stiffeners at critical points to strengthen connections, the closed section of an HSS is best left
unstiffened - whenever possible - at a connection. This produces a very clean and
aesthetically-pleasing appearance as well as a low-cost connection too. However, this entails
proper selection of the HSS members and performing the connection design at the member
selection stage. Thus, for HSS construction connection design should be performed by the
structural rather rhan the fabricator. This is not a difficult task, as very detailed
design guidance is now available from the Canadían Institute of Steel Construction (CISC)
tnef. f i and elsewhere (Ref. 2). This CISC Guide has been used to generate the connection
resistance tables presented herein, which are directly applicable to either the Canadian limit
stares steel design specification (Ref. 3) or the American LRFD steel specification (Ref. a)-

-D"p*.""*f Ct"tl Engineering, University ot Toronto. 35 St. George Sr, Toronto, Onta¡io M5S lA4, Canada
+Hatch Associares Ltd., 2800 Speakman Drive, Sheridan Science and Technology Park, Mississauga. On¡ario
L5K 2R7, Canada
#Depanment of Civil Engineering, University of Queensland, Brisbane, Queensland 4072, Australia


in mind in order to maximize the strength of an

Some general tips that designers should- bear
HSS to HSS welded connection ¿re as follows:
than thin walls
.chords (or ,'through members") should generally have thick walls rather
.web members (or ,,branch members") should háve thin walls rather than thick
However' this is
.web members should be as wide as possible relative to the chord member'
not be the same width as rsctangular HSS
offset b1, the fact that HSS web members should
as this presents an awkward fla¡e-bevel weld
chord members, (except in Vierendeel trusses),
joint at the corner of the chord section' A
situation (possibly wiih backing bars) for tne
than the chord to permit the web member
preferred afrangement is just su-fficiently n*o,i",
and some of the frllet wðl¿ to sit on the
"flat" of the rectangular HS-S- chord. member' The
outside corner radius of a North American
cold-formed rectangular HSS member is
the csA siandard (Ref. 5) allows over 3r
taken as rç,o úmes the wall thickness (r), alrhough
for some thicknesses.
welded truss connections are given in
The factored resistances of some popular, standard,
covered: 90o T connections' K gap connections
Tables I to 12. Th¡ee connection shapes a¡e
subject to predominantly axial loads'
and K l0o7c overtuf "onn..tions, wiìh the members
tabulated for popular HSS
These three conneclion configurations have resistances
round-to-round members' The tables are
combinations. for square-to-square members and of
versions to facilitate design with either system
arso produced both in m.rric änd imperiar yield strength of
guaranteed minimum
units. The steel grade assumed in these tables has a
350MPaor50ksi,andcanbeeithercold-formedorcold-formed'stress-relieved'The represent the ones
section sizes shown no, an exhaustive list of atl available' but merely
^r.Further sizes available in canada are given in Refs' I and 6'
more coÍrmonly
in conjunction with either the
As noted previously, Tables I t9 12 are for use directly (Ref'
(Ref. 3) or the American Lnrp specification
canadia¡ limir states desi-sn specification (ASD) is
If Allowable
4). No additional resistan-ce (ô) factors n.à¿ b. added.by
Stress Design
dividing the connection facto¡ed
used, a connection allowable load can be
resistance by 1.5. The K connections are
for a specific web member angle (45") and a
whereas in practice a huge number of
particulü gap size tgi o, amount of overlap (O"), will enable the designer:
possible parameter .àäUinut¡ons is possible-
ïn t. tables, however'
(i) ro get a veñ' quick estimate of a connection factored resistance' even for a

slightiy differeni connection' and

resistance formulae are being performed
can use these- tables to select HSS members
For truss-type connections a structurur O.Jign.r

Blank sPaces in these tables indicate that either: of validity of the

(i) a particular combination of members is outside the range
design formulae available' or

width), or
(iii) the connection is not recommended (for example web member widths equal to
the chord member width, for square HSS connections).
Where such bfank spaces arise the combination of members may still be possible, and
recourse to the CISC Guide (Ref. l) is recommended for more detailed and definitive
guidance. In some tables, for example those for K gap connections, one should realize thæ
the specification of a particular parameter size (such as I = 30 mm) has severely restricæd
the number of possible connection combinations.

In Tables I to 12 most symbols are defined in the accompanying connection illustrations.

The subscript 0 refers to the chord (or "through") member, the subscript I refers to the web
member in a T connection or the compression web member in a K connection, and the
subscript 2 refers to the tension web member in a K connection. In overlapped connections
the subscript i is used to denote the overlepglng web member (usually the smaller or thinner
web member) and the subscript j is used to denote the web member which is overlgppgg[.

The factored connection resistances tabulated usually need to be reduced by a conection

factor,fln) or fln'), if the chord member is loaded in compression. where:

For Round HSS: f(n') = l+0.3n'-0.3n'2,and

For Square HSS: f(n) = 1.3 + [O. bo lb,ln , but not greater than 1.0.

For axial comprcssion load in the chord, n and n' will be negative numbers. n is the axial
force in the chord (the larger for either side of the connection) divided by the chord member
squash load (area times yield strength). n' is the additional axial force in a truss chord at a
panel point, other than that required to maintain equilibrium with web member forces (or the
"prestress force"), divided by the chord member squash load.


l. Packer, J.A.; and Henderson, J.E. 1992. Desisn euide for hollow structural section
connections. lst. ed., Canadian Institute of Steel Construction, Willowdale, Ontario,
2. S. 1996. Guide to the hollow structural section guides
Packer, J.A.; and Kitipornchai,
and codes. Proc. International Conference on Tubular Structures. Vancouver, 8.C.,
3. Canadian Standards Association. 1994. Limit states design of steel structures.
CAN/CSA-S 16. l-94, CSA, Rexdale, Ontario, Canada.
4. American Institute of Steel Construction. 1993. Load and resistance factor desisn
specification for structural steel buildines. AISC, Chicago, Illinois, U.S.A.
5. Canadian Standards Association. 1992. General requirements for rolled or welded
structural qualitv steel. CAN/CSA-G40.20-M92, CSA, Rexdale, Ontario, Canada.
6. Canadian Standards Association. 1992. Metric dimensions of structural steel shaoes
and hollow structural sections. CAN/CSA-G312.3-M92, CSA, Rexdale, Ontario,

M92, CSA, Rexdale, Ontario' Canada'


the "pre-engineered" connections presented herein

Financial support for the development of Natural Sciences and
has been provided by lpsco Inc., of_Regin", s"rlocnJwan' Canada, the
Engineering Resea¡ch
of Canada (NSERC)' and the Australian Institute of Steel


Table 1: T Connections Between Clrcular HSS Memäg,rc
steet Gnde: 35Ow (Accor(ting to cAll/csA G¿'O'n/402''Mg2)

Factor€d Connsslion Ræislancos (Nr') in kN forWeb wnlth (dt in mm) ol:


t68 219 2'r3 3,21 ¿t06 508 610

do (mm) ro(mn) 60 89 t1¡t

60 3.2 f¡.
60 3.8 t31
60 rl-B r&t ,r{
60 8.4 2ß 4i
æ 3.8 78 t4l

331 r
89 8.0 291 ¡149

114 ¡1,8 89 r50 z3
114 .6.4 1¡l8 250 3'n I

'll¡l 8.0 22. 375 558

4.9 66 96 132 241

r68 6.¡l 110 r60 21 402

t64 2& gl1 603

168 8.0
r68 9.5 27 3I3 4!i9 8:X¡

219 4.8 58 77 flg 167 zil

6..1 97 128 f66 278 121

219 8.0 145 192 2ß 417 dts

2r9 9.5 201 266 u 578 881

tt 2U 350 ¡153 760 1f60

273t 6-¡l 9t 112 138 2r3 311 43
168 206 319 ¿166 664
2î3 8.0 136

27.3 9.5 1Ãt æ3 286 43 6¡16 9ã)

97 58¡t 850 1210
27¡3 fi 219 376

r3 317 391 179 742 1080 t34{'

r84 268 375 521 6t8l
91 8.0 156

æ1 9.5 217 É5 371 5æ 72 952

336 ¡188 68tt 950 1zfi

91 11 285
p1 r3 3dt 128 62 8'n 1210 tÊ00

4{¡6 9.5 æ1 m 307 ¡106 5¡lO 69¡l 996

4Gt 5Ít5 711 913 r3to

¿l0o tt 268 302

¿t06 t3 g2 i 385 514 681 906 r160 1670

557 69Íl 957 r370

5{)8 It 2U 35t ¡139

361 47 s59 709 881 1irlo I r75o

5()8 13
¿113 4f¡¡l ñ2 726 969 r350 r8t0
6r0 r3

1. ll lh€io ¡s corflptæsivo þ¡d in ctÛd' munity Þy teduclion lacþ' lln'l

Fú d,l,tof, 30 35 40 ¿¡5 50

¡v,'-"i.i. trr.¡1, o.sas¡, o'3ogAr o'æ8ilr 0'273ù 0'266Ár

ïñete Ár ¡s lh€ web mgmbgr cross'ssclional arsa in rxn2'


-ì nc€s n , < -^^ | 2/t.oo
Conne 16.0(

! t't1
1'5ol e.ezs \ I
ro (in.)
r-so |
xô (in.)

.r88 l
I z.sts
ú.2 f
, 350 79.6 I

3. t4 13.7


r3 65.5

-f 50.
----r- i

¿.æ I
¡so I
r88 14 90.4
t3õ 136
ls: :-)-
-/50 71.5
36.9 188
I .313 .^ I 1o3
,o 57.1
I 37.5
,s.o\ ¡z\ =r
.375 -L---
6.625 L--
I 1n8 62.7
I e5.3
2E'u i
sg'91 --a -

8. rzs i .250
8. 625 i '313
45.1 172
.625' '37' 103
.oes i 'ß
20.5 25.2
I r05

lo.?5 I
I 37.8
t45 207

io.us \ -1919 I R23 64.3 273

ñIs ì gzs E
I 6s.2 85.0
1v t'- 947
.438 .--.1- 167 154
1og q r17
10-75 ß7.8
'r.s i 60.ó | ztt4
r0.75 -----j- 41.5 162
Lg-l 1, 51 5
215 283

110 !

ão . zo'o
.375 359
12.75 iq6 272
r40 224
12.75 ãr.z i --sj r21

\ 68.9

-tîiì lä
Iz:s 'æo ¿5.8
51.6 160
12',1 376
68.3 261
60.6 (11 203 309
r16 216

600 .500
76.9 86.7

?9.3 99.u +- _W
- ræ \
gog 407
.438 81.3 I

.500 93.0 )-
lactor rj:],^" N,'. i lim¡led to:
.5,o0 rioN bY ledt
rdion resiíañce,
2a.00 loed in ch
coñProssivo marrißumPermrßi'-"''- SO
in corn'ress'on' rt0 38.58 Ar
I Hiåru;.is
Ëoiäii,"t' * ^'
:,'": ;^','i*
äl;"'", x,lrii
ii'J,tii""äüi a'"a in
*:#;'1:** ""1'åo'øl

lO = lAÙloand0, =0o=45o)
steet Grade: ssòvi ¡nccoøing to cewës¡ G4o2o/40'21'M92)

(lV¡' or ¡t/21 in hN lor wob Wdltl (dr ¡n rm) ol:

Chold Factorod connêcüon Ræisances

æ1 ¡106 508 6ro

t14 r6a 219 273
ds (mm) ,o (mm) 60 8f)

60 3.2 124

50 3.8 r68

60 1.8 239 ,2

60 6.4 378

89 3.8 l¡t9 206

8!t 4.E æ8 2æ

89 6.¡l 3ã) ¡l¡11

89 8.0 ¿158 dÐ
114 ¿1.8 196 266 æ7
¡l{x¡ ¡196
111 6.4 æ7
114 8.0 ¡tf 9 5€8 699

¡1.8 1E2 252 306 &1


168 6.¿l 2æ 369 u7 615

168 8.0 385 fi7 615 8,15

663 g)4 1 t10

168 9.5 503
rqe 255 g)5 413 515
219 1.8
219 281 Sdt 19 s88 733

4st 586 793 988

219 8.0 379
¡t89 6¡t1 755 1t20 1270
219 9.5
11 eog 761 912 f280
¡tÍ¡6 581 7't9 864
273 6.¡l 2C2 36!)
¿t8!) 578 771 95:¡ rl5{)
273 8.0 3A7
735 980 1210 r46{¡
273 9.5 491 621
767 908 r2to 15oo I 800
n3 t1 606
tl(x) 1470 1810 21æ
)74 t3 7g 9æ
¿t98 767 941 tlg) 1300
æ1 LO
â9ß 7U lts5 r18{) 11æ 1630
æ1 9.5
766 898 11 8{t r4f{) 17gt 2000
321 11
t4A0 '1710 2080 2410
921 1080
94 13
f¡69 1180 r39() r6{X)
6¡19 751
406 9.5
908 r170 1420 1690 19¿10 7W
¡106 11 7AE
t400 r700 2010 2æO 27æ
¡loo t3 93¡l t080
ft45 rãx) 1430 168() 1920 2m 2no
508 11
ro r690 198() 2t) 2710 3270
508 13
1450 172î 20æ n70 itæ I æao i 37æ
610 r3

30 50
35 ¡10 45
Fot dt!\ ol:
¡¡i:-"1"i.ì'.Hl' o.34ltAt o'3o8ár 0'298Â! 0'273A1
area rn mm2'
whele A! is lhe web memÞet cross-sectional
¡s limitod as lolloìys: ¡rl, s t.o. where 7 telefs to lhe oveflapped membet
NOTE: The th¡Ckness ratio between weÞ members

to cerur
i , Eet Grade:
sivÜ 4ccord¡ng
(dr in inchBs) or

;l--,* I *-
N2') in kiPs lot
=z- connecton Resis þnc ts

tt.tt 16
i25 I to.zs f
I 8.1 I

2.373-, 3.50
(¡n.) ro (in.)

.125 29.7

I-j-o,, ',Ð*
2.375 I2n 53.7
.1 50 33.6

i15.6 ú.2
3.59 aq-1 h
) 3.50 2n
i s.o 313
14.1 59.7 73s
¿1.50 .188 112
66.8 90.5
4.50 .2æ
!19 fi1 68.8
43.0 138
6.625 101
62.9 s2.9
.2W 138
6.625 149 181
113 116
.375 92.9
6.625 5:1.2
ÁÀ.1 165
.188 32
8.625 81.5 97-8
63.3 178 ?2
8.625 110 132
2æ 2æ
8.625 112 170
110 359
.37s 2ú
177 ry 'r31 162
8.625 98.2
8¿.9 257
t6ß 65.6 211
10.75 110
tæl 173
.313 86.9 272
10.75 1¡lo
'rt0 405
.37s æ1
,,:T-- 273 337
173 490
10.75 I 137

209 21
,l 33o

212 2ß æ2
13 ;T
10.75 1'12 318 æ7
.313 2æ
12.75 451
1 ¿t1 391
375 zez | 327
173 ã 3æ 392
469 511
12.75 207 z¿s I
313 35S

,18 2ú
1215 reg I ¿¡fl6

16.æ 2e5 518
.¡¡38 314
3æ 519
210 213 43:l
379 735
.5æ 270 323 iô
16.00 213 508 849
.438 317 379 608 7æ
æ.æ ?51
45() 5tl
mm .500 3ú
24.æ .@ 1"":::#"'" is limiled to:
load in dìord'
ñutripry byr€-dudion ,esisrance. Nr"

I iiï: :"#'"':ili"r'*''-# ""'lä'
' "'i"i#ir;;" Ë,À.i::å,ii;ïå',"1i"1î*fr 50

*"ïï,1ÏË'-"'i".i' "ïi;: I ::"il;, ::":

['J:*, sa' -"li:å' ";1;;-';i;:1i::ïi:; follows:
:" re,ers ro rhe

rs timit€'d as
weo memUers
ratio b€lwe€n
NOTE The thickness

Tabte 5: K Gap Connections Between Clrcular HSS llemberc
(g = 30 mm and9, =02= *5o)
steet Grade: 350W (According to cAî't/csA G402U40-2','M92)

Chont Factorod Connec{¡on Ræbtancos (JVr' or JVr') h ld{ for Web WttÙt (dr ¡n mm) oft

do(rm) ,o (mm) 80 8Í) l1¡¡ t68 2t9 273 æ1 ¡f{r6 508 6lo

e0 3.2
60 3.8

60 a.8 ]1à-r ,r'fi¿

60 6.4
dt 3.8


4¡ 8.0
rlr a.8 142
114 6,4 2a2
tt¿l 8.0 365
168 ¡1.8 121 r60 193

r68 6.¡l 208 271 3íMl

r68 8.0 314 174 fi2

r68 9.5 1g s72 693

219 4.8 112 111 t72 2æ

219 6-¡l 'tfx 250 299 ,t{xi

219 E.O 293 378 152 612

2r9 9.5 & 521 624 w

219 1f s26 679 812 tlcx)

273 6.4 2æ 279 372 ¡¡60

273 8.O 358 4z,3 56¡l 698

273 9.5 ¿193 5€Ét TN 96t

273 tf 640 757 1010 125o

273 13 804 951 1270 1570

321 8.0 348 ,lO8 sgt 659

321 9.5 479 562 739 900

321 fl 621 728 95€ 1180

321 13 7fa 912 1200 1170

¡t06 9.5 97 706 656 rû20 1170

¿106 11 706 9fl 1110 r3f0 r510

¡106 13 881 tl¿l{l r380 t6¿to 1880

508 t1 890 1070 125() 1¡lilo 1710

50€ 't3 tt10 13ã) r5€o lTfo 2130

610 13 r3t0 r520 17æ 2050 21æ

CoRRECÎION FACTOFS: r. ll lhcrriS Corfþf€ssiv€ load in cfiord, munÞ¡y by tedt clk)n facrot /(¿')

. 2. For tho co|rÞræsion uæò ñËmb€f. lhe mâximum perffúned conneclion f€sjsta¡c6. ¡vr" is limiled to:

Fotdtl,1 oa: 30 3:t Q ¿¡5 l)

IVr'max. (kN): 0.3¡13Ár 0.308Ár 0.298/tr 0.273At 0.266Ár
whcrc A, is lho wcb tñambst ct6s-s€ctilnal a¡aa in mm2.

Cirlltar HSS lllembers
Connections BeWeen
Taþle 6: K Gap
Ï-,gi l : ¿;:'za\ o o' o' o o

-- ^!l:nl
Faclored Connection
Resislances (Nt' in kiDs for web Width
(dr in ¡nches) ol:
Chord ,l I .,z.ts | '16.00 zo.æ | z4.oo_

3.50 ¿.50 ' oszs

I 8.6¿:
do (¡n.) r. u", I 2's75
2.375 .125
2-373 .t88
476 .250

3.50 .r50

g .188

3.50 r

¿¡.50 r88 31.9

.250 54.¿t

--r I

6.625 .250 I
6.625 .313 zo.e i 93.1

6.625 .375 v: l!1

.l 7 52
25.1 32.3
8.625 188 I
250 43.6 56.2 67.3
i i
8.625 .313 6sJ 99!
tr9l i J
8.625 .375 90.8
1f9 I

24s I

83.8 r03
53.1 62.9
10.75 .250 157
a5¿ 1?7
10.75 .313
t31 175 216 t---r-----l
*zs I .os8
1/¡4 tzr
'I ! 228 282
x¿ |
tozs I .500
181 -l
ge.o rzt t¡18
12.7s i .grg !:: -^- I
i tA.ß 2U
.375 I
140 ros I 216 265
12.73 33t
12.75 500
reg I 159 r92 22L 261

.375 296 3:19

36 422
r 6.00 -438 310

16.00 .500
?o1 241 2A3 322 387
438 350 3S9
20.00 298 :
162 553
v2 388

20.00 500 293

21.00 .500
Þy reducrron laclot /(n') . .isis limited to
^.--^- À,

T.uro, 'u^,. lä 3e'5eÁr 38'584r

Iti';-:li';*,, 13.10^, cross'secrio¡r¿¡r area in in ''
i;.ii: lläi *"0

Table 7: T Connections Between Square HSS Membe¡s
steel Gnde: 350w (Aærding to cAìacsA æ0.20/4021'M92)

Chord Fado¡ed Connedbn ReÉsnncæ (IVt') in trN br Web Wül (ör h mm) ot:

óo (mm) to (mm) 5l 6¿ 76 89 1ù2 127 152 20Ít 29 305

5r 3.2

5l 3.E I
5t 4.8
64 3.2 60

6¡l 3.8 86
t.8 to

64 136

æ 239

76 32 39 70 a fl
76 3.8 56 101
76 4.8 87 r58
76 6.4 t54 2T'
dt 32 31 u
89 3.8 ¡15 d¡
89 ¡1.8 70 t(x,
89 6.4 124 176

1V2 3.2 27 35 49

1ú¿ 3.8 39 50 70

1V2 ¡¡-8 61 78 111

1Û2 6.4 r08 t38 r96

1t2 8.0 169 217 {7
10i2 9.5 213 312 411

127 ¡l-8 52 61 75 96 137

127 6.¿t 92 r08 132 r69 212

127 8.0 114 169 206 265 380

27 9.5 æ7 213 296 3EO 5.15

52 ¿t.6 47 sl 6t 72 08 t60

s2 6.4 ü¡ 9¡¡ 108 127 156 243

52 8.0 131 148 170 N 245 443

52 9.5 r86 212 24 287 3!i1 636

s2 t3 gì3 sn ¡133 5to €'¿4 fl30

æ3 6.4 75 81 88 97 10f, r39 197

M 8.0 117 127 139 152 170 219 æ8

zxt 9.5 r68 182 rgft 2r9 24 314 113

2qt r3 æ8 æ,1 354 389 1g 5s8 747

231 8.0 117 125 134 14a i 169 æ6 371

2g 9.5 r68 179 r92 zot | 213 æ5 s37

2g 13 298 318 3¡lt 368 432 525 9Í¡

305 9.5 r68 lT7 t88 I 212 213 3¡15 628

æ8 3r5 3g 376 (11 6r5 1120

305 r3

coRRECTtON FACTOR: il thefe is compressiv€ toad ¡n chofd, mullÞly by roduclron ledof /(n)
NOTE: The widlh to th¡ckness ralio lot wab members mul b€ 5 35

Table 8: T Connections Between Square HSS Members
steel Grade: 50w (According to cAN/csA G4o.2o/40.21-92)

Chord Facto¡ed Connection Res¡stances 1Nr') in tips for Web Width (ö, in inches) of:

òo {in ,o (in. 2.æ 2.50 I 3.OO 3.50 4.00 5.(þ 6.00 i a.oo I ro.oo r2.00
2.æ 125
2.æ .150
2.æ r88
2.9 .125 13.4 I

2.fi 150 19.4

2.9 r88 æ.4 ¡

2.æ .29 5:t.8

3.00 125 8-7 15.7

3.O0 r50 12.5 22.6

3.00 .188 19.6 35.5 L
3.OO .2n u.7 62.8
3.50 125 7.O 9.9
3-50 .'r50 r0.0 14.3

3.50 .188 15.7 i 22.4

3.50 .2æ zz.a i 39.6
¿1.00 125 6.1 7.8 11 .1

4.00 .1 50 8.7 11.3 16.0

4.æ 188 13.7 17.7 zs.t i

4.00 2æ 24.3 31.3 14.4 I

4.00 .313 38. r 49.1 69.6 ¡

4.00 .375 I U.7 70.4 ooo ¡

5.00 .r88 11.7 13.7 16.7 21.5 30.4

5.fi) .2æ 20.6 24.3 29.6 38.0 53.8
5.(x) .313 J<.J 38.1 46.¿ 59.5 84.3
5.00 .375 46.4' il.7 'i 66.6 85.4 121
6.æ r88 10.6 12.O | 13.7 16.1 rs.e | 3s.5
6.00 .2æ 18.7 21.1 21.3 28.5 34.7 62.8
6.00 .313 29.3 33.f 38.1 44.7 54.3 98.5
6.00 .375 42-1 47.6 54.7 64.2 ta.o I 141 I

6.00 .500 71.9 84.6 97.2 114 139 251

8.00 .2fi 16.8 18.2 19.9 21.9 za.s I 3r.3 4/ta I

8.00 .313 26.3 28.5 31.1 3¡1.3 38. r 19.1 eg.e I

8.00 .375 37.7 40.9 41.7 49-2 54.7 70.4 99.9

8.00 500 67.1 | 72.8 79.4 87.4 97.2 125 178
10.00 i za.s 28.0 30.0 32.3 38. t ¿a.q t 84.3
10-00 .375 37.7 40.2 43.1 cø.q I s.7 66.6 : 121
ro.æ I .500 67.1 71.5 76.6 82.5 i 97.2 118 215
re.æ I 375 37.7 39.8 42.1 47.6 il.7 I zs.o 141
rz.æ | .500 67.1 70.8 74.9 84.6 97.2 r39 251

coRREcrloN FAGToR: ll there is compressive load rn chord. muttiply by reducrron lactot t lnl
NOTE: The wrdth to lh¡ckness rat¡o lor web memòers must be s 35

Table 9: K Overlap Connections Between Square HSS ltrembers
(O, = 10O7", 0, = 02 = 45o and æme web members)
steel Grade: 350w (Aæo¡ding to cÂl,t/csA G/n.20/40.21-M92)

Wehs Fadorsd Conn€clk¡n Resistancs

(.¡Vr'orwz1 ¡n kN
ô,, ô, (mm) tr, å (rrn)

5t 3.2 r9t to
5t 3.8 2U



a¡ ¿1.8 367 I{OTES: (t) Thc witû to thaclorrss ró torircò mcnùen
64 6.4 508 must b€ 3 3aL Also. ça,lp .cÉrs¡on $rrùs rfitÉl
be CSA-S16.1 C¡ass t.(Êælb de*¡n) s€dþns.
76 3.2 276
(2) Tho w¡dû tô lhiJgleõs rat¡o tor tha chord
76 3.8 335 meßrba? must bc f 40,

76 1.8 ¡l30 (3) Thê w*tth ratio bttrvr.n wcb m€nrb€rs an l

chord rrü¡st be ¡O25.
76 6.¡l 593

89 32 310
89 3.8 386
89 4.8 4f¡¿l

89 6.¡l 677
102 3.2 362
102 3.8 439

102 4.8 560

t02 6.4 765
l02 8.0 984
102 9.5 121l)

127 4.8 685

127 6.¡l 93r
t27 8.0 ilfx)
127 9.5 t480
r52 4.8 8rl
ts2 6.¡l 1tfi)
152 8.0 r4m
152 9.5 r710
152 13 2370
2o3 6.4 t¿t4O

203 8.0 r83{)

203 9.5 2220

203 13 æ50
251 8.0 2250
254 9.5 2730
254 13 3730
305 9.5 3240
æ5 r3 4410

Tabte 10: K Overtap Connections Between square HSS Members
(O" = 10iOy", 0t = 0z = 45o and same web memberc)
steel Grade: 50w (According to àAN/CSA G40-20/40'21-92)

Webs Fadored Conneciþn Resislanc€

(IV'' or lfr') in kips
ö,,, ô, (in.) úr, t2 (¡n.)

2.æ .125 42.8 to

2.OO .150 52'5

2.OO .188 68.O

.150 6¿t.0
2.9 .188 42.3 NOTES: (1) The wicnh lo lhid('less ral¡o tor web mottlb€ts
mu$ be 3 35. Also, compr€ssion w€bs mul
2.æ .250 bo CSA-S16.1 Class 1 (plasüc d€sign) s€clions.
3.00 .125 61.9 (2) Thc width ro thi{:l(noss ratio fottà€ cùord
3.00 150 75.4 mombef musl b€ 3 ¡Í1.
(3) Thê widlh tafto b€twa€n w€b msmbers and
3.00 188 96.7
chord must b€ ¿ 025.
3.00 .2æ r3:]
3.5() .125 71.1

3.50 150 86.8

3.50 r88 11r

3.50 2fi 152

,1.00 .125 80.9

4.00 .r50 98.2

¡1.0O r88 125

4.OO 2æ 171

4.00 .3r3 2æ
,1.00 .375 271

5.(x) 188 15¡l

5.00 .2æ 20s

5.O0 .313 268

5.æ .375 328

6.00 .188 1fft

6.OO .zfi 217

6-(x) .313 316

6.00 .375 385

6.(x) .500 53i¡

8.OO .2fi 321

8.00 313 ¡ll 1

8.OO 375 500

8.00 .500 685

ro.(xl .313 506

ro.oo .375 61¡l

10.00 .500 838

12.00 .375 728

12.æ .500 9{X)

Tabte 1l: K Gap Connectlons Between Squarc HSS Members
mm,0t =02= 45o and egwl widû webs)
(g = 30
steel Gnde: 3501u (Aærding to cA¡'llcsA G¿t0.2u&.21'M92)

Chord . Faclo¡¡rt Comsctirn R€sbtattcæ (ivr' orJV21 in hN fotW€b W¡dû (ôt in rm) ot

ôo (rrn) to (rún) 5l {. 7E 80 1@, 1Zf t52 æ3 & 3CH'

51 32
6a 3.t¿

6¡l 38 .( b, öx
76 4.8 t89
89 32 95 119

ë, 3.8 125 r56

æ ¡t.8 175 219
1ül 3.2 89 Í1 13(¡
1ú¿ 3.8 117 1,16 171

1@, ¡t.8 16¡l æ5 215

1æ 6.¡t 251 313 375

ln 4.8 m 257 2!Xt

1tî 6.¡l 3ft6 3g¡l ¡149

1n E.O 471 551 6ãt

15¿ ¿1.8 268 335

r52 6.4 410 513

l5:t 8.0 575 719

15¿ 9.5 7g 944

2ût 6.4 sCt

2dt 8.O 717

zct 9.5 981

ãx, r3 1510

H 8.O 889

251 9.5 t170

29 t3 r80o

s5 9.5 r3Ílo

305 r3 æ50

coRRECnON FACTOR: lf üìcrc is comø¡ssivc bad in chotd, muniply by feducrioalacTo. l(n,

NOTE: th. widül lo Üickmss ralio lot wrþ rîcnù€rs must bo 3 35


I 3.oo

I 3.1)







r 6.00


Ì 10.m

r 12.00

12.00 .500
by redudion lactot f(n)
load in chord' mulliply
ll there is compressive must be 135
COBRECTION FACTOB: ratio lor web membeß
NOTE #'î;h;t;.|(ness


by Peter W. Marshall *

This paper discusses the following elements of the subject:
Characteristics of Tubular Connections
Failure Modes
Reserve Strengrth
Empirical Formulations
Design Charts
Summary and Conclusions

"Architecture' is defined as the art and science of designing and successfully executing
structures in accordance with aesthetic considerations and the laws of physics, as wellas
practical and material considerations. Where tubular structures are exposed for dramatic
etfect, it is often disappointing to see grand concepts fail in execution due to problems in
the structural connections of tubes. Such "failures" range from awkward ugly detailing, to
learning curve problems during fabrication, to excessive deflections or even collapse.
Such failures are unnecessary, as the art and science of welded tubular connections has
been codified in the AWS Structural Welding Code (Ref AWS D1.1-96).

A well engineered structure reguires that a number of factors be in reasonable balance.

Factors to be considered in relation to economics and risk in the design of welded tubular
structures and their connections include: (1) static strength, (2) fatigue resistance, (3)
fracture control, and (4) weldability. Static strengÊh considerations are so important that
they often dictate the very architecture and layout of the structure; certa¡nly they dominate
the design process, and are the focus of this paper. Many of the other factors also require
early attention in design, and arise again in setting up QC/QA programs during
construction; these are discussed further in sections of the Code dealing with materials,
welding technique, qualification and inspection.


Tubular members benefit from an efficient distribution of their material, particularly in
regard to beam bending or column buckling about multiple axes. However, their
resistance to concentrated radial loads are more problematic. For architecturally
exposed applications, the clean lines of a closed section are esthetically pleasing, and
minimize the amount of surface area for dirt, corrosion, or other fouling. Simple welded
tubular joints can extend these clean lines to include the structural connections.

@ystems Engineering, Kingwood, Texas (713) 358 &+15

Althouoh manv different schemes for stitfening tubular connections have been devised
?ffiääú. ïgdä1, inè simptest is to simply weldlhe branch member to the outside surface
üìÏã';ä; mãlnü iór ðr¡ord). Wherbihe main member ¡et3!y9ly ig c_ompac-t (D/t less
ttä 16 õi âol, añã tt\ã orancr¡ member thickness is limited to 50o/" or 60% of the main
rãrUð,, tn¡cfñ'ess. ano a prequalified weld detail is used, the connection will develop the
ilií';t"¡";äp*¡tv'of the ri-renioers joined. Where the foregoing (or conditions are not met,
joint can) is inserted
;.ä.-ùiù{ rãöe o¡ámeteitubês, a sn'ort length of heavier material
i"ìË ti.rälnoio to ióòally reinforce the connõction area. Here, the design.problem reduces
ió'il;i;ãiãcting the'right combination of thickness,,yield. instLe!"tgtf', and notch toughne.ss
ior yrãJoinl tân." rnL ãeta¡ted considerations involúed this design process are the
subject of this Paper.

Non-dimensional parameters for describing the geometry of..a tubular connection are
oiven in the folroñ¡ng'iisr get", èta, thetá andzeta déscribe the surface
öñ;ä¿¡ã iãü;;e ñró "et imþortánt thicknes.s parameters. Alpha shown) ¡-s-el
ón bad pattem (it was formerly used for span length in
ovalizino Darametéi, àependíng
beams lóáOeO via tee connections).

P is branch diameter/main diameter

4 is branch footprint lengrth/main diameter

0 is angle between branch and main member a¡<es

Ç is gap/main diameter (between batancing branches of a K-connection)

Y is main radius/thickness ratio

T is branch thicknesd main thickness

ln AWS Dl. 1, the term "T-, y-, and K-connection" is used geneTcally to.describe structural
connections or nooËr, ar'oprjol"ã to co-a¡<ial butt and laþ
joints., â l"ttgt gf tle alphabet
the node subássemblage looks like.
0-, V, K;ijlJus"Jto buóräå þicture of what

A number of unique failure modes are possible in tubular connections. ln addition to
must check
usual checks on rãlå-rä"és, prou¡oéd ior in rnost d.esign codes, the designer
f- tË'iãiô*¡ng ät-r;¿'mõä-e;, ¡ìsæo rogether with ihe relevant AWsDl. 1-96 code

Local failure (Punching shear)

General collaPse
Únzipping (prbgressive weld failure)
fr¡áiäriadp rob éms (f ractu re and de lam
i n ation) 2.42, C4.12.4.4, and 2.1.3
Fatigue 2.36.6

Local failure. AWS design criteria for this failure mode have traditionalfy be.e¡
formulated in terms of puncihinq shear. The main member acts as a rylindrical shell in
resisting the concentraied radiã line loags (l)l/mm¡ delivered to it at the branch member
footprin-t. Although the resulting localized stresses in the main member are quite-
coniplex, a simpli-fied but still qúite useful representation can be given in terms of
punching shear stress, vp:
acting vp =f6 r sin 0

where f¡ is the nominal stress at the end of the branch member, elthe¡ a"xid of bending,
which aib treated separE¡tely. The allowable punching shear stress is given in the code as
a function of main membdr yield strengrth and gamma ratio, as well as Qq, reflecting.
connection type, geometry, ãnd load pattgm.. lnteractions between branch a,xial and
bending loadéi aó úeil as bianch and ch'ord loads, are also covered.

Since 1gg2, the AWS code also íncludes tubular qonnection design criteria in total load
ultimate strôngth format, com.pat¡ble with an LRFD design code.formulation. This was
derived from, ãnd intended to be comparable to, the earlier punching shear criteria.

General collapse. ln addition to local failure of the main member in the vicinity of Fe
branch membdr, a more widespread mode of collapse may_occur, ê.g. general ovalizing
plastic failure in'the cylindrical'st¡el¡ of the main member. To a.large extent, this is now
bovered by strength criteria which are specialzedby connection type and load pattern.

For design purposes, tubular connections are classified according to their c.onfiguration
ff, Y, K,X, ätc.). For these "alphabet"
'Until connections, different design streng(t formulae are
appfêO lo each'different type. recently, the research, testing, and.analysis leading to
tÉése criteria dealt only viith connections tiaving their members in a single plane, as in a
roof truss or girder.

Many tubular space frames have bracing in multiple planes. For some loading conditions,
thesä ditferent planes interact. When they do, crite¡g for the "alpåabet' joints are.no
longer satisfactóry. ln AWS, an "ovalizing párameter" (alpha, Appendix L) may beused to
estímate the beneficial or deleterious'effect of various branch member loading
combinations on main member ovalizing. This reproduces the trend of increasingly
severe ovalizing in going trom K to Tl/ toX-connections, and has been shown to provide
useful guidancé in-a númber of mop .adyers.e planar.{e.9.. doublecross,-Marshall &
tuytiesigS2) and multi planar (e.g. hub, Paul ,1988) situations. However, for similarly
loáOeO members in adjäcent þlañes, e.g. paired KK connections in delta trusses,
Jâpanese data indicate ihat no'increase -iñ. iapacrty oygr_lhe coresponding uniplanar
coirnections should be taken (Makino 1984, Kurobane 1995).

The effeA of a short ioint can (less than 2.5 diameters) in reducing the ovalizing or
ðrustinõ caóaðity of cross conndctions is addressed in AWS section Z.qO¡.2(2\. Since
óvãlønó ¡s ieês éevere in K-connections, the rule of thumb_is !ha! the. joint can need.only
extend õ.ZS to 0.4 diameters beyond the branch member footprints to avoid a short-can
penalty. lntermediate behaviorwould apply to Tl/ connections.
A more exhaustive discussion would also consider the following modes of general
ôollápsã, in aããNòn to ovalizing: beam bending of the c..frord {in T+oñnection.tests),. bealn
;h¿äji; inã gáp of K-conneclions),.transverée. crippling of the main member sidewall,
and loial UucfÍinþ due to uneven load transfer (either brace or chord).

Unzipping or progressive failure. The initial elastic distribution of load transfer âcros:
tne we'lO ¡ñ a trinutãr connection is highly non-uniform, with the peak line load often bein¡
a factor of two higher than that indicated on the basis of nominal sections, 9.pomq!ry, ant
statics. Some loïal yielding is required for tubular connections to redistribute this ant
reãch their design caþacity.-lf the weld is a weak link in.the system, il T.y."ul?ip" befon
this redistributioln can hafpen. Criteria given in the AWS code are intended to preven
this unzipping, taking advâhtage of the higher reserue strength in weld allowable stresse:
than is the nõrm elsõwhere. Fbr mild steeltubes and overmatched E70 weld metal, welc
effective throats as small as70o/o of the branch member thickness are permitted.

Materials problems. Most fracture.control problems in tubular structures occur in the

welded tudular connections, or nodes. These require plastic deformation in order tc
reâch their design capacity. Fatigue and fracture problems for many different node
geometries are b-roughi into a common.focus. by use oJ the "hot spol" stress, as would_be
ñreasured by a straiñ guage, adjacent to and_perpendicular to the toe of the weld joininç
branch to máin membðr, ¡ñ tne worst region of localized plastic deformation.

Charpy impact testing is a method for qualitative assessment of materid toúghness. The
methbi1 häs been, añd continues to bé, a reasonable measure of fracture ,safety, wher
employed with a definitive program of nondestructive testing toeliminate weld area flaws
Tne AWS recommendations Ïor material selection (C2.42.2.2) and weld metal impacl
testing (C4. 12.4.4) are based on practices which have provided satisfactory fracture
experi"eÀce in offshóre structures loóated in moderate temperature environments, i.e-.40'
Oet-f (+SC) water and 1 -deg-F (-10C) air exposure. For environments which eithel
more dr lesó hostile, impact teðtingìempêratureé should be reconsidered, based on LASI
(lowest anticipated service temperature).

ln addition to weld metal toughness, consideration should be given to. controlling. the
properties of the heat affected ãone (HM). Although the heat cycle of welding s-ometimes
imjroves hot rolled base metals of low toughness., this.regiqn will more often have
failures in welded tubular connecti'ons
deþraded toughness properties. A.number of éarly-propagated
inv"olved fraciures wn¡in either initiated in or through the HAZ, often
obscuring the identification of other design deficiencies, e-.9. inadequate static strength.

Undemeath the branch member footprint, the main member is subjected to stresses in
the thru-thickness or short transverse direction. Where these stresses are tensile, due to
weld shrinkage or applied loading, delaminatiqn. ma.y occur -- either. by opening. up.pre-
existing lamin"ations,'dr by laminaitearing in which miôroscop¡.. itl"_lr"-!-ons link up.to give a
fracturé having a woody appearance,-.uêually r¡. .or_l-ear the HAZ. Th"qg problems are
addressed ¡n Ãpl ioint cãn'sieel specification-s 2H, 2W, and 2Y. Preexisting laminations
àre detected with'ultrasonic testirig. Microscopic inclusíons are prevented by restricting
sulfur to very low levels (<60 ppm)ãnd by inclusion shape control metallurgy. in the steel
making ladlé. As a practìcd rñättér, weldinents which sÛruive the weld shrinkage phase
usudlf perform satiðfactorily in ordinary seruice
Joint can steel specifications also seek to enhance weldability with limitations on carbon
ãná oinàr alloying elements, as expressed.by.carbon equivalent or Pcm formulae. Such
controls are increäsingly important'as residuâl elements accumulate in steel made from
scrap. ln AWS Appeñdix Xl, the preheat ¡equired to avoid HAZ cracking is related to
carb'on equívaleni,'base metal thi'ckness, hydrogen level (from welding consumables),
and degree of restraint.

Fatigue. This subject is discussed in the companion paper on tubular offshore structures
(Marshall 1996).

While the elastic behavior of tubutar joints is well predicted by shell theory and finite
element analysis, there is considerable reserve strength beyond theoretical yielding, due
to triaxiality, plasticity, large deflection effects, and load redistribution. Practical design
criteria make use of this reserve strength, placing considerable demands upon the notch
toughness of joint-can materials. Through joint classification (APl) or an ovalizing
parãmeter (AWS), they incorporate elements of general collapse as well as localfailure.
The resulting criteria may be compared agains-t the supporting data base of test resufts to
fenet out biãs and uncertainty as measures of structural reliability. Data for K, Tl/, and X
joints in compression show a bias on the safe side of 1.35 beyond the nominal safety
factor. Tension joints appearto show a larger bias of 2.85; however, this reduces to 2.05
for joints over O.12-in, and 1.22 over 0.5-in, suggesting a possible size effect for tests
which end in fracture.

For overload analysis or tubular space frame structures, we need not only the ultimate
strengrth, but also fhe load-deflection behavior. Early tests showed ultimate deflections of
O.ffi lo 0.07 chord diameters, giving a typical ductility of 0.10 diameters foi a brace with
weak joints at both ends. As more different types of jointg were tested, a wider variety of
load-defl ection behaviors emerged, making such generalizations tenuous.

Cyclic behavior raises additional considerations. One issue is whether the joint will
e*perience a ratcheting or progressive collapse failure, or will achieve stable behavior
with plasticity contain-ed at local hotshots, a process called "shakedown]' (ag ¡rl
shakedown ciuise). While tubular connections have withstood 60 to several hundred
repetitions of load in excess of their nominal capacity, a conservative analytical treatment
is to consider that the cumulative plastic deformation or energy absorption to failure
remains constant.

When tubular joints and members are incorporated into a space frame, the question
arises as to whether computed bending moments are primary (i.e. necessary for
structural stability, as in a sidesway portal situation, and must be designed for). or_
secondary (i.e. air unwanted side effect of deflection which may be safely ignored of
reduced). When proportional loading is imposed, with both axial load and bending
moment being maintained regardless of deflection, the joint simply fails then it reaches its
failure enveloþe. However, when moments are due to imposed lateral deflection, ald
then a,rial load ís imposed, the load path skirts along the failure envelope, shedding the
moment and sustaining further increases in a,rial load.

Another area of interaction between joint behavior and frame action is the influence of
brace bending/rotation on the strengrth of gap K-connections. lf rotation is prevented,
bending moménts develop which permit the gap region to transfer additional load. lf the
loads remain strictly axial, rotation occurs in the abèence of restraining moments, and a
lower joint capacity is found. These problems arise for circular tubes as well as box
conneôtions, ànd á recent trend has been to conduct joint-in-frame tests to achieve a
realistic balance between the two limiting conditions. Loads which maintain their original
direction (as in an inetastic finite element analysis), or worse yet follow the deflection (as
in testing arrangements with a two-hinge jáck), result in a plastic instability of the
compresõion braõe stub which gr.ossly undêrstates the actualjoint strengrth. Existing data
bases may need to be screened forthis problem.

co-mparison with the data base
from a data base ðtïn¡ñate
iläüärr"r"tvîlää'äî'ã6õrqiäi*Ïï:i jj,?ï"ï"Fjj*:?',?Ulî'"""äi'"lLiËjËë
;.=.äi; äiã¡üläinéi structurai rãríroéi", áher than the higher
index is simirar ,Jinä items iike werds or bo*s'
sarety marsins ,Jriär"ff;.äå#-h¡pi;Ëiú"Ë'ö;nõt¡on
in the.context of Atsc-LRFD' with a resistance
when the ultimate axial load are.used shear altowable
factor of 0.8, nWS ,riimate strength-is"nffiil?ÙyËq..lüidiiopunchiirg
H"ilî';o%'dã+g it;åää;ã boø livã load' LRFD falls
stress desisn fnsbi, tór structurds load' Alsc
side óí'nso ror structuiéö Ë"u¡ng ro*äiiôb;t'T-gldead
on the safe mem¡eré "appeãi tã naue made theappear
criteria for tension'and compress¡oî ov nws would to be
trade-ofr at 25o/oär,äo niJä;'îh';ihä [ãËit;t¡t;ñä g¡"en
conseryative for pã-ri of the population of structures.
"iãrü 4'2"/"
with slightly different load factors, a1984)'
using these resistance factors
ln canada, ðãíiËia:i¡än ätîut"w (Packer et al
difference ¡n overärlsafety factor ,"Jritr*-l*itñ¡n
Research,testing,andappliqati-onghavepr.oglgssedtothepgintwheretubular deal
are áËbrt as råriabre":,i'hé õth"i stnictuääèróñir frn¡"n desiqners To
connections oe unfamitiaritv'
with. one of theãrincipat bars to üåïã*ìËd'""d-üä;;;Jto in a Appendix to this papen
a'eviate this proolËå, i"ldühàñr nãu" been þresenæo
pî6ìËliää1n,ìíi" i¡¿" Wrng Joumal, March 1989.
of punching
of simpre direct werded tuburar connections is given in terms
The capaciw
shear ehicieñcY, Ev, where
allowable Punching shear süess

main member allowable tension srtress

a step-by-step procedure for applying the charts in practical truss
There is also

This paper has served as a very brief introduction to the gubject of designing welded
tubulär ðonnections, for circular hollow sections. More detail on the backgróund- and use
of AWS D1.1 in this area can be found in the autho/s book on the subject (Marshall,

AWS D1.1-96, StructuralWelding Code - Sfeef 1996 edition, American Welding Society,
Kurobane, Y. (1995) Comparison of AWS vs tntemational Criteria, ASCE Structures
Congress, Atlanta

Makino, Y. et a (1984) Ultimate capacity of tubular double-K joints, Proc 2nd 1 1W Conf on
Welding of Tubular Structures, Boston

Marshall, P. W. (1986) Design of þtemally_stiffened tubular joints, Proc llWlAlJ lntlGonf

on Safety Criteria in the Desþn of Tubular Structures, Tokyo
P. W. Marshall (1992) Design of Wetded Tubutar Connections: Basis and IJse of AWS D.
/. /, Elsevier Science Publishers, Amsterdam

Marshall, P.W. (1996) Otfshore Tubular Structures, Proc AWS lntl Conf on Tubular
Structures, Vancouver
Marshatl, P.W., and Luyties, W.H (1982), Allowable stresses for fatigue design, Proc lntl
Conf on Behaviour of Off-Shore Structures, BOSS-82 at MlT, McGraw Hill

Packer, J. A. et al, Canadian implementation of CIDECT Monograph 6, 11W Doc. XV-E-

Paul, J.C. (1988) The static strengrth of tubular multi planar double T-joints, 11W Doc. XV-


D. R. Shermant

Nine different types of simple connectiorìs rypically
used for l-shaped beams are examined for
use with HSS columns' The only failure limii
states identified wit¡ ttre Hss are punching
when a thick shear øb was used with a thin walled shear
HSS and shear adjacent to welds. The shear
tab also produced the largest wall distortion. However,
column tests show that this distortion
is not detrimental to the column strength as long as
trrå HSS is not classified as thin-walled.
Therefore, the economical shear tab can confioently
be used with HSS columns as long as a
simple punching shear criteria is met, and all of
tire other connections can be used without
concern for the HSS.

In ¡ecent years, the use of square and rectangular hollow
stn¡ctural sections (Hss) as columns
in building constnrction has become increasiigly popular
For connecting wide-flange beams,
desþers have adapted many of the standard ri-pl" ôonnections
typicatty rîsed with wide-flange
columns, even though liftle data is available r.g;ditg
their use *itt, Hés colum¡rs. However,
concerns are still raised regarding these connections.
The concerns are whether there is a limit
state in the HSS that could govern the connection
design or if local disrortion of the HSS wall
could reduce the column capacity.

This paper presents an overall discussion of nine

different fypes of simple framing
connections used with HSS columns. These are
listed below an¿ strown in Figure l.

shear tabs
double angles
tees with vertical fillet welds
tees with flare bevel groove welds
single angles with L shaped fillet weld
single angles with two vertical fillet welds
unstiffened seated connections
shear end plates

In all but the shear end plate, the connecting elements

are werded to the Hss column and bolred
to the web of the wide-flange beam, with tñe
exception or the seat angle where the flange
on the outstanding leg' For the shear end plare, bears
the plate-is welded to the beam web and bolted

l- university of wisconsin-Mir-waukee, Mirwaukee,

wr 5320r., usA






to the HSS column using blind expansion bolts (Ref. 1) or a flow-drill process
(Ref. 2, Ref- 3)
that produces a tapped hole which replaces a nut in blind connections'

There are two categories of weld positions on the HSS for the connections shown in Figure
The shear rab, through-plate and single angle with vertical fitlet welds have welds at the center
of the HSS face, *hil. the others have welds near the edges. Center welds will tend to distort
the wall of the HSS more than edge welds, excepr for the through-plate which
provides stiffening
of the wall.

The connections are classified as simple (negligible end moment in the beam-) Rotational
flexibility is provided by distortion of the connecting elements, particularly the column legs of
angles oi R"ng"r of teei. Mosr of rhe connecrions are standard shear connections
described for
use with wide-flange columns in the AISC Manual of Steel Construction (Ref. 4)' Two
exceptions are the through-plate, which is unique to hollow members, and the single
angle with
vertical fillet welds. \ilhen a single angle is welded to the flange of a wide-flange column, a
vertical weld at the heel would be in line with the web and rotational flexibility would be lost.
at the toe
Therefore, the standard welding pattern is an L-shaped weld with a vertical segment
and horizontal segment across rhe bottom. This permits distortion of the column
leg of the angle
so that the connection can be classified as simple. With an HSS column, however, flexibility
is provided by the HSS wall in a manner similar to the shear tab. Therefore, a single
connection with two vertical welds is considered-

The shear tab is a special connection, even with wide flange columns, due to restricted rotational
flexibility. Distortion musr come from local yielding of the tab combined with slippage and
bearing ãistortion of the bolts in their holes. Additional flexibility is provided
when the tab is
used wittr an HSS column, but some designers fear excessive distortion of the HSS
wall. Hence
through-plate are somerimes specified to reinforce the wall.

The paper begins with a discussion of the relative economics of the various types
of connections'
Ho*ever, thã primary focus of the paper is a discussion of the limit states considered in the
design of the connections. These were studied in a series of test programs involving 24

of sinple connecrion to HSS columns (Ref. 3). Potential limit states in the HSS are discussed
and eväluated. Strain measurements indicate the relative degree of distortion in the
HSS wall
verify that the connection producing the highest strain levels in compact
and data is presented to
HSS columns does not reduce the axial load capacity'


In order to put the discussion in a good perspective, information on the relative costs of the
connections ls desirable. Since a number of connection types were being studied
and tesæd at
the same time, an excellent opporn¡nify was presented to determine relative
costs. Relative costs
for 3 bolt connections are liired in Table I based on the least expensive (single angle with L
shaped fillet weld) being given a value of unity. The costs are for the connecting
material and
web in the
the labor to fabricate thi ionnecrion, including welding to the HSS or to the beam
case of the end plate. The cost of the end plate is somewhat uncertain since blind
bolting or

flowdrilling the holes are not routine operatioris at this time. The costs do not reflect shop
preparation of the beam or field erection.


SINGLE ANGLE, L-shaped Welds



The high cost of the Tee with the flare bevel weld is due to labor and consrmable electrodes
required for the multipass welding. Vertical fillet welds are much more economical. For a
simple shea¡ connection, there is no behavioral advantage for the flare bevel welds. In a
moment connection where horizontal tees are used between beam flanges and the column, flare
bevel welds provide a good transfer of the tension and compression forces ino the.side walls
of the HSS and, therefore, may be warranted.

It may also be noted in Table I that the through-plate connection is more than twice as expensive
as the shear tab. This is due to the labor involved in laying out and sloning the HSS to insert
the plate. In addition, there are interference problems if connections for perpendicular beams
are required. Consequently, considerable research has been conducæd to justify the use of
economical shear tabs.


The connection strength is governed by limit states associated with the bols ro the beam web,
connector material, welds and the HSS. Possible limit sates are listed in Table 2 with an
indication of which apply for various types of connection according the AISC Manual (Ref. a).
After applying the appropriate resistance factor, the lowest value govems the strength of the
connection, or the criteria can be used to establish a size limit so that a particular limit srate will
not control. The eccentricities are the result of the small distance berween the bola and welds
and do not imply that a significant end moment exists in rhe beam. Since rhe criteria for various
connections were developed from different research programs that may have been separated by
several years or decades, there are inconsistencies in the present state-of-the-art. For example,

weld eccentricities are evaluated by elastic vector analysis in some cases and by an inelastic
ultimate analysis in others.

Connection design is somewhat simplified since it is unlikely that beams would be coped at the
top flange. Therefore, the bolt edge distance limits in the connecting material can be met and
no bearing reductions are required for less than minimum edge distance.



Shear with no eccentricity X X X X
Shear by ultimateanalysis X X X

Boltbearing,L.,>1.5d X X X X X X X
Grossshearatyield X X X X X X X X
Netsectionshearfracture X X X X X X
Flexural yield x
Flexural rupture X
Blockshear X X X X X X

Shear with no eccentricity X X
Shear by vector analysis X X
Shear by ultimate analysis X X X X

Shearatweld X X X X X X X
Bolt bearing x
Punching Shear X X

A - shear øbs
B - through-plates
C - double angles
D - tee with vertical fillet welds
E - tee with flare bevel welds
F - single angle welded at toe and bonom
G - single angle welded at toe and heel
H - unstiffened seat
I - shear end plate
Table 2 indicates three limit states associated with the HSS column. Bolt bearing applies only
for the shear end plate which requires bolting to the HSS. When the connector is welded to the
HSS, shear in the wall adjacent to the weld may control the capacity of the weldment. One way

to consider this is to determine the maximum th¡oat dimeruion of the weld for which the weld
material will govern.

(throaÈ),**=a$ffi+* (1)

where F" is the ultimate strengltr of the material

For flrllet welds where the throat is 0.707 of the weld size and the nvo resisance factors are the
same according the AISC Specification (Ref. 5), the maximum effective"weld size is

aeff -
{2 Futnsst
--ËsS (2)
-i-' u(wE[,Dl

When the acu¡al weld size is less than w.6¡, the weld dictaæs the capacity while for larger welds,
the effective weld size controls.

The other limit state associated with the HSS in Table 2 is punching shear. This is a tearing
through the thickness of the HSS wall adjacent to the weld. This cao occur in shear tab and
single angle connections with vertical welds where tension in the material ¡ssulting from
eccentricity pulls directly at the upper part of the weld. It can be prevented by a simple criæria
that keeps the maximum pull as determined by the yield strength in a unit length of the
coonector material being less than the shear fracn¡re capacity througb the two secdons of the
HSS wall on either side of the weld or pair of welds.
F"tr*t tr"ø ( 2 (0 .6 Fut ) Ë""" (3)


t.* . L.z?ßs' +ss (4)


Punching shear will not occur in through-plate connections where the HSS wall is reinforced or
in other connections where the pull is transferred to a perpendicular element of the connector.

One limit state for the HSS that is not shown in Table 2 is that associated with a yield line
mechanism. In all the tests that were conducted with the beam simply supported at both ends,
there was never enough distortion of the face of the HSS to develop a yield line mechanism.
Therefore, the limit states associaæd with the HSS can be prevented from controlling by
determining a maximum effective weld size and by limiting the thickness of the projecting
connection material when it is directly welded to the HSS wall.

The experimental strengths reported in Ref. 3 generally match or exceed the strengths predicted
by the limit states criteria. Distortion due to gross yielding was usually observed at loads less
than the corresponding limit state, but this did not represent a loss of load capaciry in the
connection. Actual failure modes do not always match the theoretical critical limit stare.
However, the designs were well balanced so that several limit states have nearly the same

capacity, making it uncertain to clearly discern the failure mode in the tests. The conclusion is
tbat the AISC tables for connection strength (Ref. 4) can be conservatively used for HSS
columns provided that the weld does not exceed the effective weld size determined from the HSS
thickness and that the punching shear criteria is applied for shear tabs.

The economically attractive shear tab connection was tested to a greater extent than the others.
It was determined (Ref. 6) that the shear eccentricities were generally between the weld and bolt
line and less than those used in the AISC tables (Ref. 4), except for combinations of HSS with
very low width/thickness ratios and flexible beams. However, in the latter cases the
experimental eccentricities reasonably matched those used in the AISC Manual. Since a smaller
eccentricity leads to greater capacity in the bols and welds, it is conservative to use the AISC
Tables for shear tabs.



In order to determine the effect of the connection types on local distortion of the HSS columns
in the 24 comection tests, strain gages were mounted at the center of the wall one inch below
the connecting elemenr. The transverse strains measured or extrapolated at a common 50 kips
shear form the basis for comparison (Ref. 3).

Connecdons such as tabs and single angles that have load transfer through a weld at the center
of the HSS have the highest transverse strains. These will typically exceed yield even at service
Ioads. An exception to this is the through-plate that inherently reinforces the center of the wall
and the rransverse strains are negligible. Connections with welds near the sides of the HSS have
significanrly less transverse strain at the center of the wall. The end plate and seat angle
connections produce little transverse strain. Longer connections with five bolts produce less
transverse strain than 3 bolt connections and HSS with thinner walls or higher b/t tend to have
larger strains.

In order to address the question of whether

local distortion of the HSS has a detrimental
effect on the column capaciry, a series of tests
were conducted to compare the influence of
shear tab and through-plate connections. These
rypes of connections represent the extremes of
inducing transverse strain into the HSS wall. A
previous paper (Ref. 7) presented test results
leading to a conclusion that there was no
significant column strength reduction between
shear tab connections and through-plate
connections. However, this conclusion was
based on only four tests using HSS with a b/t
ratio of 16. Recently similar column tests were
conducted with b/t ratios of 29 and 40 (Ref. 3). FIG. 2 - COLIIMN TEST SETUP
This study with eight tests included symmetric

connectionr¡ on both sides of the HSS and unsymmetric connections on just one side. Both snug
and tight bolts were included in the originel four tests, but only snug tightened bolts were used
in the eight laær æsts.

The æst setup for all the column tests is shown in Figure 2. In these tests, the beams were
loaded to about 70% of the connection capacity and then a load was applied to the top of the
column until a buckling failure occurred in the lower portion.

Table 3 presents the column strengths as ratios of the maximr¡sr experimental load divided by
the yield load given by area times the satic yield strength from a tension coupon taken from the
. wall of the HSS. The nondimensional wall slenderness of the HSS is defined as


In the U.S., a thin-walled tube is defined as one having a less than 0.67.


blt d. CONNECTION Pr,/P,


15 1.39 Through-Plate, Tight 0.53

Shear Tab, Tight 0.51
Through-Plate, Snug 0.s0
Shear Tab, Snug 0.49

29 0.89 Through-Plate 0.63 0.42

Shear Tab 0.61 0.46

40 0.60 Through-Plate 0.58 0.42

Shear Tab 0.45 0.42
The tests connectron on two n unsymmetrrc tests
failed gradually in bending.

The conclusion from Table 3 is that shear tab connections used with HSS column rrat are not
thin-walled will develop essentially the same column snength as those where the wall is
reinforced with a through-plate. With thin-walled HSS, shear tabs may have a detrimental effect
on the axial column capacity. For connections on only one side of the HSS column, there is no
strength reduction for using shear tabs. It is safe to assume that these conclusion hold for other
types of simple connectioris that have smaller transverse strains.


The test programs have shown that the variety of simple framing connections typically used in

steel constn¡ction can confidently be used with HSS colum¡¡s
that are not classified as thin-
walled' The tabulated connections capacities and criteria for evaluating
.àr.""tions that appear
in the AISC Manual (Ref. a) can be applied when HSS columns
limit states that must be considere¿ are ã simple thickness criteria "r.
ui"d. The only addirional
for punching shear of the HSS
wall when shear t¿b connections are used anã a limit on maximum
effective weld size based on
the HSS thickness.

connections that involve welding at the cenrer of an un¡einforced

HSS wall will produce local
strains that exceed yield. However, the resulting wall distortions
are urr.ly noticeable and not
nearly as great as the distortions of the conn"cting elements.
The local distortion in the HSS
wall has negligible influence on the column capaci[ as long as
rhe HSS is not
walled' This applies to connections on one side oi the HSS or synmetric classified as thin-
on both sides.
careful consideration should be given to the type of connecrion specified
in a design, since rhe
connection cost can vary by a factor of 2t/2.


The connection and column tests programs were supported

by the steel rube Instirute of North
America and additional funds for the shear tau invästigarions
were provided by the Society of
Iron & steel Fabricators of wisconsin and Arsc. The HSS maærial
was provided by the
Tube company of America. Special thanks is due to
Yd9"9 Dave Mathews of Ace Iron &
steel company of Milwaukee who fabiicated the connection
material and provided the cost
estimates for fabrication. The work was conducted
over several years by four graduate students;
steve Herlasche, Joe Ales, ch¡is Haslam and Homyan Boloorchi.


1. Korol, R.M.; Ghobarah, A.; and Mourad, s. 1993. Blind Bolting

w_Shape Beams to
H-SScolumns. J. of gtpctural Eneineering AscE, ll9 (12):
) 3463-34g1.
: A New Manufacturing process, Flowdrill bv, utrecht Netherlands.
3. Sherman, D'R' 1995. sirnple Framing Connections
to HSS Columns. proc. Narional
$teel construction conference: 30-t to 30-16. American I^rilr;;s;"iä*rruction.
4. American Institute of Steel Constn¡ction 1994.
edition. LRFD Vol. 2: Chicago IL.
5. American Institute of Steel Construction 1993.
[or Strucrural Steel Buildings: Chicago IL.
6. Sherman, D. R.; and AIes, J. M. 1991. The Design
of Shear Tabs With Tubular
columns. Proc. Nationar steer construction conferãnce:
23-7 to 23-14. American
Institute of Steel Construcrion.
7. j_^Y t.1"d Sherman, D. R- Beam connections ro Recrangurar Tuburar
Columns. 19!9.
: 1-7 to l-22.


A. M. Yan VYingerde', J¡ A. Packer'


An overview of the two currently-available fatigue design methods is givèn. The preferred method
for fatigue design of connections between hollow stn¡ctural sections is the'hot qpot stress method,
rather than the classification method which appears ii mosi curent tru.*J .od; ;;
specifications. Recommendations for S**- Nr lines are given for aII welded HSS connections,
together with thickness colrection factors and references to parametic formulas for the
deærmination of stress concentration factors (SCFs), wherc available. The design philosophies are
supplemented by a practical design example, to show the use of the fatigue desìgn tools pìresented
in this paper.


A Cross sectional area of member considered.

F Axial force in member
M Bending moment in member
N, Number of cycles to failure.
S Elastic section modulus of member considered.
Sril* Hot spot stress range: SCF.o,
b External width of member considered.
h External height of member considered (for square sections: h - b).
r Corner radius of member considered (for square and rectangular sections only)
t tl/all thickness of member considered.
p Brace to chord width ratio - br/bo.
bt Width to wall thickness ratio of the chord: b/b.
e Angle berween brace(s) and chord
o, Nominal stress range (stess range according to beam rheory).
a Brace to chord wall thickness ratio : t/to.
Member 0: chord
I : brace
Loading a: axial stress
m: in-plane bending stess

'Department of Civil Engineering, University of Toronto,35 St. George St., Toronto, Onta¡io M5S lA4, Canada

Falisue is the process by which fluctuating loads cause local
stresses and strains which are
sufficient to induce localized micro tt*.turul changes resulting in the
development of cracks. ln
principle, all structures subject to variations in live lãad stress
should be checkèd for fatigue.

A few major differences exist with regard to static srength:

o Failure occurs slowly, by cracks growing with each load cycle. This
allows for inspection and
o Failure occurs at sress levels which a¡e often an order of magnitude lower
than the static
ultimate stess.
o The local sness disribution is of major importance, unlike static
behavior where the ductility
of the material allows major favorãble srress redisributions. Th"r"f"*-,h; il;;,
cannot use simplified skess disributions due to yielding as a basis
for fatigue design.
o l¡¡ a previous AwS announcement for the 7994 conference on fatigue of stuctures,
approximately 90vo of stn¡cn¡ral failures were claimed to be caused
by fatigue.

In spite of the frequent occulrences of fatigue failure, the amount of

fatigue-related design rules,
research and education is fairly limited. Existing HSS fatigue design rulei given by the IIW (Ref.
1), or in Eurocode 3 GC3) (Ref. 2) or the Aws Dl.t design
coãe (Ref. ã¡, .r" all based upon
research results for circular hollow sbr¡ctural sections
only.bther design spåciRcarions, such as
the general steel building design codes by the AISC (Ref. a)
and CsÀ fn"r. sl and the bridge
design codes by the NCHRP (Ref. 6) an¿ tt¡e MTo (Ref. 7),
only contain a general classification
method' Even the best existing fatigue design rules a¡e fairly cruãe
.o-p-rã to the overall level
of modern sbr¡ctural codes. These rules are based often on the nominal
sness approach, or contain
inconsistent hot spot sFess defînitions, inadequate thickness
correction and no (or primitive) SCF
formulas' As such, these codes no longer reflect the current knowledge
on the subject, which has
been extended by r€cent and ongoing tesearch programs, especially
within the European
community (e.g. Refs- 8,9,10). As a reiult, a more prJ.ir. hot qpot
established to rePlace the previous inaccurate nominal
,i.r, method can now be
stress and hot spot stress approaches for the
fatigue analysis of welded HSS connections.


This method simply uses the so-called nominal srress, which

is determined f¡om simple beam
theory (or: F/A * without taking the uneven stress distribution around the perimeter
weld into account- This stress is than plotted on the
of the
S,.- N, line of the class of the connecdon
considered' to arrive at the number of cycles to failure.
Its great advankge over the hot spot
method is its relative ease of use. It is most useful for
consrructional details ior which the fatigue
behavior does not vary considerabry with the actuar geometry
of the connection.

However, for connections made of hollow stn¡ctural sections,

with widely varying fatigue
behavior, either very many classes and rules have to be defined
or the rules must be based on the

connections in the group with the lowest fatigue resistance, leading to excessively conservative
results for other connections. The classification methods in both AWS (Ref. 3) and EC3 (Ref. 2)
grouP connections together, such as in the design example in this paper, which based upon the hot
spot stress method have a factor l0 difference in allowable stress for a certain number of cycles to
failure. In other cases, ttre classification method has been found to be unconservative (Ref. I l).

Hot Spot Stress Method

In the hot spot stress approach, the fatigue life is not directly related to the nominal stress, but
through the so-called hot spot sEess, which is the maximum geometrical stress occurring in the
connection wherc the cracks are usually initiated. The ratio between the hot spot süess and the
nominal stress which causes this hot spot stress is called the stress concentration factor (SCÐ. kl
the case of welded connections between hollow stn¡ctural sections, the hot spot sEess occurs at
the toe of the weld. k¡ principle, one Sru- Nr line can now be used for all t¡pes of connections,
since the SCF incorporatcs the differences in stress distribution around the perimeter of the weld.

A problem with this method is the determination of the SCF. In the past rwenty years, many
inærnational investigations have been carried out, leading to S¿.*- Nr lines, together with a
number of parametric formulas for determining the stress concentration factors (SCFÐ for various
qpes of connections. However, if parametric formulas do not exist, or the pammeters are outside
the range of validity of the formulas, expensive numerical analyses or measurements on
experiments have to be carried out. Also, the various design guides do not have the same
definition of the hot spot stress, some definitions yielding at least a factor of two difference with
others. It would not make a difference for the design if both SCFs and S,¡...- N¡lines in one design
guide were a factor of two lower than in another, but it can cause errors if the SCF is based on
formulas from one design guide line and the S*.r.- Nrline from another. Therefore, it is important
that S'¡.r.- Nrlines and SCF formulas come from the same source, or are verified with each other.


In order to be able to determine the effect of combined loadings, it is necessary to establish fixed
positions where the SCFs a¡e determined. For circular HSS these are the crown and saddle on the
chord and brace, whereas for rectangular HSS the stresses should be considered at five positions
A to E on the chord and brace (see Figure 1) (Ref. 8). kr order to exclude very local weld defects
in the case of experimental measurements, or numerical singularities in the case of Finite Element
analyses, the stress at the weld toe should be determined by extrapolating sEesses measured at a
given distance from the weld. As the stress increase is generally non-linear with respect to the
distance from the weld toe, a "quadratic extrapolation" is recommended. The procedure is
described in (Refs. 8,12).

The hot spot stress is thus defined as the extrapolated stress at the toe of the weld, along the
lines of meâsurement considered, (see Figure 1). In case the angle between brace and chord is
not 90", the brace is no longer symmetrical ourof-plane of the connection, and lines A to E will
have to be considered at both toe and heel. For K-connections with overlap, four more SCFs occur
in the braces in the overlap area (lines A and E in either brace), resulting in a total of 14 SCFs.

The total hot spot stress along a line of measurement is the summation of all nominal stresses in
all members of the connection multiplied by their respective sress concentration factors. h the
case of HSS T- and X-connections, loaded by member axial forces and in-plane bending
moments, the total hot spot stress can be determined at all lines of measurement of Figure 1 by

S,¡...: o.¡.SCF,, + o.r.SCF., + o'o.SCF',o + o.o.SCF.o (l )

As a consequence of using fixed positions for SCFs, the hot spot stresses found may underesti-
mate the true hot spot stresses in each member if the direction of the principal stresses deviates
from these lines, especially if the stress concentration is small. In that case, the stresses at other
positions, or in other directions or at the inside of the members, may be higher. Therefore, a
minimum value of 2.0 is specified for SCF., and SCF,, in the proposed design recommendations.

Circular HSS Rectangular or Square HSS

Figure 1. Fixed positions at which SCFs should be determined for HSS connections.


Basic S*"-N, line to be used for circular HSS

An eÍtensive'investigadon on fâtigue by the UK Departmênt of Energ! has been ca¡ried out
recently on the basis of 400 welded circular HSS connection test results (Ref. l0). The resulting
S^,.- N, line has been proposed for inclusion in the new DEn design guidelines and is also the
basis for the proposal in this paper. As the DEn line runs at a 1:3 slope until 10 million cycles and
then at a 1:5 slope until 100 million cycles, the general shape of the line is very similar to the EC3
S^,.- Nr lines. To enable future inclusion in EC3, this line has been translated into an EC3
classification of I 1'4, which means that a hot spot stress range of 114 MPa (16.4 ksi) is specified
for a fatigue life of two million cycles. This revised S.,.- N, line, which only differs from the
proposed DEn line in the high cycle region (> 5 million cycles), is also suggested for the AWS
Dl.l code (Ref. 8). The recommended S*..- N,line is shown in Figure 2.
Basic S*,. -N' line to be used for rectangular HSS
A statistical analysis of test daø based on welded square HSS connections, together with a
thickness correction, resulted in an EC3 classification of 90 (Refs. 8, I l). The slope of the S*,.- N,
line is l:3 until 5 million cycles. For higher numbers of cycles the line becomes horizontal for

constant amplitude loading (no fatigue damage). For variable amplitude loading, it runs at a slope
of l:5 until 100 million cycles as adopted in EC3 and then becomes horizontal (see Figure 2).

Correction factors for wall thickness

The basic S*-- N,lines (EC3 class 90/l 14) are for a wall thickness (t) of 16 mm only.
l. For 4 S t < 16 mm, a positive correction factor is applied to the basic S,*- Nr lines benveen
N¡1,000 and Nr5 million. This is because thin HSS connections will exhibit a longer fatigue
life than thicker HSS connections, for a particular hot spot stress rÍtnge. For N,larger than 5
million (variable amplinrde only) all lines are parallel to ttre basic lines in Figurc 2agan.
2. For t < 4 mm, the influence of the root might be governing, thercby reducing the fatigue
stength, so these thicknesses are outside the range of validity of the thickness correction.
3. For t > 16 mm, the correction factor of the new DEn guidelines is followed, since the rcsearch
program on square HSS connections (Ref. 12) did not include specimens wittr >l6mm.
The equations of the S**- Nr lines arc given in Refs. I and I l. However, the resulting S*-- N¡ lines
for various wall thicknesses, shown in Figure 2, are easier to use for the designer.

À 6'

-. ¡l(x) =
-.400 _a
vt a

lD (D
Ê c
Æ2ú Æ 2oo
6 tt,
.D 6
o c¡
ct, a/,
1(x) Ë
att U'
o o
! !

l0- l0
Numbet of Cìdes to Fallure t{, Nufnber ol qrdes to Failure Nt

Figure 2. Recommended S*-- Nr lines for welded circular and rectangular HSS connections, with
various wall thicknesses.

SCF Parametric formulas to be used

Formulas for circular HSS are given by Efthymiou (Ref. l3). The combination of these formulas
and the S^n.- Nr lines of Figure 2 for circular HSS has been verified by van Delft et al. (Ref .9).
For connections made of square HSS, SCF formulas are available for T- and X-connections and
given in Table l. By means of a tentative correction factor , they can also be used for non-90"
connections (Ref. l4):
Lines B,C,D : SCF is the lesser of : SCF¡ormutaeoo and l.2.SCF¡or,'.,urr.-sin2(O)
Lines A,E : SCF is the lesser of : SCF¡ormuraeoo and l.2.SCFr"*,ur.m".sin(O)

No data is available for rectangular hollow sb:uctural sections
with h*b. However, it is believed
that chords with 0'5sh/bs2 would not show considerable
differences in their scFs, so rhe
formulas given in Table I can be used for such connections
too. Formulas for square HSS K-
connections have been developed (ref. 15). These
formulas ¿¡re as yet not verified against test
results and further simplification is necessary since
the designer now has to use about 100
complicated equations for the anarysis of a singie K-connection.

Table I SCF formulas for 90. T- and X_connections

ular hollow structural sections
for lord.d
!Çft "onn..tionr b
Line B
Line C
SCF=(-0.0 1 I +0.085.p- o.ot z.gz¡.zy@
SCF:( 0.952-3.062.þ+2.382.þ2+0.0228.2ry).Zlt-0.øso+s.Btl.F-4.68s.þ4.r0.7s
Line D SCF=(-O.05 +0.332.þ-0.258.F\.2^y Q.o8+ t.062-þ+0.s27.F\.f 0.7 s
Lines A,E SCF=( 0. 3 90- 1 .05a. p+ I .t 1 5.þr.Z^y (-0. I s4+4.ss5.Þ-3.sor.p2¡
Minimum SCF: SCF,, > 2.0
Fillet welds: Lines A,E: SCF,,:1.4g.SCFr*h (if
F = 1.0, line A cannot have a fillet weld)
SCF fot loud"d
Line B SCF:( 0.1 43 -0.20a.þ+O.06 a.F\.2.y r@
Line C SCF:( 0.077-0.129.F+0.061.F2-O.OOO¡ .2^l).?.y(t.s65+r.874.p-r.028.þ2).ro.ts
Line D S CF:( 0.208 -0. 3 8 7 .þ +O.209.F\.Zl Q.e25 +2.3e8.p- ¡ 88 ¡ p2).
. .
r 0.75
Lines A,E S CF:( 0. 0 1 3+0. 69 3. m+ .8s8.þ -2. t @.F2)
þ -0.27 B. F2¡.2y Q.7 t
Minimum SCF: SCF., > 2.0
X-conn. ,p:1.0: Line C: SCF=0.65.SCF,*, and Line
D: scF:0.50.scFf*h
Fillet welds: Lines A,E: SCF.,:I.40.SCFr*r" (if
F = i.0, Iine A cannot have a f,rllet weld)
Line C
loads on trr"
"r,ori rscnffi
s cF:O. 725 Q1 0.2a8.F.a o. t s
Line D s cF: I .3 73 Q7 0.20s.F., o.za

4*g" of validiry:
0.35< Ê sl.0 12.5< 2y <25.0
1.0 < rltS4.0
0.25< ¡ <1.0
0.5< ho/bo<2.0 h,,õ,: 1.9
terms (excePt the
27 þrms for line c) and is no reflection of the accuracy or sensitiviry
of the formulas.


In a Vierendeel truss, a T-connection is loaded as shown in Figure 3. The loads shown are actually
load ranges. Chord is 200x200x8 mm, Brace is 100x100x4 mm. The corner radius is nvice ai
large as the wall thickness and a partial penemtion groove weld is used. Required fatigue life:2
million cycles.

J F:4O kN

M:l4kNmí. | M-r4kNm
Figure 3
Case I
Chord: 200x200x8 mm, Brace: l00xl00x4 mm -) F-0.5, Znl:ZS,r:0.5.
Ar:1495 mm2 and 50-362163 mm3 1A¡, So calculated from member dimensions, taking corner
radii into account).
Nominal sEess ranges: o¿¡-p/{¡: 26.75 MPa, ono:lvflSo- 38.66 MPa.
Determine the relevant SCFs for lines A to E using the SCF parametric formulas of Table l:
SCF"r A: t 4.33, SCF"r B: I 8.55, SCF"TC- I 6.56, SCRI D-8. I 4, SCF.oC={.95, SCFToD: I .62.
Note that the SCF of line E is equal to that of line A (same set of parametric formulas) and that
the SCFs due to bending moment in the chord are 0 for all lines except for lines C and D.
No axial forces on the chord or in-plane bending moments on the brace occur, so these SCFao and
SCF ¡ do not need to be determined. The total hot spot stress in lines A to E follows from Eq. l:
S,¡,.4 :,highest hot spot stress r¿rnge in the brace.
S,¡,.8 - MPa, highest hot spot stress range in the chord.
S,¡,.C : I 6.5 6.26.7 5.+ MPa
S,,,'D - 8.1 4.26.7 5+ MPa.
Brace: see Figure 2, rectangular sections, t:4 mm, S*,".: 384 MPa :> Nr= 300,000 cycles.
Chord: see Figure 2, rectangular sections, t-8 mm, S*,.:496 MPa:> Nr= 30,000 cycles.
Therefore, the fatigue life of the connection is, determined by chord failure, only 30,000 cycles.

Case 2
I-et's double the wall thickness of the chord: 200x200x16 mm and keep the same brace:
2t¡=12.5,t4.25,4r:1495 mm2 and 5o:607638 ñffi3, aar26.75 tvtpa anà omo-23.04 Mpa.
SCFaTA-6.19, SCRrB:2.84, SCF.TC-2.46, SCRID:7.54,SCF.oC-0.76, SCF,¡6D-1.28.
S,¡.4 :6. 1 9 -26.7 5 :l 66 MPa, S.-B :2.84 .26.7 5 -7 6 lvfPl a
S,¡*C :2.4ó.26.75ú.76.23.04:83 MPa, S,¡.D : lvpa.
The highest hot spot stress range in the brace, 166 MPa is less than 50Vo of the previous example,
even though the nominal stress range in the brace has not been changed. h the chord, the highest
hot spot stress range is 83 MPa,less than 20vo of the value in the firsr üy.
Brace: see Figure 2, rectangular sections, t:4 mm, S*,: 166:> Nr> 5,000,000 cycles (the fatigue
limit for constant amplitude loading).
Chord: see Figure 2,rectangular sections, t:16 rnrn, S,¡".: 83 Mpa -t Nf = 2,000,000 cycles.

Just doubling the wall thickness of the chord results in about 70 times longer
fatigue life or, for
the same fatigue life,4 times the load.

Case 3
I-et's instead double the wall thickness of the brace: l00xl00x8 mm and keep the chord
from case
I at200x200x8 mm. F:0.5, 2y25, r:r.00, Ar2779 mm2 and 5o:362163 mm3, o"r:r 4.39 Mpa
and o'o:33.66 MPa.
SCF"TA:14.33, ScRrB:31.2, ScR¡c:27.85, SCF"TD:l3.69,SCF'6C:1.0g, SCFT'D:1.91.
56,.4 :l :206 MPa, S¡,..8 : :449lvlt:a
S,¡..C: + MPa, S,¡..D:13.6g.14.3g +1.91.3g.66 :Z7l lvpa.
The highest hot spot stress range in the brace, 206 MPa, is about 50Vo of case purely
l, due to the
change in the nominal stress range in the brace. In the chord, the highest hot
spot stess range is
449lvPa, almost the same as case 1. I-ooking at Figure 2 for wall thi.k r.rr.s of g mm
for the
brace and the chord results in a fatigue life of 60O,000 cycles for the brace
and slightly over
40,000 for the chord, so there is hardly any improvement in iatigue life, compared
to case l.

Case 4
lnstead of just increasing the wall thickness, let's nry a chord
of l00x200xg mm (bo : 100 mm)
with a brace of l00xl00x4 mm. This chord has smaller cross sectional area (about T3va)
compared to the original chord of case l,whereas the brace has the same dimensions
as in case l.
Analyzing this geomerry: F:l .0,2yr2.5,t:0.50, Arl495 mm2 and so:214621
mm3, o^r:26.75
MPa and 0.o:65.23 MPa. The nominal stress in the chord is higher than in the
first geome¡ry, but
due to chord and brace having the same width, Iow scFs occur:.
SCF"¡A:1.85, sc&rB:0.27, sc&rc:I.38, scF"rD:0.68, SCFrec:1.19, SCFToD:1.95.
Since SCF.I has a minimum value of 2.0, SCF",:2.0 for lines A to E.
S*. A :2.0O.26.75:54 MPa, S,.,. B : Mpa
s*. c :2.00'26.75+ :l3l MPa, S*,. D : Mpa.
Brace: see Figure 2, rectangular sections, t:4 mm, S*,.:54:) Nr) 5,000,000
Chord: see Figure 2,rectangular sections, t:8 rnm, S*".: lgl Mpa:> Nr= l,OJó,000
This connection is almost OK (a factor of two in fatigue life means about 25vo
difference in stress
range), despite a smaller chord than in case l. The higher fabrication costs
for this connection
may well be justified by the improvement in fatigue strength.

Case 5
Staning from case 4, let us again double the wall thickness of the chord,
although such a large
increase seems hardly necessary here. Try a chord with 100x200x16
mm, 50:3361õg mm3, p:i;,
2t¡=6-25 (this is ourside the range of validity of the formulas), r:0.25,
omo:41.65 Mpa.
All SCRr are still 2.0, SCF,6C:0.88, SCF.6D:1.43.
S*,. A :2.00'26.75:54 MPa, S*.. B : Mpa
s^". c :2.m.26.75+ :90 Mpa, S*". D :2.0o.26.75+1.43.4L65 :l l3 Mpa.
Brace: see Figure 2, rectangular sections, t:4 mm, S*.,.: 54:) Nr) 5,000,000
Chord: see Figure 2, rectangular sections, t:16 mm, S*.,.: I l3 Mpa
No improvement over case 4.
-, Nr= I,000,000 cycles.

Conclusions from the design example
Compare cases and, 2: a doubling of the chord wall thickness leads to a 70 fold increase in
fatigue life. On the other hand in cases 4 and 5, a doubling of the chord wall thickness yielded no
improvement in fatigue life, the lower hot spot stress range being completely negated by the lower
S*,- Nr line due to the thickness effect. The designer has to strive for low stress concentration
o l.arge values of p (above 0.8) lead to a direct force transfer from brace to chord and hence
lower stress concentration factors. One can use rectangular sections to obtain favorable p
Very small values of p would also help, due to an even stiffrress disuibution around the brace.
For many connections this does not have a beneficial effect until P<0.3, which is outside the
range of validity of many parametic formulas.
Increasing the chord wall thickness causes lower nominal stresses in the chord. More
important are the lower values of 2T (yielding lower SCFs in the whole connection) and ¡
(lower SCFs in the chord). Increasing the chord wall thickness is often effective in raising the
fatigue strength of a connection. But if the SCF is already low, as in case 4, the SCFs remain
the same and the thickness effect will often negate the effect of lower stress ftmges.
o Increasing the brace wall thickness is generally less effective.
a The main aim of the designer is to obtain low SCFs: with SCFs of about 20 or more, as in
cases I and 3, the allowable nominal stress range of the connection will almost certainly be
too small for practical application.

It should be noted that the position of the S*.- N, line is dependent on the definition of the hot
spot str€ss, so it is important to use a specified combination of S*.- N, line and parametric
formulas rather than picking them from different sources. The use of a S*.- N line without
matching parametric formulas, as is currently the case in AttrS D1.1, is therefore not
The new S**- Nr lines, as presented in this paper, were determined in conjunction with the
parametric formulas recommended herein. The recommended design procedures are backed up
by extensive tests as well as numerical analyses and are expected to avoid the current excessive
over- or underestimation of the fatigue capacity. In addition, fabrication costs can be lowered
for smaller wall thicknesses yet still utilize their inherently higher fatigue strength.
Clever choices of the members will result in low SCFs, which is by far the most effective way
to increase the fatigue life of a connection.


The research was carried out with the financial support of CIDECT (Comité International pour le
Développement et l'Étude de la Constn¡ction Tubulaire) Programs 7K and 7P, the Natural
Sciences and Engineering Research Council of Canada and NATO (CRG No. 930101).


1. I¡ternational lnstitute of Welding, Subcommission XV-E. 1985. Recommended fatieue

design procedure for hollow section ioints, IfW doc. XV-582-85, IfW Annual Assembly,
Strasbourg, France.
2. European Committee for Standardization. 1992. Eurocode no. 3: Design of steel strucrures
- Part 1.1: General rules and rules for buildines, ENV 1993-1-l:1992 E, British Standards
lnstitution, London, UK.
American Welding Society. 1994. Structural Weldine Code /Steel, ANSVAWS Dl-1-94,
14th edition, Miami, USA.
4. American Institute of Steel Constn¡ction. 1993. Load and resistance factor desi8¡
specification for stn¡ctural steel buildinss, 2nd edition, AISC , Chicago, USA.
5 Ca¡¡adian Standards Association. 1994. Limit states desim of steel stn¡ctures, CAN/CSA-
Sl6.l -94, Rexdale, Canada.
6. National Cooperative Highway Research Program. 1993. Draft LRFD bridse design
specifications and commentary, NCHRP 12-33, Modjeski and Masters Inc., Consulting
Engineers, Harrisburg, USA.
7. Ministry of Transportation of Ontario. 1991. Ontario hiehwav bridee desisn code,
OHBDC-91-01, 3rd edition, Downsview, Canada.
8. \ü/ingerde, A.M. van; Packer, J.A.; and Wardenier, J. 1994. Cnteria for the fatigue
assessment of hollow structural section connections. Journal of Constructional Steel
Research,35: 7l-1 15.
9. Delft, D.R.V. van; Noordhoek, C.; and Da Re, M. L. 1987. The results of the European
fatigue tests on welded tubular joints compared with SCF formulae and design lines. Proc.
Steel In Marine Structures (SIMS '87), eds. C. Noordhoek, and C. de Back: 565-577,
Elsevier Applied Science Publishers Ltd.
10. Thorpe, T.W.; and Sharp, J.V. 1989. The fatigue performance of rubular ioints in
air and sea water. MaTSU, Harwell l-aboratory, Oxfordshire, UK.
11. V/ingerde, A.M. van; and Packer, J.A. 1994. Fatigue design of connections between
hollow structural sections. Proc. AWS-WIC lnternational Conference on Fatigue,
American Welding Society, Miami, USA.
t2. Wingerde, A.M. van. 1992. T\e fatigue behaviour of T- and X-joints made of square
hollow sections. Heron 37 (2): l-180.
r3. Efthymiou, M. 198S. Development of SCF formulae and generalised influence functions
for use in fatigue analysis. Proc. Offshore Tubular Joints Conference (OTJ '88), UEG
Offshore.Research, Englefield Green, UK (with subsequent colrections by Shell Co.).
t4. Wingerde, A.M. van; Packer, J.A.; Strauch, L.; Selvitella, B.; and Wardenier, J. 1996-
Fatigue behaviour of non-90" square hollow section X-connections. Proc. 7ù Intemational
Svmposium on Tubular Stn¡ctures. Balkema, Rotterdam, the Netherlands.
15. Wingerde, A.M. van; Packer, J.A.; and Wardenier, J. 1996. Determination of stress
concentration factors for K-connections between square hollow sections. Proc. 6ù ISOPE
Conference, International Society of Offshore and Polar Engineers, Golden, USA.

Yoshiaki Kurobane* and Koji Ogawaf t
topics like earthquake forces closely
Essentials of seismic design are outlined first referring to
differences in design methodology
related with the enrigv-"uiãoing capacity Jrtto"torãr and
between American *î¡up*,"i"ão¿Jpt*isioni
forbuilding.str.uctures' Then three main subjects

ä'.iiiffi :lô"-i
i:l';rråf ifjåT;fh "H'ïîH:xf:*n:lig,'r'";"å'iå"rl;l:i'f
,eiatioo t" ¿t"tiúl*quiremens for moment resisting frames; and 3'
secúon girder.o*".tiãorln
LessonJþamed from the Kobe earthquake' {


a-p$reg{arluitting stn¡ctures'
Many seismic design codes provide static seismic forces for simple
oii.g"t br¡ilding stnrctures, the dyqamic^
However, when strucü¡res ¿ue irregular than ordinary
analysis is the only *.ihod to deþãnine dl-sifr-seismic forces.
Two representative examples of t
statiô design forces are shown below.

The total lateral force due to earthquakes assumed to act at the

base of a building is called the base
(Ref. l) can be calculated by
shear. The base rtt"*ïá..";dúË 6 the Uniform Building Code
r- (1ì
Z = seismic zone factor
| = importance factor.
C = base shearcoefficient.
W = the total seismic dead load supported at the base'
Rw= ieduction to.ï* tã u".o*t roi äirr.renr energy absorbing capacities of various stn¡cn¡res I
in cyclic loading.
(called the Japanese building code
The Building Standard Law of Japan and its subsidiary laws
he¡eafter) specifies the base shear as

¡rt\ L
v = DrFesZ C W \z)
r' I
where I
þ- = reduction factor having a function similar to 114*'
í:.= äiriprìäã":,iãliã"tot ioïcounr for vertical stiffnëss inegularity and horizontal torsional
inegularitY. i
formulas follow
Editorial modifications of the original formula are made in Eq. 2 so that the two
the same format as much as possible.
The intensity and nature of ground motions assumed in these formulas are rePresentedby

x Professor, Faculty of Engineering, Kumamoto University, Kumamoto 860, Japan


Tabte I Comparison of Rn ÞllDr) Values for Special Moment Resisting Frames and Braced
Frames between UBC and Japanese Building Code Provisions




l,< 1890/tî 0.083


),,s 4giljí 0.25

4gyJl < 1.3 891/\,-F" 0.25

Japanese or 0.3<p3 0.7 3.3 0.3

ßilt+E s x 2.9 0.35
3.3 0.3

Sglt\tl < À<1981/r,T 0.3<ps 0.7 2.9

2.5 0.4

a) 4 = specified minimum yield stress of steel being used. MPa

NL = no limit
À = slenderness ratio
b ) Ê = rat" of lateral force resisted by bracings to the total design lateral force
When p = 0, frames concern the special moment resisting frame. *hen p> 0. frames
concern rhe dual system consisting of a SMRF plus bracings.

which is expressed as an acceleration response

spectrum of a single-degree-of-freedom elastic
1.2 system with a damping capacity of 5 Vo critical.
The values of ZC for Zone 4 (the zone of
1.0 highest seismic risk) calculated from the two
formulas are compared in Fig. I This figure
0.8 shows that the ground motions assumed in the
two codes roughly coincide.
N A great difference between these two codes
lies in values of R =llD. These values for
two typical buildiirg strructures, a moment
-s, resisting frame and a braced frame in steel,
o.2 -St ¿ue compared in Table l. As is evident in this
-S' figure, the Japanese building code is
0.0 recommending more conservative design than
012345 the UBC. The UBC. however. uses the
allowable stress design criteria to proportion
I seconds
structures. In addition it specifies design
Fig. I Specified Ground Acceleration Spectra for details to ensure sufficient ductility of the
Design (S,J'SrJo denote the site coefücienl structures. Therefore, R,, serves more
Soil becomes softer in this order.)

0.6 0.6

0.5 o.5

0.4 0.4

0.3 0.3

o.2 RANK I
0.1 o.1
bet 0.0 0.0
fol, 5 10 15 15
tnr N
I-e: Fig.Z D, Factor for Monent Resisting Fra¡¡es according to AU ßet 2)

Table 2 Rantrs of Structures Vùicd with their Ductilitr ßef.2)


Ma C
sta 3 0.75 0
6 r.5 0
she bnrtle 5 2.75 ",

8.4 3.9 2.4

Note:¿¡ The ductile failure shows a gradual load decay after reaching the peak load owing to plastic insability
wh like local buckling of plate elemenrs. The brittle failure shows a sudden loss of load-carrying capaciry at
the peak load. See Fig. (a) below. When ductile failure occurs, the energy absorbed in the decaying
branch of load deformation curves is taken into account for evaluating hysteretic damping capacity.
b) The both beam and column mechanisms form a panel mechanism sustaining plastic hinges either at
beam ends or at column ends. respectively. See Fig.(b) below. The girder to column connection should
be detailed to have a sufficient strength capable of developing plastic hinges either a¡ girder or column
c) The plastic deformation facror is defined as the ratio of õol6,on the fictitious perfectly elastic plastic load
deformation curve, which has the area under the load deformation curve OAB' equal to that under the
Th' actual load deformation curve OABC. The cumulative plastic deformation factor of a story under cyclic
loads a¡e calculated based on the plastic deformation factors of members and connections. The stn¡ctures
are classif¡ed in Ranks I. II, and III depending on their ductility. See Fig. (c) below.




lô"1 õe

.F (a) (c)

shear. The selecrion of R*. values
just a physical reducdon factor ro reduce the base
functions than mannerbased on rhe pasr experences'
have been made in. ä¿#äñ;;;äiã"¿¡"äg."enhl
criteria to
the contrar¡" uses the ultimate-strength design
The Japanese building code, on
-t'tr-e-ráauction far as sreel
in responses io"ground-motio-ns' so
structures. D, islinr?åä;"Iñ"-in considering the barance
.on..r,i"d. *äny .ur"r.tr,îiãl-uä or p, i, determiñed byäeformations of stn¡ctures
struc$res ¿itiipä"J;;;i;$; anã inelasticmoment res-isting frames is
of the energy input,".r,ä.*äïä¿iñ"
¡" ãi.*-pl.orproporäJ;;i¿ñi9tshow *uüiiiotv
dwine earthquakes Zi. ît"r.'f,g*"s titt uãfi"t of D' as functions of the
i'ustiated in Figs. 2, iö;d i6i fnef,
¿"r";ä*" ;ä;iv ãr.tt.ottures' and ínclude (a) moment
number of stories N;;äîË ì,iäilrc weak columns and suong beams'
frames with suong .fiä;"iä;;"ù;#;;ää õilñ;:iÑith 2' Naturally, D. (=l/R*')
The prastic ¿"ror,outiol'.ãp*i,v
or"*u*pìîriurir'i'-" ã"nneðin Tableáamases (namelv'-inelastic
becomes srearer ., itä Ëräi;'"*;i ,n* iãiit'. iãÃ"ion"r ones'
on fewer stories in the latter
deformations) tend,äT""à""*à "
by the story drift limitations'
according to the uBC are governed
Most of the buildings designed In consequence buildings
moie strin-gent than thos. i'"",iri¡ãl"i'"t.-u""iloinfcoaä.
which are a riure
il# *" ¿inerent cf¿e. iËn¿ ro have á-uãut
tt" same safety lever against
designed according; in R*. factors between the two'
earthquakes, in
"onrräiä;".e';;tãiff"r"n""r function of the
in inverse-prop^ortion to an-exponential
The frequency of earthquakes increases specifies sêrviceab'itv limit siate criteria for moderare
magnitude. Th. Jd;,"Ëî;ilffi;;4; f"."fi;ï;i;;; õ;úõä siruice period of each building'
earthquakes ,nu, ."'Ëïiä-.*ã'iã-õ3"u, th" Úriõ óo¿. spêcifies the serviceability
The a'owabre srress ãå'rign is used *ith ;;;.ri,";;. abou" are one example of
implicitly. rire story ãriüii*¡t"tions.menìioned
desisn crireria only bv requiring rhat structures remarn
oesigning struätures r9r rai.e i"iå"rã
thesã criteria. fiom the irouáuitity of such an occufrence'
nea¡rv elastic i, gr";öi"å.äîãøä -¿ ""¡rî,n^ul.
Re sp-onse s,o q',jårî ä;ffi ;; ñ"*:i; ;;ä;ñ;ä äåti uet v uv tne- gnlrgv di s s ipati on
ttår'¿r"adv been discussed tully in connectron
rendered uv in"l"rtiJääårirî"iiä,i*rr*;;;;'ririr aamages io buildings due to yielding during
with the R... factor. The both codes allow'
.uä,^r"pil;.ãiiupí. oii*.ror.i reading io loss of life is
severe earthquakes, à" .ã"¿i,ion rhat a

ilñ the designof structures against other

in. t"i;;;;;ry"
This is an essenrraä'"iä;;;ãr ih" subje*ofltnãplastic deformation capaciry
loads tike gravity *tã^il;;;'
will "r;;;-'";t-¿
discussed *oiã
be tfttifically in the following Sections'


than seismic
l-section girdersìn general' Loads other
Lattice girders afe sÛonger and lighter-than ñ;;es' Ho-üeuer' there exist trusses seriouslv
forces frequently gfîïråìirJä";;ö;i Ë.'-;o* frames damaged during the
affected by earthquakes. High-rise
rp""å;"ì"Ñdü;r:,h trussed structures are more difficult
recenr Kobe earthquake are oñe outstandüñ;öi;ïä;11¡^frussed
èarthquakes owing to. a greater difficult-v-
than special ,nom.r,tì.sisring rram.s to-ã"iign
however' rs
predicting faiture ,";ä;t:'ïËï"ii,o¿ f-
,f,. t?lt*. desigir-of hollow section trusses'
.*,înt-iä:lLlì:íJese stu¿ies include tests of several
now advancrng rapidty based on ,..rn, slabs or with
complere steel trussei(Refs. 4.5) as
well as compositt t*tttiãither with concrete proposed by
háve recently been
conirete-fired chords (Refs. o,zl. reni'a;'";ä¿ñ;ild.li;;; guidelines are now in progress ano
Architectural Insritute of Japan fRef. 8)..
îunt.r r.íitiõn of the
(Ref' 9)' The
be t.uläa in the nea¡ future
w'r be incruded i";;1ii'R"commendaìions tt¡at wilr

following part of this section first reviews the behavior of planar, triangulated, directly welded
sreel trusses under cyclic loads. Then, AII proposals for the seismic design of SHS lattice girders
will be discussed.

Behavior of Circular Tubular Trusses under Cyclic Loads

An example of load vs. deflection curves of tn¡sses under cyclic loads, extracted from a series of
tests of 15 complete tn¡sses (Ref. 5), is shown in Fig. 3. The tn¡ss was a Warren type cantilevered
tn¡ss under a cyclic shear load applied at the loading end. The tn¡ss first sustained out-of-plane
buckling in one of the braces, accompanying a sudden drop in load. The buckledbrace is indicated
by the B symbol. After this, the deflection increased at a nearly constant loa{ showing a stable
hysteretic curve, because the chords carried a pan of the shear load as beams. The small open dots
in the figure indicate formations of plastic hinges.

Ar this stage, the K-joints sustained a shell bending chord failure at positions denoted by the S
symbol. This was caused by a redistribution of loads in members. Axial forces in members framing
into K-joints were balanced before braces buckled. After a brace buckled, however, the axial force
in the brace was quickly lost. Then the K-joints ca¡ne under combined inplane bending and axial
Ioads and failed at a load lower than the capacity of the K-joint under balanced loads. This sequential
failure of the K-joint wz¡s confirmed by drawing a load path of the measured axial forces in the two
braces framing into the K-joint. An example of such load paths is schematically shown by the path
A in Fig.4.

The load path of the axial forces in the two braces first follows a 45 degree line because the two
braces make the same angle with the chord. Compare the load path A and the K-joint on the left
hand side in Fig. 3. The axial force in the compression brace suddenly increases while that in the




,' R(rad.l
-0.03 -0.0 0.03 0.04


Fig. 3 Load rs. Deflection Relationships for Truss

tension brace suddenly decreases as soon. as the other compression brace
immediately adjacent to
the tension brace buckles. As the.load path reaches the ultiriãte
capaciry polygon shown by dashed
lines, a shell bending.failure of the joint occurs. The ultimare-capacity polygon
for K-joints has
already been discussed by the authori (Ref. l0). when tne axi¡ forôe
in íi,å t.iíion brace decreases,
the K.-joint capacity decreases afo-ng the line. segmenlfreaain! ior
trre vJoini.ãf^"ìij, i" compression.
Another example of sequential failure is sheñ bending chõ¡d failu¡ã åi; Kj;i;ï?orro*in!
buckling of a chord, although the test results are nor ri¡ãrn ¡ere. The braces iãieiui
iustaine¿ out-of-plane
bending loads after the chord buckied laterally.. The K-joinr failed ar a load
irg"ii=r.-uv lower rhan
the capaciry of the K-joint under balanced ¡oa¿s because ãf comuined
The P symbol in Fig. 3 denotes punching shear cracks in the joint. The
C symbol denores crack
initiation and extension in the brace wdlJdong the wel¿ ioes.'rnese cracls úãiãiouna
the joints sustained significant shell bending a''enection
only after
walls, either due io shell bending
failure of the chord wãus or local bucklingäf tn. "iiuur ut^ð.
appeared to be ductile tensile cracks accoñrpanying shåarilip_planes fS.e
i,g. 5iì These cracks
cyclic loading, frequently having led to a conipleíe sõpatation äf a brace
ùur.iæî¿"å rapidly under
from a chord. The material
at hot-spots along the weld toes sustains.larle plasti.ìttàiniwell
The material's toushness deteriorates owing ío i.p""iLã .ãiã-*otting.
into. rrráin-t-¿ening range.
for quick developrñentt or.tuóLi,ã,iã"ghîo c¡ie¡on nái u".n identified
rtriiitroül¿ u. rhe reason
to predict initiation and
extension of ductile cracks at weld toes.

The dashed lines in Fig. 3 show the ¡esults of a point-hinge frame

analysis, in which the plastic
deformation over a Ie¡efh of a member is in-corpoíat.Jin täoial
and rorarional deformations of a
plastic.hinge. The elastic and inelastic deformationr ãr¡ái*r
a¡e also taken into accounr in the
llaJrsis' The figure shows that the analysis represents aótual behavior
observed in the test well.
Although the analysis s.ho¡v1 herewere
nlrrgrmLa i" iõ8ilhr method of point-hinge anatysis has
since been improved to include strain-haràenin_g effecis, *iìån
ã"¿e possiblË ió å""urit.lv reproduce
the post-buckiing behavior of tubular struts (ñ.ef. I I
In the tests of l5 trusses' some of the joints failed before members
buckled. An example of load
paths observed when K-joints failed beÏore buckJing
ir ill*tiãü üvì¡. p",¡, B in Fig.



xN ¿ ¡1N s. @

Fig"l Load Paths of Axial Forces in Two Braces Framing

into one K-Joints and ultimate
Capacity Pol-vgon for Joints

4. After the load pa¡h reached rhe ultimate capacity polygon, the a,rial load in the com-pression
brace remained constant while that in the tension brace increased further along one of the line
segmenrsofthepolygon. Inallthesejoints,thecapacitiesobservedintn¡sstestscoincidedaccurarely
wiìh those predìcted by the ultimate capacity formulas derived from the results of isolated joint
rests. Namèly, no significant effects due to different boundary conditions be¡veen actual jointsin
rrusses and iiolated joints (e.g. secondary bending moments and end restraint) were found. The
uidmate capaciry of the K-joint is governed , unless tensile fracmre occurs, e-itherby localized shell
bending deflection of the êhord wall or by local buckling of the compresfion brace in the reglon
adjacent to the joint. The
ultirr-rate capacity *N V
which are most accurately
predicted by the formulas
of Kurobane et al. (Refs.
12,13), can be represented
by the equation

t{u= min(f,¡fs, xlv¿)

rìL = the capacity of
the joint deter-
mined by chord
wall shell bend-
ing failure.
iYt = the caPacitY of
the Jornt cleter-
mined by brace
Fig. 5 Failure of K-Joints under Cyclic Loads Showing Cracks at \{eld Toes local buckling.

Proposed Design Criteria

Conclusions drawn from the t5 rn¡ss tests may be summarized as follows:
l. When trusses are under static loads like graviry or snow loads. existing capacity equations based
on isolated joinr rests are effective to predict the ultimate bebavior of joints in tn¡sses. There is
no need ro consider sequential failu¡es ofjoints following buckling of members. Trusses may be
desi_ened either to have stronger joints than members or vice versa However, appropriate values
for the resistance factor should be assumed with due considerarions on failure modes. K-joints
with an excessively small _eap size may sustain prematue tensile failures with insufflrcient ductiliry
(See Ref. l4). Trusses may fail more suddenly than the example shown in Fig. 3, when failures
are soverned by buckling ofslenderchords.
2. Two merhods are applicable to the seismic design of trusses. The first method is to desi-sn the
trusses to have suffrcient strengh so that both the joints and members resist the maximum possible
load effects. However, the crack growth along the weld toes under cyclic loads must be avoided.
One of strategies to prevent these cracks is to keep a reserve ofstrength forjoints so that chord
shell bendin_e or brace local buckiing failures do not occlu at the maximum seismic loads. It is
tentativelv proposed, from the 95Va confidence limit in verv low-cycle fatigue test results for T-
joints(SeeRef. 15),todesi,rnthejointstobe25Vc sfongerthanthemrximumloadeffects.
3. The second merhod of seismic design is to desi_en the trusses to have sufficient ductiliry so that
they w-ili not collapse under the most unusual external excitations. In this latter case, joints
should be designed againsr sequenrial failures includin-s tensile f¡actures. The rest results indicate
that such sequenúal failures couid be avoided. rvhen thejoin$ are 25Vo stxonger than the buckling

loads of members. In
Table3PlasticDeformationCapacit¡ofLstt¡ceGirdersandLimitingDimensions order to Perform the
III second design method,
I n
RANK however, the energY
absorbing caPacity of
DEFORMATION 5.00 tn¡sses have to be eval-
FACTOR uated based on buck-
x¿ll8 ll8>x¿lll4 x>1120
x line and post-buckling
i.s0.23+-t )'s0.23+2x hvíteretii behavior of
the total tíusses. The Point-
l{"", Length of the end segment divided by
= L/L: hinse frame analysis
length of lower chord
meihod is one of the
I : slenderness rario ofthe lower chord feasible waYs for this

ALI Desisn Guidelines

definite crireria for the anarysis and design of
The recent Au guiderines (Ref. propose design method for
which are applicabþärhJ ñ;r d;;igi úñä;;ntioned
above lttre sirengttr
i"rtors for truss members *ere derived on the
earrhquake loads). ñrË;ã-;ir".t"in" r.nÀtt joints are
tt rtt"ngtr, design method requires that
assurnption tnat¡oints åËf,;;ä "Ë-riäry.-îñ;; in the
25 va sûonger rhan ,hä;ñ-uãloui'"nä,i:
rÑ effãctive lãngth factors-can be used

sEength design.

in¿ir"te thai rattice girders under anti-
in soecial moment ;:üJn!Ë"*Ë;. Þ;rï,;;T;;ruji, ã1ial aefolmarions of chords concenrraring at
svrnmetrical bending roads usua'). sus,ui;';Ëstic girders' Further'
óf ine chor¿s goverm the capacity of th-e
their end porrions,..il iîî;r*"IîJ.ffiË .tr srippüéd by floor systems. It is
the upper chords oruuiiv do not buckre "ïiü;"-ä;*iiing "n ttrat ttrê loweichord buckles in the
possibre ro assume ,$'i.ï"äià,î;Ë;;;ã.
ãiul"rti.e firder
end (see Fig' 6). The
end segmenr ar one JnJ,iril. the rower 9I"ø viãros in tõnsion ar the orher
;itó*er chords are resrrained by concrete slabs'
duct'iry is further i";;;;ã;nen tarer¿ u',*iJrif of lattice girders can be g1l*
When this failure *;ã;-it tn" ¿.îotmätion capacity 1:
"t;umeq, in Table 3 conespìnd to those for brittle stnrctures ln
Table 3. The pf"rti.-ã"fãr.ution factors
load decay after local buckling starts to occur at
Table 2, because tuúuøt it*rs show a quictc
flexurally buckled sections'
when the ductility design is performed using the
ät";;.qtitements Te: Both thé upper th:It T9 Ïltt"t 1.
il;;Ñ;ki.lä. Âil tte joints are iuong enough; and.3'
t u'. an *,
rensire ihe lo*er ciiãtot
iîl'if, i,îË;; i i i ;r:' t.'j:ll,
b;.kli;ti;ad. The last requirement::: : J:,'jimp'o'::
l,"f ll
T ãiu*.,rt to thickness ratio ón chords. Less
lh ri¡"Ëã"t design-criteria for Iess ductile latdce girders are
now under deliberation.
(emax - ey) I€
>tag L" When the girders are designed t-o þe. stron-ger- than the
columns, tñe strength desig'n metho-d is applicabl.t
t: ll!
lattice girders. In this latter case' D, factors sho'*'n ln I aÞle

fÁã2"ã"¿ Fig.2 can be used becãuse plastic hinges form

Fig. 6 Plastic Rotations at Girder Ends inìft. .ofumns-- The latter design is more popular than the

ductility design, especially in low-rise large-span buildings. The UBC also recommends the latter
design method.

The dynamic analysis is the only method to proportion more comp.lextruss structures. The API
recommendationJ(Ref. l6) a¡e proposing dynamic analyses for the design of offshore n¡bula¡
-l stn¡crures. The point-hinge frame analysis can be combined with the time history respons€ unqly{:
for this purpose. Emphasis is placed on that joints should be designed to be strong enough to fulfill
the suength or ductility requirements mentioned previously.



More than 90 per cent of steel multistory building frames in

Japan use box-section colurnns due to their excellent cross-
sectional prop€rties to resist biaxial bending loads. Cold-
formed sections are cheapest and used most frequently. These
sections are classified in two types by manufacturing process.
When plate thickness is greater than about 20 mm, plate is
bent at 4 corners and welded longitudinally by submerged
or gÍìs metal arc welding. Lighter sections a¡e manufactured
by continuous cold rolling and electric resistance welding.
Hereafter, the former type is called the pressed section, while
the latter is called the rolled section. Cold-rolled RHS
sections experience cold working in both the longitudinal
and transverse directions, resulting in final material properties
with a high yield stress and high yield to ultimate tensile
strength ratio (of about 90 7o). Pressed sections experience
cold working only in the corner regions.

The Japanese building code requires that girder to column

connections in special moment resisting frames are strong
enough to wa¡rant formations of plastic hinges at the girder
or column ends. The most rypical details of girder to column
connections designed to fulfill this requirement is shown in
Fig.7. These connections have through continuity plates
(called the through diaphragm hereafter) at the positions of
grrder flanges. Recently these connections are fabricated by
welding robots, resulting in a significant reduction in
fabrication cost. However, the amount of weld deposits is
considerably large.

In 1987 a test performed at the Universiry of Tokyo revealed

that pressed RHS sections with artificial notches on the
corners sustained brinle fracture under bending load reversals
of a few cycles. Later tests of RHS columns with the through
diaphragms showed that brittle fracture could start from
ductile thumb nail cracks that developed at the weld toes on
l6ml6ml6ml6ml the corners of columns during as early as the first or second
half cycles of load reversals (Refs. 17, l8). Material deterio-
Fig. E Example of Frames raúon due to cold working and high heat input during welding

developments and-grow$,of cr19!¡' ^Disputes
were idenrified as lwo main causes lo1-?rly resisting frames'
about the suitability;'f ;Já:iorrnãã
nH9 ,J.rion, ai columns in-special momenr
that discuss the ductiliry
Jn; ãithãìôt"*ortt'y
The fottowing inu..tigaãä,i(iùï;. 8, rgl is
;ñ;;ilË*dng írames with RHS columns'

p-¿aa"neáts *"t" taken into accounr bv

columns and r_secrio";;j;: ù"ìå,íJ"o;ü;;;ry;ã of connection panels were also
using a ooint_hinge ;ålË;il1'rrïã.'îrËl*,iå-rn"tã"ror*"tions **Y;¿i:i:ï"1';,ff ? iffi ::
ããoä¿,i"¿. on. ;r,lÍidpiÈ i#i;ä;liffi;J;
rh" Ëis I.
STORIES 15 STORIES All the girder to column
connections are designed as
shown in Fig. 7. The
frames consist of three tYPes
as follows:
t- l- l. Type O frames Propor-
t- J-
donðd by the Plastic design
-a .L
o o
uJ E method in acco¡dance with
I I the Japanese building code
0.01 0.02 0.03 a D., factor of
0 0.01 0.02 0.03 0 0.01 0.o2 0.03 0
F¡(rad) F¡ (rad) B¡(rad) 0.25. Member ilimensions
are determined just to fulftll
strength requirements
reeardless of the dimen-
F l- siõnal standard' The drift
l- I
-o J-
Iul o Iimitations are i gnored-
E tr
Z.TyWD frames in which
J- I
the bending strength of
200 20 sirders are increase arc JT
íim"s; the shea¡ strength of
connection Panels are
increased to 1.2 times, the
Vvbv.rrt strengths of members and
t- l- t- connection Panels, resPec-
J- .L
o o o tively, of TYPe O frames.
tr ú
t --.i----i----!-'- J. TvpeD frames are designed
tó'see the behavior of
20 frames when the direction
r 10 20 ,r 1o 20 n1o of horizontal ground
motions makes an angle of
45 degrees with the girders

l- i -ietnoer l-- l- .i IGIRDEF (oblique earthquakes).

ro J.
o l¡
-"i-" i -'
3. Tvbe R frames designed
accõtding to the allowable
u, ---;----i.----:---- UJ
)- f stress design method with a
_-:----:-------- +---.i----i---
D-factor of 0.2 as sPecified
0n1020 in' the Japanese building
10200 1
10 20
code. Members are ProPor-
tioned following the normal
TYPE D FRAMES TYPE R FRAMES design practice. The drift
limitations a¡e considered.

Fig. 9 Responses of Example Frames to Strong Earthquakes

The ground motions used
forthe analysis are the 1940
El Cenuo NS component,
the 1952 Taft EW compo-
nent and artificial ground
motions. Thetwoobserved
ground motions are scaled
to conform with the desþ
specra shown inFig. I (the
maximum velocity of
ground motions is equal to
50 cm/sec). The artificial
ground motions show a
smooth velocity response
sPectn¡m curve at 120 cml
sec over the period range
greater than 0.6 second for
2per cent damping.
Fig. 10 Cracks initiated at a root of the cope hole ran acnoss the lower
The results of analyses are
flange in a brittle Eânner.
shown in Fig. 9. The height
of stories from the base is
shown as the ratio to the
total height of frames. The 3 graphs on the first row show the story drifts R, for the 3 types of
fra¡nes. Story drifu of Types O and D frames lookthe same. Story drifu of Tyþ R frames exceed
1/100 slightly.

The graphs in the second to fourth rows plot the cumulative plastic deformation factor at each
story, which is the sum of plastic defonnation factors in the positive and negative directions, sustained
during the earthquakes- The response plastic deformation factor defined in the above is denoted by
4. As seen in these graphs, plastic deformations occur mainiy in the connection panels, with the
maximum 4 values being less than 20, while plastification of columns and girders is less. This
statement is applicabie even to Type D frames that have the suengthened girders and connections.
Plastic deformations in the columns concenrate only on the lower ends in the first story, with the 4
values being less than 10 in Type D frame and less than 6 in the other frames. These values of 4 can
easily be accommodated with by Rank I columns specified in Table 2. Plastic deformations in the
girders ¿ìre greater than those in columns. This fact, combined with extensive yieiding in the con-
nection panels, helps avoidin-s concentrations of damages to the columns on a few limited stories.


The Kobe earthquake recorded ground motions significantly stronger than those assumed in the
design spectra shown in Fig. 1. One of the most unusual damage patterns found in steel multistory
building frames after the 1995 Kobe earthquake is a tensile fracture of lower flanges of girders.
Cracks started from roots of cope holes (See Fig. 7), at toes of girder flange to diaphragm welds or
at notches formed by welding steel run off tabs on the both sides of each girder flange. These
cracks frequently changed to low-energy fast failures as they grow (See Fi-e. 10). Although rensile
fracrure at the welds between RHS columns and through diaphragms were found in manlr low-rise
buildings, lack of penetration existed in all of these cases. No tensile failure rhat was expected ro
occur at the weld toes on the corners of cold-formed pressed RHS columns was wirnessed. as fa¡ as
sound full penetration welding was performed.

The damage parrern described above, however, is found reasonable from the numerical analysis
results deõri'UeA in rhe previous section. Bending moments at the column ends are bounded by
yielding of panel zones in the connections unless panel zones-are reinforced. The increased yield
rtt"rs oirn"i.rials in cold-rolled RHS sections also helped avoiding tensile failures in these columns,
because more energy was dissipated in girders. Since girders are frequenlly weaker than columns,
details causing stress concentrations at the girder ends should be avoided.


l. Uniþrm Building Code.199l.International Conference of Building Officials- Whinier, Ca.

2. Il¡i¡nate Strength and Deþrnation Capaciry of Buildings in Seismic Design.1990. Architecn¡ral Institute
of Japan, Toþo, Japan (in JaPanese).
3. ReconnaitsoÃr" Ràport on Damage to Steel Building Structures Observed Jrom the 1995 Hyogoken'
Nanbu Earthquake. 1995. Steel Committee of Kinki Branch, Architecrural Institute of Japan, Osaka,
4. Inoue, K., Yamamoto, K., Matsumoto, K., and Wakiyama, K. 1987. Nonlinear analysis to tubular truss
tower subjected cyclic horizontal force. Safet-,r Criteria in Design ofTubular Stntctures. eds. Y. Kurobane,
and Y. Makino: 47-56: Kumamoto Univ. , Kumamoto, Japan.
5. Kurobane, Y., and Ogawa, K. 1993. New criteria for ductility design of joints based on complete CHS
rn¡ss tesrs. Tubular Structures V. eds. M.G. Coutie, and G. Davies: 57G581: E & FN Spon, London, UK.
6. Kurobane, Y., Ogawa, K., and Sakae, K. 1994. Behavior and design of composite lattice girders with
concrere slabs. Tubular Structures V/. eds. P. Grundy, A. Holgate, and B. Wang: 69'76: A.A. Balkema,
Ronerdam, The Netherlands.
7. Matsui, C., and Kawano, A. 1988. Strength and behavior of concrete filled tubula¡ trusses. Proc. Int.
Speciatry Conf. on Concrete Filled Steel Tubular Structures,.4SCCS: I l3-l19.
8. Recent Research Developments in the Behavior and Design of Tubular Structures. 1994. Architectural
Institute ofJapan, Tokyo, Japan. (in Japanese).
9. Recommendations for the Design and Fabrication of Tubular Structures in Steel. 1990. Architectural
Instirute ofJapan, Tokyo, Japan. (in Japanese).
10. Kurobane, K., Ogawa, K., and Ochi, K. 1989. Recent research developments in the design of rubular
structures. J. Constuct. Steel Researcå l3: 169-188.
I l. Ogawa, K., Kurobane, Y., and Maeda, T. t 995. Post-buckling behavior of circular tubular struts. J.
Struct. Construct. Eng., AH 475:137-144 (in Japanese).
12. Kurobane, Y, Makino, Y., and Ochi, K. 1984. Ultimate resistance of unstiffened rubularjoints. J. Struct.
Eng., ASCE I l0: 385-400.
13. Kurobane, Y., Ogawa, K., Ochi, K., and Makino, Y. 1986. Local buckling of braces in tubula¡ K-joints.
Thin-Walled Structures 4: 234O.
14. Kurobane, Y., Makino, Y., and Ogaw4 K. 1990. Further ultimate limit state criteria for design of tubula¡
K-joints. Tubular Structures. eds. E. Niemi, and P. Makelainen: 65-72: Elsvier, London, UK.
15. Kuroba¡re,Y. 1989. Recent developments in the fatigrre design rules in Japan. Fatigue Aspects in Strucrural
Design. eds. J. Wa¡denier, and J.H. Reusink: 173-183: Delft Univ. Press, the Netherlands.
16. Recommended Practice for Planning, Designing and Consrructing Fixed Ofrshore Plarforms. I 993. API
RP2A-LRFD. American Petroleum In stirute, rù/ash in gton DC.
17. Kuwamura H., and Akiyama. H. 1994. Brittle fracrure under repeated high stresses. J. Construct. Steel
Research 29:5-19.
18. Toyoda, M., Hagiwara, Y., Kagawa, H., and Nakano, Y.1992. Deformability of cold formed heavy gage
rectangular hollow sections: Deformation and fracture of columns under monotonic and cyclic bending
load. Tubular Structures V. eds. M.G. Coutie, and G. Davies: I43-150: E & FN Spon, London, UK.
19. Inoue, K., Ogawa, K. Tada, M., and Yanagihara. H.1994. Earthquake responses of member plastic
deformation of rigid frame with RHS column , J. Construct. Steel 2, JSSC: 9- I ó (in Japanese).


T.T. L¡e end V.IiR. Kodur'


The fire resistance performance of concrete-filled hollow stn¡ctural steel coh¡mns is presented
for tbree types of concrete filling, namely plain concrete, bar-reinforced concrete and fibre-
reinforced rooct te. Results from experimental and theoretical sn¡dies indicate that any required
fire resistance, in the practical range for most buildings, can be obtained for hollorr steel
columns through the three types of concrete filling. The important pararneters that determine the
fire resistance of ¡þs sqlnmns are discussed. A fire resistance design equation, zuitable for
general application and incorporation into codes is presented. Also presenæd is how the
ãesigner can select various parameters to satisfy fire resistance requirements.

KEllilORDS: Fire iesistancc design, HSS columns, Concrete-filled


Steel hollow structural section (HSS) columns ÍLre very efficient structnrally in resisting
compression loads and are widely used in the constn¡ction of fr¿Ined structures in inúsnial
builåings. HSS columns. like other structu¡al members, are to be designed to satisff the
requireãrenrs of serviceability aud safety limit states. One of the major safety reçirements in
UuitCing design is the provision of appropriate fire protection to structural members.' The basis
for this rcquirement can be attributed to tbe fact that, when other measures for containing the fire
fail. stn¡cn¡ral integrity is the last line of defence.

HSS columns are often filled with concrete in order to achieve increased load-bearing capacity.
Concrete filling also increases fire resista¡ce. Through the utilization of a concrete core,
external fire protection required for the steel can be eliminated, thus increasing the usable space
in the building. Further, properly designed concrete-filled hollow steel columns can lead, in an
economic ,""y, to the reaùzaiion of architectural and structural design with visible steel without
any restrictions on fire safetY.

For a number of years, the Nationat Fire Laboratory (NFL), Institute for Research in
Construction, National Research Council of Canada, has been engaged in sh¡dies, whicb
supported by the Canadian Steel Construction Council, aimed at developing guidelines forthe
design and construction of concrete-fìlled HSS columns. Both experimental and theoretical
studies, using numerical techniques, were carried out to investigate the influence of
filling on the fire resistance of HSS columns.

'National Fire l¿boratory. Insritutc for Research in Construction, National Resea¡ch Council of
Canada, Ottawa, Canarja KIA 0R6


Test Soecimens

Fiffy-eightconcrete-filledHsScolumns*t*lî::1.1:*ttuttbvexposingthecolumnstofire' tj?es of
cross sectioñs and wóre infilred with three
The corumns were of circurar and square
plain concrete (Pq; bar-reinfo¡ced- concrete (RC) a¡d
concrete; nanrely,
was provided for the steel.
concrete (FC). No åtemal fire protection
(width) of
plate to end prate. The ouside diameters
A' corumns were 3gl0 mm long, from end 4'8 mm to
406 mm and the walr thicknesses varied ftom
the columns varied from l4l mm to
r2.7 mm. parameters investigate¿ ¡orjuJrl end conditions, concrete strength, load intensity,
-rigure shows erevation and cross-sectionar details of tlpical
aggregatc and reinforcement.
H-lS ãolumns fitled with three tlçes of

o*-*Þ g
ã. Ñ"^ ã"-

O 295Ír1

(b) FC (c) Cohíln

(t) Colutîn PC Coù.úûri

t¡sod in firc Tests

of concre¡e-Frlled srecl columns
Figurc I Elevdion asd cfoss section

The hollow steel columns wcre filled by pouring concrete into the colu¡nn througb the top
opening and vibrators $¡ere used to consolidate the concrete. The average 28day cylinder
strength of concrcte varied from24 to 49 MPa, while the corresponding sFength on the test day,
which was four months or more later. varied from 24 to 59 MPa.

The reinforcement for FC filling consisted of steel fibres, with the percentage of steel fibres in
the concrete mix being 1.77% by mass. For the RC-filling, lateral and Eansverse reinforcement
was provided according to CSA-423.3-M84 (Ref. l). The main bars and ties æ required
spacing, were tied to form a steel cage which was placed inside the HSS coh¡mn.

Test Conditions

The tests were c¿rried out by exposing the concrete-filled gslumns to heat in a furnace specially
built for testing loaded columns. The test funrace was designed to produce conditions, zuch as
temperature, sün¡cffal loads, heat transfet to which a member might be exposed during a fire.
It consists of a steel framework supported by four steel coh¡mns, with the fi¡mace chamber
inside the framework. The hydraulic loading system has a capacity of 1,000 t. Full details on
the characteristics and instn¡mentation of the column furnace are provided in Ref. 2.

Most of the HSS columns tested were subjected to a concentric load. Only three columns were
tested for eccentric loads. The applied load on the colurnns varied from about 600/o to 140% of
the factored compressive resistances of the concrete corc and about l0 to 45o/o of the factored
compressive resistances of the composite column calculated according to the specifications of
CSA/CAì.I3-S I 6. l -M89 (Ref. 3).

The load was applied approximately 45 min before the start of the fire test and was rnaintained
until a condition was reached at which no fi¡rther increase of the ærial deformation could be
measured. This was selected as the initial condition for the æcial defonnation of 1þs çshrmn.
During the test. the column was exposed to heating controlled in such a way that the average
temperature in the fumace followcd, as closely as possible, the standard temperature-time curye
of ASTM El l9-88 (Ref. a) or CANÂJLC-Sl0l (Ref. 5)-

The load was maintained constant throughout tbe test. The columns were considered to bave
failed and the tests rvere terminated when the hydraulic jack, which has a maximum speed of
76 mm/min, could no longer maintain the load.

The furnace, concrete and steel temperatures, æ well as the æcial deformations and rotations,
were recordedat} min intervals.


Full results of the fire tests on HSS columns, filled with PC, RC and FC are given in Refs' 6' 7
urd 8. Results from the fire te.sts indicate that the fire resistance of PC-filled HSS columns is
about I to} h, as compared to about 15 min for unprotected HSS columns. For RC-filled
columns and FC-filled columns fire resistances as high as 3 h were obtained.

The failure of the columns varied from compression to buckling depending on the size of the
column and the type of infill. The majority of the PC-filled columns failed by buckling.
Buckling was significant in columns with sectional dimensions less than 203 mm. Generally,
the failure of PC-filled columns was by sudden contraction, while RC-filled and FC-filled
columns failed by gradual contraction.

The behaviour of concrete-filled HSS coh¡mns under fire conditions is illustrated in Figure 2,
whicb shows the variation of the ærial deformation with time for the three types of concrete-
filling (Ref. 9). These three columns had similar characteristics and were subjected to similar
load levels. As expected, thc columns expand in the initial stages and then contract leading to
failure. The deformation in these columns results from several factors such as load, thermal
expansion and creep. rWhile the effect of load and thermal expansion is significant in the early
stages, the effect of creep becomes pronounced in the later stages.

It can be seen from the figure that the deformation behaviour of the FC-filled steel column is
similar. during tbe later stages of the test, to that of the RC-filled steel column. The initial
higher deformations in fibrc-reinforced concrete-filled columns might be due to the higber
thermal expansion of fi bre-reinforced concrete.


Tbe main objective of the experimental studies was to generate fire resistance data for immediate
use by the construction industry and to provide information for the development of general
methods of calculating the fire resistance of concrete-filled steel columns.

û FClll¡ttg
cu. llts
(ssú r G¡)
aa Clr. Hgg
'ro (!2. r C¡l

E- \ l+ HtC
{o *r,ta \

Tlnq mlnutlt

Egure 2 Comparison of Axial Deflections for Figr¡¡e 3 Conparison of Fr¡c Resista¡ce for Conc¡eæ-
Comete-Filled Hollow $¡¿sl Çslrrmns Filled Hollow Steel Coh¡m¡s
Exposed to F¡rc

Mathematical models were developed for predicting the behaviour of PC, RC and FC-filled steel
columns in fire (Refs. 10, I I , 12, l3'r. The steps associated in the developrnent of the models
involved the calculation of the fire temperatures and the temperature, deformation and strength
of the concrcte-steel composite construction. The calculation procedure was incorporated into
computer programs. The validity of these computer prograns has been established by
comparing the predictions from the models to test datå. The models can accormt for the
important parameters that influence the fire performance of concrete-filled IISS columns.

The computer programs were used to carry out detailed numerical studies (Ref. 9) to compare
the fire resistance of HSS columns with three ttpes of concrete filling. The fire resistance of
similar circular and square columns, as obtained from computer models, is corryared for three
types of concrete filling in Figure 3. The fire resista¡ces ofthe PC-filled steel cohrmns aremuch
less than the fire resistances of the RC and FC-filled columns. The fire resistances of the FC-
filled HSS column is almost the same as that of the RC-filled HSS column.

Although it is possible to use the mathematical models for fire resistance design, the calculation
procedure is elaborate and requires considerable skill and effort. A method more nritable for
general application and incorporation into codes, is the use of design formulas in line with
ionventional design procedures. The development of zuch design equations for calculating the
fire resistance of plain concrete-filled HSS colunns, is illustrated in the following sections.


The computer programs developed above were used to carry-out deøiled paranetric studies to
generate a large a¡nount of data on the fire resistance of concrete-filled HSS columns. The
lnfluence of various factors on the fire resistance of concrete-filled HSS columns was
investigated through computer-simulated fire tests. The effect of various parameters on fire
resistance for PC-filled HSS column is presented in this section.

The influence of the variables wÍrs assessed by comparing the fire resista¡ces calculated for the
various conditions sn¡died, with that of a reference column (Ref. l4). For this pl¡{pose, a
column, with an intermediate diameter of 273.1 mrn a steel wall thickness of 6.35 mrU an
effective leng¡h of 2.5 m and siticcous concrete filling with a strength of 35 MPa" was selected
as a referencè column. Two refercnce loads were selected for the fire resistance comparisons,
nanrely I 150 kN which corresponds to a fire resistance of the reference column of 60 min and
330 kll which corresponds to a fire resistance of 120 min-

The influence of the various study variablcs is shown in Figures 49 and discussed below.

Outside Diameter of the Steel Section

In Fig. 4, the fire resistance of the columns is shown as a function of the steel outside diameter
for thi wo loads of 330 kN and I 150 kN. It can be seen from the figure tbat the colurnn outside
diameter. which is a measure of the column section size, has a major influence on the fire

resistance of the column. The curves in this figure indicate that tbe fire resistance increases
more than quadratically with thc column outside diameter.

ThickTress of the SteelWall

The influence of the thickness of tbe steel wall on the fire resistance of the columns is shown in
Fig. 5. It can be seen that, for thc smaller colum¡ diameters, the fire resistance tends to increase
Ñ, for the larger sizes, ro dccrease with increasing wall thickness. The influence of the wall
thickness is smãll, however, in comparison with that of the column section diameter. For
practical purposes, it seems warranted to neglect the influence of thickness of the steel wall on
the fire resistance of the column.

toül (30 kN)

l¡¡¡t (1150 kN)

Ê25o e,
E 160
Ê 200 0
-ffi 3?arñn

100 t¡.

-3s€-r, il¡al EÍr

100 150 ã)0 250 300 350 0 4681012 16

Outside diarnoler. mn Wallthidgless. mm

Figr¡re 4 Fl¡e Resista¡ce as a Function of Column Frgure 5 Fl¡e Resistæce as a Function of HSS Wall
Outside Dianeær Thickness


In Fig. 6, the fire resistance of the columns is shown as a function of the load for tbe reference
co¡¡rirn, the smallest column and the largest column considered in the paranretric stt¡dy. For fire
resistances abovc 45 min. which lie in tbe practical region, the fire resistances of the sslrrmng
increasc sharply with decreasing load. Tbe influence of load on fire resista¡ce is relatively
higher for thè iurg.r columns. For the colu¡nn with an outside diameter of 406.4 mm' for
r*-.rpt.. a rcduct-ion in load of about 35% from 3000 lcl'{ to 2000 k}'I will double the fire
resistance of the column from approximately I to 2 h. For the reference column, which has a
diameter of 2ß.1mm, the loaðhas to be reduced by about 70o/oto double the fire resistance
Effective Leneth

In Fig. 7, the fire resistance of the columns is shown as a function of the effective length of the
colu¡in for the two selecred reference loads of 330 kN and I150 kN and two strengths of the

concrete filling, namely,20 MPa and 35 MPa. The curves show that in the range of effective
lengths of 2.5 to 4.5 m, the fire resistance is approximately inversely proportional to the
effective length.

The influence of the effective length is somewhat greater for low loads than for high loads. The
influence of the compressive strength, howeveç is relatively grËter for the higher loads. It can
be seen in Fig. 7 thaL for low loads and higbervalues of the effective length" the influence of the
compressive strength on the fire resistance of the column becomes very small.

300 'l¿10

O¡¡ilr (ta1.3 rlrn,
?fi d¡n* ln3.l ¡rút l
o|¡td¡tr 120
O¡¡¡i¡a¡¡r: (4OA,llrrn)
_E 100 20lPr
Eæo É,
o' o'
€ iso .9
g 8æ 3!lMP¡ rr\\\
tr ______ì.
4{t 2ori'r
50 æ t¡d(3!!¡tl)
o 0
æ00 ,O(Xt 60æ 8000 O LO ZO 3.0 '+.0 5.0

Load, kN
Efieaivs len$t' m

Figr¡re 6 Flre Resisance as a Function of Load Frgr¡re 7 Flre Resis¡ance as aFrmction of Effective

Concrete Streneth

The influence of tbe concrete strength on the fire resistance of the column is shown in Fig. 8 for
the two selected reference loads of 330 kN and I150 kN. The curves show a moderate influence
of the concrete strength on the fire resistance of the column-

The influence of the compressive strength is greater for the higher loads than for the lower loads.
For the lower loads, the fire resistancã of the colum¡ increases by approximately 40Yo if tbe
concrete strength is roughly tripled and for the higber load by about l00o/o.

Tvoe of Aeeree¡te

In Fig. 9, the fire resistance of the reference colurnn is shown as a fi¡nction of the load' for a
siliceous aggregate and for a carbonate aggregate concrete filling. The curves in Fig.
9 show
than that
that the nrãieslstance of the column filled with carbonate aggregate concrete is higher
of the column filled with siliceous aggregate concrete. In the practical regior¡ namely, for fire
resistances above 45 min, the diffeiencã in fire resistance between carbonate aggregate
to 4O%- The difference in
siliceous aggregate .on.rrt, filling varies from approximately 20o/o
or higher
fire resistañõe provided by the two tlpes of concrete tends to increase with lower loads
f¡re resistances.

t siliceous aggr€gar'
\ ----- Carbonate aggrsgats
c I
250 E
c I
c I

o 200 6
cao 3t
Ilt 150


l.L 100
þad (330 kN)
Load (1150 kN)

äño 2oo ?so 3oo

Goncrete strength' kN

Concrete F¡sure n
Frer¡re I ff"ffiï^ï#"#fi"åiJ#åt"t
Funcüon of
Ftre Resistance as a

calculation of
from the parametric studies, expressions were develo¡ed for the
Based on the data
.äturnor fiiled with pläin coDcrete' As
the fire resistance oi circ,rfa, *a ,quur.îa's
resistanõe of hotlow steel columns
parameters ,ú ñt-tne tue fire
above, the most important
filled with Plain concrete are:
width of the column
o The outside diameter or the outside
o The load on thc column
o The effective length of the column
o Concrete strength
. Type ofaggregate
found in the
fire resistance and the above paraneters,
Based on the relationships between_the pc-filted Hss colurnn
thc iollowing. ro*ulu for the fire resistance of
paramctric studies.
ffiËä;";i;iild;s, *" "iãbtitt'"d empiricallv (Ref' I5):

R=rffi;o' (l)

zL-day concrete strength in MPa; = K effective
R = fire resistance in minutes; f. = specified
of the
L unsupported length of tbe column in mm; D = outside diameter
length factor; =

in mm; C = applied load in kN; and f, = a constant to account for the t¡pe of aggregate and the
crcss-sectional shape of the HSS column. For circular columns, the value of f, is equal to
0.07 for siliceous and 0.08 for carbonate aggregate concrete, while for coh¡mns with square
cross-section, the corresponding value of {, is 0.06 and 0.07 for siliceous and carbonate
aggre1ate concretes, respectively.

Equation (l) is deemed to be applicable when the following limits are set on the parameters that
determine the fire resistance of the column:
¡ Loads are not greater than the factored resistance of the concrete core deterrrined in
accordance with CAN/CSA-SI6.I-M89 [Ref. 3].
. Firc resistance not greater than 2 h.
r Specified compressive strenglh of concrete at 28 days in the range of 2040 MPa.
r Effective lenglh of column (KL) in the range of2000-4000 mm.
o Outside diameter (width) of the column in the range of 14&410 q¡n (l't0-305 rnm).
o Width (D) to thickness (t) ratio not to orceed Class 3 section according to CAN/CSA-S.16.l-
M.89 (Ref. 3).

In the above equation, the fire resistance is expressed in terms of structr¡ral desig parameten¡.
This offers a convenient method of integrating the fire resistance design with stn¡ctural design.
Using these equations, a designer can arrive at a desired fire resistance value by varying differefit
stn¡ctural parameters, such as length, load, diameter (width), and concrete strenglh. The r¡se of
these equations leads to an optimum design that is not only economical but is also based on
rational design principles.

I h Bstlng
Tpo S ConctÊtt
l'(¡S.Cr r:a t-.

.",eli RELù
ER3ãFgg3ãã FR:ËËsB3ãã
Eísctit€ KL n¡m
t¡ngü, KL
Efætiva mm

Round Hollæ Sleel Columns' Souare Hollov Steel Colum¡rs'

t h Fire Resistarice thFireResistanco

Figr¡re l0 Fre Resistance Design Graphs forconcreæ'Fiued Hollow coh¡mns

incorporated into the National
The fire resistance equations evolving from these studies are
Auitaing Code of Canäda (NBCC, nef. tO). In the NBCC, Equation
(l) is rearranged so ¿ls to
calculate the mærimum load carrying capacity, c*, for
the required fire ¡esistance rating of a
pc-filled HSS column. In order to make the âesign process simpler, the NBCC contains design
ploned as a function of effective
charts, for different fire resistance ratings, wherãin C* is
lengttr for various column dimensions and concrete strengths'
pc-filled HSS columns and
Figure 10 shows two such design g,uphs for circular and square
commonly available in
having a I h fire resistan"" rriing. For hollow structural sections
C*"å, the C-, for concret" ,t of 30 MPa and 40 MPa can be read from the design


protection to hollow structural steel

Concrete filling offers a practical solution for providing fire
columns without -v .*"-al protection. Results from the experimenø] and numerical studies
indicate that any of fire resistance, in the practical range for building constn¡ction, can
be obtained for HSi columns through three t¡pes óf concrete
filling. The use of fire resistance
design equations reads to an optimim design that is not
only economical but is also based on
rational design PrinciPles-


structures for buildings'

l. canadian Standards Association. 19g4. Design of concrete
CAN3-423.3-M84. Toronto, Canada'
columns' canadian Journal of
Lie, T.T. 1980. New facility to determine fire resistance of

Civil Engineering 7(3): 551-558'

Canadian Standar¿s Ássociation. 1989. Limit state design
of steel stn¡ctures- cAN/cSA-
S 16. l -M89. Toronto, Canada'
methods of fire tests on
4. American Society for Testing ar¡d Materials. 1988. Standard
Lritaing ro*t u.iion and matãrials. ASTM El l9-88. Philadelphia,
P{, USA'
methods of fi¡e endurance tests of
5. Underwriters' Laboratories of Canada. 1989. Standard
building construction and materials. CAN/IJLC-S l0l' Scarborough'
fire resistance of hollow steel
6. Lie, T.T.; and chabot, M. 1992. Experimental studies on the
columns filled wittr;i;ir concrete, IRC Internal Report No.
6l l, National Research Council
of Canada, Institute ior Research in Construction. Ottawa,
the fire resistance of hollow steel
7. chabot, M.; and Lie, T.T. 1992. Experimenøl studies on
Report No- 628, National Research
columns filled with bar-reinforced concrete, IRC Internal
Ottawa, Canada'
Council of Canada, Instirute for Research in Construction'
8. Kodur, V.KR.; -¿ lù, f.f. 1995. Experimental ludies on the fire resistance of circular
bollow steel columns frlled with ,t.ól-fibr.-reinforced concrete,
IRC Internal Report
Research in constnrction'
No. 6g l, National Research council of canada, Institute for
Ottawa, Canada.

g. Kodur, V.KR; and Lie, T.T. 1995. Fire resistance ofhollow steel coh¡mns filled with steel-
fibre-reinforced concrete, Proc. Second Univemity-Indr¡stry Wo¡lahop On Fibre Reinforced
Concrete fuid Other Composites. Toronûo, Canadæ 289'3V2-
10. Lie, T.T.; and Chabot, M. 1990. A method to predict the fire resistance of circula¡ concrete
filled hollow steel columns. Journal of Fire Protection Engineering 2(4): lll'126.
ll.Kodur, V.ILR.; and Lie, T.T. 1996. Fi¡e resistance of circular steel coh¡rnns filled with
steel-fibre reinfo¡ced concrete. ASCE Journal of Strucn¡ral Engineering (in press).
lZ.Lie,T.T.; and lrwiri" RJ. 1995. Fire resjsance of rectangular sæelcoh¡mns filld with bar-
reinforcedconcrete. ASCE Joumal of Strucn¡ral Engineering l2l(5): 797'805.
t3.Ifudur, V.KR; an¿ tie; tt: Performance of concrete-fitld steel coh¡mns etçosd to fire.
Joumal Of Fire Protection Engineering 7(2): l-9-
l4.Lie,T.T.; Invin, R.J.; and Cbabot, M. 1991. Factors affecting the fire resistance of circular
hollow steel colurn¡s filled with plain concrete. IRC Internd Report No. 612, National
Resea¡ch Council Of Ca¡ada, Institute ForResearch In Constn¡ction. Onawa, Canada.
15. Lie, T.T.; and Sfinger, D.C. 1994. Calculation of fire resistance of steel hollow structural
steel columns filled with plain concrete. Canadian Jor¡rnal of Civil Engineering 2l: 382-385.
16. National Building Cods of Canada. 1995. Appendix D. Fire Performance Ratings.
National Resea¡ch Council of Canada Ottawa' CaraÅL

by Peter W. Marshall

The following aspects of tubular offshore structures are covered in this paper:
functionality, & erection sequence, early failure/survival lessons, design
forces, simþle joints, fatigue, fracture, weiding, inspection, bigger & better, and structural

Offshore structures are usually designed by teams of e_ngineers, involving several
different technologíes. Althougñ the téam leàder is usually a structural engineer, the
following other spebialties are álso ínvolved:
environrnental loadings (wind, wave, and current),
oil field operations and topside.safety considerations,
economic venture and risk evaluation,
foundatíon design (e.9. laterally loaded piles),
construction oPerations,
inspectíon and repair.

Design is usually governed by considerations other llan in-place gravity loading.

Conitructíon opeiaiíons often dÏctate the layout and architecture of thes_e^lqç^e lubular
space frames,'which may be transported and launched in modules of 50,000 tonnes.
Guidance for þlanning, designing, and construction fixed gffs.hgre platforms can be found
in API RP 2A, which-is the deJacto international standard, incorporated into the first
edition of ISO DIS 13819 Part2. Marshall 1992 gives a broad introduction to the subject.
Many other key references can be found in prôceedings of the Offshore Technology
Conference (OTC).

The most common type of offshore platform is the fixed, steel, pile-supported qtructure.
Over 3,000 of theseÏave been built-worldwide, in water depths up to 400-m. These are
permanent structures, built to support up to 60 oil 4 gq.ç wells, together.with the
ässociated drilling and production e{uipmerit, over a servicé life of several decades.

' MHP Systems Engineering, 1711 Woodland vista, kingwood, Texas 77339 (713)358 641s

Mobile offshore drilling units, such as jack-ups, semi-submersibles, or ship-shape rigs,
are used for exploratdry Oritling (to proVe oil ilep.osits.large enough to justify permanent
platforms), or tb drill isblateO éâteli¡te wells which will be tied by pipeline to a nearby


Fixed offshore platforms consist of the following major elements:
1. jacket
2. piling
3. deck
The main structure is a welded tubular steel space frame, also calted jacke-t or template,
which extends from the seafloor to just above the water surface. This is designed to. reslst
the lateral loads imposed bV wind, wave, and current, as well as vertical gravity loads.
The jacket is assembled oñshore, usually lay.ing on its side. Tf¡e tubes are custom
fabrióated to size, and wetded together iñto ilafplanar bents. These are lifted into a
vertical position a¡iO t¡eO together w¡tn aAO¡tional bracing to complele.the space frâme.. lt
is then d¡<¡OOeO onto a bargè in one piece, torryed offshore, launched at sea, and set 9n thg
sea floor by ballasting, often with the assistance of a large seagoing crane or derrick

The platform foundation is established by driving tu.bular steel piling through the.jacket
legs (or in deep water, through sleeves wh¡ch exténd only a sh.ort distance above the sea
no-o4. The pilðs penetrate 3b to 120-m into the sea floor, and are attachedJg t|1e jacket
legs'by weläing åbove water (or to the sleeveg.by gtoyling.the annulus). Veûical and,
ovértuining loals on the struiture are resisted b.y axial loads in the piling. Lateral.and
torsional lõads at the base of the jacket are carriled into the soil via portal action of the
laterally loaded piles.

A superstructure, or deck section, is set gn lop to complete the structure. lt carries the
functional; loads ior which the structure is built,'keeping-men and equipment out 9f harm's
way, above the waves. The superstructure is.typicâlly a composite of tubular, plate
girder, and wide flange beam and truss construction.


The first steel offshore platform in the Gulf of Mexico was built in 1947. Its construction
was described in the motion picture Thunder Bay, slarnng Jimmy Stuart. ln.the hap.p[
ànding, he defuses environméntal opposition, sulvives a hurricane, gets a gusher, and of
course the girl.

Hurricanes Audrey (1957) and Carla (1961) caused great destruction and death onshore,
but only minor damäge óffshore, aloirg wiÎh usefulðgta-pl pile performance and wave
foices. 'Hurricane Hilða (1964) cáusedihe failure of 22 offshore piatforms, many.of which
completely disintegrated due io failure of their tubular joints. No lives were lost because
of a'políóy of delmanning the platforms when theie was. warning. of an imminent
hurricäne.'However, the eniuing investigations led to the modem punching shear.criteria
for tubular joint desi(¡n, and the fìrst use óf improved steels in joint cans (Carter, Marshall
et al 1969).

lmplementation of these _de.sign ìmprovements led to platform designs with considerable
reserue strength (Bea & Marshall, 1976). ln hurricane Camille (1969), a platform
designed tor 57-ft waves survived an 80-fl wave. ln hurricane Andrevù (1ggj), a'number
of older pç-] 964 platforms were again weeded out; more remarkable, howeúer, was the
surviv.al of platforms which were exposed to 2 to 3 times their allowable desijn loads,
including some which were completeiy overtopped by waves (see OTC 7470-74i5).


9nSq a platform site has been selected, experienced specialists should be consulted in
defining the met-ocean conditions from whibh operatinçj and extreme design criteria will
be drawn.

Wind forces are important to designing above water porlions of the platform, and for the
the drilling and production equipment. A turbulent atinospheric boundary layer near the
sea sudace has a rather co-mplex structure in space and time. Wind speeôs increase with
ng¡gl,t above the w_ater surtacg,. and gusts can be up to 1.7 times the hourly mean speeà.
wind contributes 10 to 20"/" o'nthe totál lateral load ón a pratform.
Empirical relationships for estimatìng significant wave heights, given the wind field, were
develo.ped during the second world war, to assist in planñing a-mphibious landiñgË. l; ã
natural sea state, wave heights vary ¡q1Qomly, as. de'scribedly tfie Rayleigh d¡stiiOution.
The.most likely extreme wave out of .100_0 w_aves (about a 3-hour storm) Èi.eO1imeînä
slgnificant wave height, or 3.7 times the RMS water surface fluctuation.

Water particles ín deep water waves travel in circular orbits, rotatinq in the direction of
waYe travel, with.the, magnitude of motion decaying.with depth. Horizóntal velocity peaks
at the wave crest, while horizontal acceleration-an-d pressuie gradient peaks So-rJegreeé
(1/4 wave lengtl¡) ahead of the crest. For steep extieme storÉr waves, n¡gh óioði"wã"e
theories,. e.g. Stokes Sth, must be used to.describe water particÍe üelocities and
accelerations, requiring the use of a computer.
ln addition to wave action, tidal currents, wind-driven currents, and ocean circulation
currents contribute to the total water particle velocities.
When a vertical cylindrical (9.g. jactet leg).is subjected to a horizontal pressure gradient,
lateral forces analog,ous to buoyancy result; furtfiermore, since the boäy partiall"y ¡tockj
the flow, an "added mass" eff-ect creates additional forces in phase'r,iritn ü¡é lateral
pressure gradient and water particle acceleration. A turbulent ivake behind the bodv
creates a drag force. which is proportional to water parlicle velocity squared. lt has beeíl
empirically.observed that reasonable-design forces äre obtained by suþerimposingthesà
effects, us.!g the'Morison eguation for eãch incremental length ót eácn mãmOei ñ thé
platform. The drag and inertia coefficients in this equation hãve been calibrated on iuil
scale wave force measurements. Forces increase in the presence of marine growth.

Although there are .many,-computer

-programs for analyzing space frames, special
fe_atures,are required for ófrshorb platfbrmé. Wave theory'is uËualty integráteã'w¡if' ne
structural analysis, to avoid having io manually transfer huþe volumes of däta. Distributéd
gra)/lty, þuoyancy, and wave forces along the members are collected into fixed-end forces
and moments at the. nodes, prior to solving the. structural matrix. During stress recovery,
these same distributed forces must be recälled in order to get correct ËenOing moreÁíd
along the entire length of the members, as the critical momeñt is often near mij-spil.

Since the behavior of the laterally loaded pile foundatio¡t is highly non-linear, special
techniques are required to actiieve compatible solutions for both structure and

ln some areas, otfshore platforms must also be designed for the effects of floating sea ice,
earthquakes, or mud slides.

ln offshore structures, most of the structural connections are tubular io¡nls involving
circular tubes. These have been extensively reviewed by the Underwater Engineering
Group (1985) and by the present author (Marshall 1992a).
Most connections are made by simply welding the-branch member (e.g. bracing). to- the
main member (e.g. jacket leg). ln the US, welds in T.-, Y-, and K+onnections, made from
one side withoi¡t óa'cfing acõbrding to AWS prequalified practices, may be presumed.to
develop the full strengthõf members joined. _Mogt design problems aripe, not in the weld,
but in ihe main merñber, which muðt transfer loads from one member to another via
óuncning shear and shell bending stresses. A locally lhickened section of the main
ñ.tËrOãrlol¡oint can, is usually prÑiOeO for this purposé. Typically, this is about twice as
thick as the attached braces.
The static strength design of such connections is described in a companion paper
(Marshall 1996) ãnd the Aþpendix thereto (Marshall 1989).

Fatique may be defined as damage which results in fracture after a sufficient number of
streõs fluctúations. Fatigue performance or capacity.is characterized by S-l¡_99rves, plots
of total stress range (óeak+o trough) versu-s cyðles to failure (at say 97o/o lur_vival).
Referring to Figuré l,'fatigue anatysis for offshore structures includes the following
(1) Long term wave ctimate is the starting point for estimating the demand.side of cyclic
tbáOing.'fhis is the ensemble of all seã states occurring yearly (or for the structure
(Z) Global space frame analysis is perfo-rmed to obtain structural response in terms of
cybtic membér stress for each sea state of interest.
(3) Geometric stress concentrations at all potential hot spot locations.within the tubular
òonnections must be considered, since fatigue failure initiates as a localphenomenon.

(4) Accumulated stress cycles are then counted, and applied against suitable S-N
òúrves, using Mine/s rule of cumulative damage.

Filt?:"r"?'f#ffi ranle
äläiriãtã'¡å1'r,"'iõt"tto stíess or strain, on the outside surface of the intersection
ìi;Ëä'äùoulo'o'" rããrrrãð artei shakebown by a. strain gaugg..adjacent to and
oeroendicutar to tñã ¡ntJrsection weld. Hot spot stress places mãnyïifferent connection
äffiäi;i"î.oñ ä-cöärrrón uat¡s. tre rhicroscopic l''o!.cþ effecls, .metallursica.l
Ëääãåiñ;, jib ¡nc¡p¡enf ciácks at the toe of the weld'are built into the S-N curves, which
ãi"'brpír¡ãä¡ry OaseO on a large data base of tests on as-welded haró¡vare.
Hot spot stress can be derived from nominal member stress using a parametric SCF
lèireãä concentration factor) formula, such as Alpha


where T ¡s the ratio of branch to main member thickne.ss, 0 is.the angle between member
aré, T is ma¡n rLr¡ãi mdius/thickness, and a is thg,oyqll-=ing parameter 99 given in
ÃwS ol.l-go r"Ër":ã.e (i:o for k, t.7 lor'TN,2.4tor X. 0.67 toi lpg. and 1.5 for.-oPÐ-
use with S-N
Âúèmãt¡uety, cr rãv oË ,èø q"giqqtaJe effectivg.cygl¡ç punching shear for
tilÑåJxt aírd t<z (éee Note 5 of AWS Dl .1-96 Table 2-6).

2 compares Atpha tfllggp with othe.r morg scPhlsticated.parametric formulae

áäanãVtical ápprããctiãslo Sdr_"té,g. finite elemg!'¡l). ftre ordinate is the ratig of þo!.spot
õ'Ëñ;ñ¡ís lnË.i Èigrre s stïows how well tiot spot strg¡s, calculated with Alpha
Ëiãdúãáiòts i"t¡guã peñormance of tubutar conneit¡ons.
"rõ"d lt does about as well as
méà;-uîdd not spot êiie!ð ¡n the original database, with similar scatter and bias on the
safe side (Marshall 1993).

The foregoing sc F reflect the overall ge.ometry oj lhe tubular connectiot¡I¡:TgÏ["

notãf,lftËct o:t tne weld itseff is not expäcitly cal-culated, it does enter inlo the cholce ot s-
ñãruË. rtiJ upp"iðurväãxl áo kf appiy to joints in which the weldsnersg il-Tihy
ivrti irrð aojoiniñg tase meial, for joints niifn oranch members up to.2S-mm thick. Lower s-
Ñ';ñ;;-åpöiy-¡itiã *elOs'are not sc profiled.. For effect thicker'weldments, a size gfecJ
lào-ùóúóñ ¡riial¡glä ãtiåáõn ãppries. Th'e combined of thickness and profile i:
;hõñ iá riguie?. This salme apþróach to fatigue, SCF, and S-N curves appears in API
RP 2A and ISO DIS 13819 PartZ.

Most fracture control problems in offshore structures occur in the tubular connections
inéi utt¡rate strelgth, tþe hot spot.repiqp exoerience triaxial
nodes. As these
"p-prãrén iüiy Ëi"rtíð ðñ"lr "uónding, f+tg" defiect¡on.eifects, and.load
stresses, loca¡iz$Ëldil'g;
iå¡ði¡¡^itión. rnesé occunences in the presence of ùeld tóe notches place extraordinary
õ-rãã; on the ;"t;ñ rõrgf'ness of thä main member at tubular cohnectio¡.s.Typi$l
d;¡d p*e¡"" ¡siã,]åe-ñ¡gi quality heat treated steel for the joint can, e.9. API Speç 2H'
2W, or2Y.

Conventional practices for the control of brittle fracture are based on Charpy jmp?cl
testinq (AWS D1.1-96 sections 2.42 and C4.12.4.4). These are admittedly qualitative, but
may O'e correlated empirically to more definitive.éngineering^lqProaghês, such as the
NRL fracture analysiö diaqiam (Carter, Marshall et al 1969). ln order to avoid
catastrophic propagätion of s-mdl ciagks at stresses approachi¡g the UT.Ç, anÇ to prwide
crack ar'rest for lbcá brittle zones in the H{Z,joint cans and other critical locations should
have the Nil Ductility Transition 30-deg-C below the Lowest Anticipated Service
Temperature (NDT below l-ASÐ. ln addltion to this high level of notch toughness,
struciural redundancy is used as a secondary level of defense.
Weld metal and heat atfected zones should have notch toughness requirements
compatible with the base metal in which they occur, enforced via consumable selection
and procedure qualification.
More advanced fracture control procedures, e.g. dA/dN and OTOD , are described in
Marshall (1990).

ln the USA and most of the rest of the world, bent fabrication is the preferred method of
ãsðemOty for offshore jackets (Marshall,.1984). The intersection welds in Tl/- and K-
ðonnectións are made from the òutside only, as the entire brace, point-to-point, is brought
into position. AWS D1 1-96 section describes.prequalified gogrplete ioint
oeneiration oroove weld details welded from one side witl"rout backing in Tl/- and K-
bonnections.-The joint geometry and welding position vary.continuously _as o.le prgceeds
around the connéction with çjroove dimensions being defined as a function of local
à¡hedral angle. Braces áre give--n a saddte-shaped cope éo that the lD weld root conforms
to ne OD-of main membär, with a properroot gap all around. Special.proc_edure
qualífication requirements, inctuding sainpie joints.o-ia tubular nlog|-uPr are described in
ÄWS D1.1-96 dection 4.12.4. Speõid wéldei qualifications, includingthe 6GR test and
acute angle heel test, are presö¡bed in AWS.D1.1-96 sections 4.26 (5) and 4.12.1-2,
iespectivé[. Less oneroui provisions for. partial penetration and fillet welds are also
givån; thesê are particularly useful tqt-"_ta!!"ally loaded trusses in onshore applications-.
Éárliér (g7Z-94) editions'of the AWS Codé had these tubular provisions grouped
together in Chapter 10.
ln the nodal method of fabrication as practiced in the UK, nodes are prefabricated qs¡f.g
pressure vessel practices, including'repositioning the work piece, welding.from both
b¡des, and PWHÏ. However, this is much more onerous and expensive tha-n the practice
OescúOeO in AWS, and single-sided closure welds are still required as the nodes are
¡ñãrp"r"ted into the space irame, and service failures emanating from root defects in the
closure welds have been rePoñed.

Three nondestructive inspection methods are routinely used on fabricated structures.
These methods include visual, ultrasonics (UT), and radiography (RT). The magnetic
oäñi"1" inspectíon technique (MT) and thd liciuid penetrant ieihnique are generally
ðonsidered as enhanced visual inspection techniques.

All these techniques have procedural requirements which should be followed if they are
used. An approüed quality control plan,.with procedures for each inspection method,
should'be developed for each job application.

Visual. Visual inspection is always required. The visualtechnique is used either by itself
or as an integral pãrt of other ND-E techniques. Visual inspection should.be co.nducted..by
qualified inspectórs, for inspection of w-orkmansþlp anO technique prior to and during the
ri,èlOing proéess, and for in'spection of final weld for completeness, size, contour, cracks,
and other discontinuities.
Penetrant technique. The liquid penetrant inspection technique (PT) is useful for
detecting discontinuities such as craiks, porosity, etc. that are open to the surface.

Magnetic Particle Technique. The magnetic pafticle technique. (MT) is useful for
deiõcting discontinuities that are open tolhe su'rface o.r.a.re- slightly subsurface. The
oroceOuie for MT should conform to ä written procedure which follows ASTM F-709
ãnO npl RP 2X (third edítion, when issued), ôr similar national standards which provide
gu¡ãance specifiòally for the inspection of as-welded components, including provisions for
ihe resolutibn of indícations by light grinding.
Radiographic Technique. The radiogrqphic technique {RT) is useful for detectinq
buried-or'thru-thicknesð discontinuitíes ¡h butt welds of simple geometry. The RT
þrocãàures in AWS D1.1 cover qualification of insp.ectors, standard practices and
ïechniques, image quality control via penetrameters, film and source tYPgs: geometric
limitatións (e.g. õOgé bloóks), and disposition; as well as providing.appropriate separate
criteria for non-tubu'iar static,'non tubuiar dynamic, and tubular structures.

Ultrasonic Technique. The ultrasonic technique (UT) is also.usefulfor detecting buried

or thru-thickness dis'continuities, and is particularly useful in identifying and.s.izing planar
discontinuities. lt is the only method apþlicable to internal inspection of welds in tubular
T/Y and K connections, due to their complex geometry.

All UT should be in accordance with an approved written procedure which describes the
appl¡caOle range of geometries, acceptäñce criteria for each type and size of weld,
sbäcific UT insirumeñtation, transducdr characteristics (frequency, size, shape-, beam
áñgle, etc). surface preparation and couplant, calibration test block and reference
iétieciors,'instrumeni cá¡¡bration methodé and interval, base metal checking,. ygld
geometry determination (e.g. indexing root location), scanning pq¡grn and sensitivity,
t?ãnsfer'correction, coriec-tion for õurvature efféct on skþ distance,, method.of
O¡scont¡nuity length ând height determination, and protocol for defect verification during
excavát¡on ánd répair. Sepairate procedures for tubular and non tubular structures should
be considered.

ln addition to the usual national certification schemes, UT technicians should be required

to demonstrate their ability to execute the full scope of these testing procedu.res, using a
p}ãciical test or mock-úp which incorporatei.weld types, local dihedral .angles,
ih¡cknesses and discontini¡ity sizes of inierest. Their pedbrmance assessment should
consider false alarms as well as defects found. Aòceptable level of performance
(pio¡ãoii¡tv ótã"1eðtioñ) shoutd be evatuated in the contexi of structural reliability issues,
e.g. fractuie criticality vs. structural redundancy.

The foregoing procedure and qualification requireme¡ts,- as well as repofting of results,
should bé in the context of applicable standards. Techniquqs a¡d reject criteria are
different for non-tubular (AWS D1.1-96 section 6?6)_an4-tubular (section 6.27)
applications. Other applicable standards include API RP 2X tor tubular structures
cöñstructed by the beni or point-to-point method, and A.Çft{E for prefabricated nodes
which are welðed from both-sides and stress relieved as if they were pressure vessels.
Note that for API RP 2X, the user defines the accepUreject criteria according to the
service requirements of his structure.

Reject Criteria. For simple (unstiffened) tubular joints in bent-fabricated structures, the
weids are made from oné side without backing. Fortunately, the hot spot areas at tubular
Tll and K intersections occur at the outside surface, with reduced stresses at the root of
the weld. ln view of the difficulty and undesirability of repairing innocuous root defects in
this situation, both AWS D1.1 añd API RP 2X provide separate criteria for the root area of
welds in tubular Tl/ and K-connections. These allow somewhat larger discontinuities,
based on experience-based fitness-for-purpose consid.erations (Marshall 1984a)..No
such relaxatión is allowed for the root area of butt joints (i.e. closure welds), nor should it
be applied at footprint crossings in stiffened nodes.

ln the acute angle region of simple T/Y and K-connections, the first root passes are. so
narrowly confined thai sound quality weld cannot be assured. These are.designated.as
the "ba-ck-up" weld, and excll¡ded from the theoretical weld throat. Nondestructive
inspection is'not applicable to the back-up weld, any more than it would be to the root land
in a partial penetration weld.


The worlds deepest fixed offshore platform is "Bullwinke," in 490q water depth in the Gulf
of Mexico (Digre et al 1989). ln water deeperthan 400-m, floating platforms arè-being
introduced'tol¡ll the traditiónal role of fixed platforms, such as tension-leg platforms,
spars, jumbo semi-submersibles, and turrèt-moored ships. -fhq"g are high-tech
väntureõ, with higher unit costs per well or per ton of payload than fixed platforms. Where
there are targe -numbers of w'ells and high payloads, th-e ec_o_n9.mic.s of scale make
compliant towérs (which share many desqablecharac-teristics with fixed platforms) viable
in water depths up to 900-m (Marshall & Smolinsk¡ 1992).

Designers must be involved in assuring lifetime structural integrity for his designs, for
seveial reasons. They know the structure better than anyone else, which parts ore
redundant of secondary, and which parts are primary of critical, as well as assumed levels
of performance (e.g.'ófìo¡ce of faiigue S-N curv-e in relation to weld profile. To Þq
corhprehensivety'in-control of his pioject,.the designer must be involvéd in material
seleötion, welded joint design, welder and proceduie qualification, fab.rication quality
control, ând inspâction. These issues háve a humän side as well as technical
consíderations. Bôth receive detailed coverage in the AWS StructuralWelding Code.

This oape introduction to the subject of tuburar offshore
r can onry give a very briefprovide more depth.
;iñtüä.:'nä r"läiänËei which iollow
1.APl(1993),FìecommendedPracticeforPlanning,Designing,andConstructingHxedoffshorewashington Dc
ptaflorms, epi-nÞ zÄ-inro ano epr nÞ e¡-wsD,-Ame¡cän Èetroleum lnstitute,

8055-76' Trondheim
eãñåùórt ot ón-snore Plaflorms,
õtrtñoie tecir cont, Houston' oTo 1043
Plafform, Proc
4_ Diqre, K.A.. Brasted, L.k., andlvlarshalt, p.w. (1989), Design of the Bullwinkle
OtfËñåte f"ch Conf, Houston, OTO 6050

Pa¡ 2: Fixed Steel Structures'
-Offshore Structures, Part 1: eãnãrãl Requimments, and
lntemat¡onal Standards Organization' London
Tubular structures' 11W Houdremont Lecture'
Marshall, P.W. (1984), connections for welded
Peçamon Press, Boston
ultrasonic Reject criteria for
7. Marshall. P.W. (1984a), Experience B^asgd Fitness-lor-Purpose
in Welded Construct¡on' Atlanta
Tubutar Stwctures, präÀñõWñönrrróãnt on FFP
with AWS Dl '1, welding Joumal' March
8. Marshall, P.w. (1989), Designing Tubular connections
Procedures for Deepwater otfshore Platforms
o Marshall, P.W. (1990), Adyq¡ce Fracture control
ãnO Compl¡ant Towers, Welding Joumal'
Steel Design:'an
10. Marshalt, P.W. (1992), Offshore Stluctures, Chapter Q'A ¡1 Constructional
i Åiàäîii)i G u ia;, eËävie r Ápp tied science Publishers,

Connections: Basis and IJse otAWS 01'1'
11. Marshall, P.W. (1992a), Design of Wetded Tubutar
Elsevier Science Publishers' Amsteruam

12. Marshall.P.W.(1993),APlProvisionsforStressConce'ntraliorrFactor(ScÐ'S.NCurves'and
õìlåipr.]ii¡å Ët¡äòs,-p-i* offshore Tech Conf, Houston, oTc
Proc AWS lntl cont on welded
13. Marshall, P.w. (1996), welded circular Hollow Truss Connections,
Tubular Structures' vancouver
ol All Rqsjlient structures: Fixed Base Tower
14. Marshall, P.W. and smolinski, s.L. (1992),The Mother nsÓE conf on civil Enss in the ocean'
in 3ooo-fr water, and'ðä;äö;Ëia;ãrõ rrä"áålËióbËn
(3 vols), underwater Engineering
uEG (1985) Design of Tubular Joints for offshore structures
Group, ClRlA, London

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The developmenr by AISC of a specification specifically for the design of stn¡cnual rubing
provides an oppornrnity to reexamine design criteria for HSS columns and beam-columns.
Comparisons with other national standards are also possible. The emphasis is on the use of
multiple coluru¡ curves based on method of manufacture and design criæria for thin-walled
sections. In addition, the results of a pilot test program on the cyclic behavior of ærially loaded
HSS braces illustrate the requiremeût to limit the width/thickness raúo in seismic applications
to prevent local buckling and subsequent fracture.


Structural steel design specifications for buildings have historically been developed for hot-rolled
open shapes and built-up plates members. Even though circular n¡bes were used in some of the
earliest steel stn¡ctures, the trend for widespread use of tubular members and the development
of specific design requirements for n¡bes began in the 1940s. In the case of round n¡bes, the
motivation came from the offshore industries where the circular shape was effrrcient in
minimizing the forces on exposed frameworks in a flowing fluid environment. Manufacnrring
technology also produce efficient methods of mass producing square and rectangular ubes as
well as circular without the expensive mills required for hot forured shapes. As a result, a
considerable body of research on the behavior of tubular members has been generated and design
criteria for n¡bes have gradually appeared in specifications. However, in some cases for the
sake of simplicity, conservative criteria for other shapes were applied and the full advantages
of n¡bular behavior were not always achieved. The AISC has initiated an effort to produce a
specification specifically for the use of strucn¡ral tubing in building applications. The
consolidation of this material will simplify the design of n¡bular members and permit the most
eff,rcient use.

Stn¡ctural nrbing can be manufactured by several different processes which can i¡lfluence
properties that affect structural behavior. Consequently, design criteria for different rypes of
i.rUing can vary. At the same time, the designer must be aware of availability so that the criteria
used ln design is for a type of tube that the fabricator can obtain. Another complication in
tubular member design is that many of the standard sizes are classified as thin-walled, so that
a comprehensive design criteria must consider local buckling and not assume tha¡ sections will
be compact.

This paper presents the current state-of-the-art of design criteria for both round and rectangular

1 Universit,y of Wisconsin-Milwaukee, Milwaukee, Wf 5320L, USA

colunns' beam-columns and beams (square
tubes are included in the rectangurar
Ianer is included since beams are-o:e category.) 1
anchor oranj interacrion;ì;;i*
brief background is presented on tube for beam-corum¡rs.
manufacrur¡nä ,n¿ how ir influences
The emphasis is on the criteria u*.Jin-rli'ü"iä'öilt"s, sructurar behavi<
national or regional sandards are arthough some comparison with
made. More à.ør, on ,n.ou?""rJrìng orh
design criteria are contained in ano the data base f
Ref. il;-;;Aäron or ru¡ui"r-rr,rmber
specifications from different parts 1 design criteria
of n. **rãlñ;;r, in Ref. 2.


Both round and rectangular sm¡ctural

ubes can be manufacn¡red seamress
continuous seam welds along the or with one or mor
length. eot uon rypes, the tubes
hot-formed or cold-formed' cold-formø u, further crassified a
place at ambient temperatures-
impllsì¡rii ar reast trre nnais¿ing
ln.trot-foÃä;br;, the sizing and shapíng and shaping taker
elevated temperatures to reduce are performed a
the sriffner" of trr; materiar.
stress relieved at temperature cord-formed tubes that are
of approximately 450'c *"
åffiäily classified as hot-
In addition to affecting the yield and,
ultimate strengths, the method
the level of residual sfesses-in of manufacture infruences
the rube, t¡e uariat-i-oiî yierd
srrengh and thickness around
ro some exænr, a, or,i,.r. prop"ïi"rl'inu"n rhe
iäiri:tåtriiåff"htness' . rhe structurar
Generally hot-formed tubes have
negligible residuar sûess whire
cold-formed tubes are very high, through-thickness residuars
especially for *.uJ in
à.tangurar rube-s. Tubura¡ products
out-or-straien,"Á are
Jiilffiò*::#i.i'asured i"'äå-r"'*?¿L.ã"órar rubes in the ranse

Even though hot-formed and cold-formed

rubes may have the same chemistry,
members will have higher yields the cord-formed
and ultimate. rr
working' cold working alio cause some *á ,, roun¿ea stress-strain curves due to cord
variation irryirrd srength
formed tubes' especialfu at the perimeter orcor¿l
**.r, ".;;;rh.
of recranguií rì.rio*. Heating
ro 450"c w'l rerieve
il#å,i:ff 1i:'H;iïË,1*;';x*i'ffihlä;ffiî,',åu.ing,r,,,*."e,¡
Seamless rubes will have some
variation in thickness around
made from plate or strip resulting the perimeter. welded tubes
in very uniform thickness.;..p, are
corners of cold-forrned rectangulai
n¡bes.'l-.:r ;;rr'"î¿ strip can u. ;;; a thickening ar the
thicknesses, it is common practice åuäin.d with precise
thickness permined in the
*g1g u s. prod;."r, ,o make Þbes near the minimum
Ëryil*. rp".in..rio", il;-ü; r0äo berow the nominar thickness.
trå'ïiiiiïî:iåï*lmt:$"oiäo*'ä"'('.ïJ, momenr or inertia, etc shourd
) be

The information on the.four types

of round tubes (welded, seamless,
four types of rectangula, ruúËs i, hot- and
irpon nt in a gtobai sense. However, cold_formed) and
from a regional

viewpoint, availability becomes a par¿ìmount consideration. For example, in the U.S.
recøngular n¡bes are only produced as cold-formed welded. A design specification that included
criteria for hot-formed rectangular tubes would be misleading. The designer who based a design
on provisions for hot-formed tubes would be embarr¿ssed to find that these sections are not
available. On the other hand, recent practice in Canada was that producers could provide a
degree of stress relief so that rectangular tubular colurnns could be designed in accordance with
more favorable provisions for hot-formed members. This raises the problem of insuring tbat the
fabricator obtairs the correct product. Hot-formed seamless rectangUlar tubes are produced in
Europe and, therefore, a justification exists for a wider range of design provisions in that region
of the world.

Again considering U.S. practice, round stn¡ctural tubes are produced under the 4500 cold-
formed specification (Ref. 3). However, there are large quantities of hot-formed pþ available
in distribution centers. Currently U.S. design specifications do not distinguish be¡*,een the pipe
and 4500 tr¡bing, so that there is a poæntial problem of acçisition of the t¡.pe of material
inænded in the design or insuring that substin¡æ materials do not require a redesign.


Àxial Compression
There are three considerations in design criæria for round tubes in axial compression.
1. column buckling curves or equatioris
2. local buckling equations
3. inæraction between local and column buckling
Specifications that contain multiple column curyes assign hot-formed n¡bes to the highest and
cõld-formed rubes to the next highest curve. The basis for this is the extensive series of column
tests conducted in the CIDECT (Comite International pour le Develppement et I'Etude de la
Constn¡ction Tubulaire) program in the 1970s. In the U.S., a decision was made by AISC to
use just one column curve. This was to simplify the design process by having only one set of
column load øbles and to avoid potential problems of a design being based on the higher curve
while the material obtained for fabrication is cold-formed. These considerations apply not only
to n¡bes but also to other shapes that could be assigned to various column curyes. The tests data
indicates that the AISC column curve (Ref. 4) is conservative for round n¡bular sections, and
slightly more so for hot-formed members.

Elastic local buckling of circular cylinders is known to be highly imperfection sensitive and the
strength drops rapidly with the diameter/thickness ratio, D/t. U.S. practice of excluding round
rubes that would buckling elastically from building specifications stems from the 1968 AISI
specification (Ref. 5) or the earlier edition. This is accomplished by specifying a maximum D/t
oi O.++Aemr. Although inelastic local buckling is not as imperfection sensitive as elastic
buckling, thére is still considerable scaner in test data. A number of empirically based equations
for predicting the strength have been proposed. The AISC (Ref. 4) equation is based on the
allowable rrés crireria of Ref. 5. This equation is a reasonable lower bound to post 1950 test
data on the local buckling of round tubes under axial compression'


-l D/t s o.rr4E/F..
P 0.03798/F, 2
Pv E--3' 0.TI E/Fv s D/t s o.44gE/Fv

-l some specification consider an interaction

between local and column while others just
lower of the two critical loads. AJSC,uses use the
rh. ¡;;;;îppr*rr,
by modifying the yield srress
bv a local buckling re¿ucrion-iaoL;, q,
il ::,'Hi.equation which is trrá equivarent of p/p,
P", = As(o .6}sa^2) eFy, for À"1fis l_.5
P",=WÞ", for À"1õ> 1.5
" rtrl E

one modification- to this approach that

appears in some specifìcations is that the reduction
lo.J"nJnot ro rhe corumn srendernessepar¿rmercr,
capacity is applied only to thè critical

when criteria for round tubes first appeared
in specifications, the format was atowabre
design' The allowable bending stresses stress
in compression were specified to be the
axial compression' After postlelastic same as for
strength was recog nizedin codes,
allowable stress for compact shapes the ly%increase in
was extended to include rubes
Iimit in Equation 1' rni rcn increase that mo n, local buckling
was based on rhe minimum ,t"p.
sections' even though the shape rãrr"r for wide flange
factor for compac, rã*ã sections .*..Ëd.
strength criteria were developed, 1.30. when urtimare
circular tuues rrao t" ur reexamined
compacmess limit would apply to determine if the same
to develop the full pl*i. .paciry
also a question as to whethir the of the round tube. There was
locai uucni"g rri""in roi a tuue i"
apply to a member in bending where oiãi.ompression wourd
a sress gradient exists. The resurts
programs (Ref' 1) were used of severar experimenar
m develop'ne Tusc for the urtimaæ bending momenr.
T, = a, for D/t ¿ 0. 0714 n/Fv
Mu- .0 20
7E/F, . iJ,
"v tt for O.O7r4E/Fy .D/'t s 0.3ogE/Fy (3)
Mu- 0.330
Mv D/t for 0 .3098/F, < D/T s o.44BE/Fy

A short range of D/t for elastic buckling is included in order to maintain the same maximum
limit for D/t as for axial compression and still be consistent with the test data. As with any
criteria that is based on empirical results, other equatioru for bending capacþ have been
proposed for other specifications. Some specifrcations do not provide for a transition berween
the plastic moment and the yield moment and, therefore, contain a significant discontinuity in
strength at the D/t which defines a compact shape. No lateral-torsional buckling criteria are
required for round ubes.

Combined Compression and Bending

The rezults of over a hundred beam column tests (Ref. 6) indicaæ that the inæraction equation
used in the AISC Specification (Ref. 4) reasonably predicæ the capacity of round n¡bular beam-
columns even when local buckling is considered. A linear interaction equation used in other
specifications is conservative.


Axial Compression
The difference in the normalized column strengths benreen hot-formed and cold-formed
rectangular tubes in the CIDECT programs is more distinct than for round tubes, causing cold-
formed übes to be assigned to lower column curves in specifications with multiple curves. The
high levels of residual stresses is a major factor for the lower strength. In the U.S. where a
single column curve is used, much of the data falls below the curve, indicating somewhat
unconservative design. However, this situation is not as severe as accepted practice with heavily
welded open shapes, where normalized test data is even lower than that for cold-formed
rectangular hrbes. As noæd earlier, only cold-forrred rectangular tubes are produced in the
U.S., and with a single column curve, there is no design benefit for speciffing any stress
relieving operation.

The unconservative design of cold-formed recungular columns is not as severe as it appears.

Much of the test data was normalized by the offset yield of the section obtained from sub
coluÍrn tests. This reflects the ir¡herent high yield stress in the corners of the tube resulting
from cold working. U.S. practice is to determine the yield strength with a coupon taken from
the middle of a side of the finished nrbe. The yield load calculaæd by the material yield strength
times the gross area will be less than the weighted average that includes higher strengths in the
corners. Some European specifications perrrit the yield to be determine from a weighted
average and other specifications base the design on the virgin yield strength of the plate or strip
prior to forming the tube. Thus the appropriate column curve depends on the method of
determining the yield strength. With all these refinements, U.S. practice does not result in
design suengths that are significantly different than those of other specifications.

Local buckling of rectangular tubes is almost universally treated with the effective width
concept. This concept was theoretically proposed by von Karman and later empirically modif,red
by Winter (Ref. 5) to account for inelastic action and imperfections. The concept pertains to
the force carried by a long plate supported on two edges parallel to an axial force. A uniform
srress, which has the same magnitude as the true stress at the edge, acting on the effective width

will result in the same post-buckling force using the true stress distribution. The effective width
equation for the case when the side supports have the same thickness as the buckled plate is used
by AISC for local buckling of a rube wall.
b"/t = r.rrrlrft11 - o .3s!{l/r (b/t)l = ot,

In this equation, b is the flat width of the side of the tube and f is the average stress based on
the total gross area, usually the critical stress for the column. A reduction factor Q is the ratio
of the remaining effective area divided by the gross area and Equation 2 is used to determine
the column buckling load, which reflects local buckling interaction. Since AISC bases f on the
full section properties of the section rather than the effective properties, iteration to determine
the critical load is avoided.

In other specif,rcations, both the effective width equation and the column curve may differ from
AISC, producing different critical column loads. However, using the concept of effective width
to provide the interaction between local and column buckling is the same.

Thin walled rectangular tubes in bending are designed with the effective width concept of
Equation 4 for the compression flange. In this case the stress, f, is taken as the yield stress
since failure occurs when the yield suess is reached in the corners. Using just the effective
width for the compression flange causes a shift of the neutral axis away from the flange, as well
as a change in the moment of inertia and the section modulus. The limit moment is determined
by setting the bending stress calculated with the effective section modulus equal to the yield

Using f
as the yield stress and sening Equation 1 equal to the full width, the width/thickness
ratio that defines a thin wall section is I .4}JF,/Fy. For sections that have b/t less than
l.L2JElFy. AISC permits the full plastic moment. rrt/hen b/t is between these limits, the
moment capaciry is based on a linear transition between the plastic moment and the yield
moment. Other ultimaæ suength specifications have similar provisions. The limits defining
compact, noncompact and thin walled sections are nearly the same in various specifications,
although the definition of width may be the outside dimension, inside dimension or the flat

Square tubes are not subject to lateral-torsional buckling and, therefore, do not require lateral
bracing. Rectangular tubes bending about the major axis could buckle laterally and AISC
currently has provisions for the unbraced length. However, for tubular sections the unbraced
lengths are so large that realistic designs would be controlled by deflection or the reduction of
the section moment capacity caused by lateral-torsional buckling is negligible. Therefore, the
new consolidated specifrcation will not contain lateral bracing provisions for elastic analysis,
although provisions will be included when a plastic analysis is used for the moment distribution
and some hinges must sustain finite plastic rotations to develop the failure mechanism. The
maximum unbraced length from the hinge is

LN= (s)
ryrrzo.rc r!-rr,

In Equation 5, M, is the plastic moment of the section, M, is the smaller moment at the end of
the unbraced length, and r, is the radius of gyration about the minor axis.

Combined Compression and Bendine

AISC uses the same interaction criteria for axial compression and bending as for any other
section. There is some recent evidence (Ref. 7) that this criteria may be slightly unconservarive
for rectangular beam-columns with eccentric end loads when the eccentricity is the same at both
ends and produces single curvature. For unequal eccentricities and reversed curvanrres, the
criteria may be overly conservative.

Cyclic Axial Loading

Rectangular nrbular braces have been know to fracture catastrophically in earthquakes. A pilot
program consisting of nine tests of members zubject to æcial end displacement reversals was
conducæd to investigate the failure mode (Ref. 8). The nvo tubes sizes had bit of 36 aú23,
with the former being classified as thin walled. Initial column tests showed that since the
slenderness ratios of the test members were the same, the two sizes buckled at the same end
displacement but subsequent local buckles formed at substantially different end displacements.
The cyclic test progr¿rm was planned so that there would be no local buckling in one tests while
local buckles would forrr in all other tests. Test variables were the axial displacement range,
the mean axial displacement and the rate of loading as determined by the period for a cycle.
Tests with local buckles follow a similar pattern of behavior. Column buckling is followed by
a local buckle which leaves "horns" at the corners. After several cyclés with tension
excursions, cracks initiate at the HSS corners on both horns and propagate through the thickness
and away from the corners in subsequent cycles. As section is lost at the cracks resulting in an
eccentric load, the lateral deflection reverses during the tension pan of the cycle but returns to
the original direction during compression, producing a snap-through behavior. Eventually the
crack pops across the local buckle, resulting in increased lateral deflection that creates a large
enough eccentricity to reverse the direction of column buckling in the subsequent compression.

Although it was possible to make conclusions regarding the influence of the variables, the over
riding conclusion concerned the effect of local buckling. The test with no local buckle was
stopped after 50O cycles and all other tests fractured between 18 and 41 cycles. This justifies
the AISC provision (Ref. 9) that n¡bular braces should have b/t < 0.65V8/F, (about 15) in
seismic applicatiorrs. This would preclude the formation of local buckles even under extreme
axial distortion. With further study, it may be possible to relax this restriction to some extent
if axial distortion levels can be predicted.


Sufficient information now exists on the behavior of round and rectangular tubular members to

formulate reliable design criteria rhat will take advantage of the properties of the closed shapes'
AISC is preparing a specifrcation that will consolidate provisions for tubular members and,
hopefully, simplify the design process. This specifications will reflect the tyPes of rubes
.uãinulè in the U.S. as well as rhe general philosophy regarding steel design. other
specifications in differenr parrs of rhe world may differ considerably due to the availability of
diff.t nt types of tubes and the acceprance of refined design concepts, such as multiple column


1. Sherman, D.R. 1992. Tubular Members. Constructional Steel Desien-An International

Guide eds. P.J. Dowling, J.H. Harding and R. Bjorhovde: Chap. 2.4,gL-lM. [,ondon:
Elsevier Applied Science.
Kato, B. and Sherman, D.R. eds. 1991. Tubular Structures. Stabiliw of Metal Suuctures-
A World View ed. L.S. Beedle: Chap. 9,495-536. Structural Stabiliry Research Council,
Bethlehem, Pa. : I-ehigh University.
3. American Sociery for Testing and Materials 1993. 4500 Specification for Cold-Formed
Welded and Seamless Carbon Steel Structural Shapes in Rounds and Shapes: Philadelphia
4. American Institute of Steel Construction 1993. l,oad and Resistance Design Specifìcation
for Structural Steel Buildinss: Chicago IL-
5. A¡erican Iron and Steel Instin¡te 1968. Comrnentary on the Specification for the Design
of Cold-Formed Steel Members: Washington, D.C.
6. Strr.tn*, D.R. 1990. Cyclic and Post-Buckling Behavior of Tubular Beam-Colum¡s.
Tubular Structures eds. E. Niemi and P Måikeläinen: 388-395, Elsevier Applied Science.
7. Sutty, R.M. and Hancock, G.J. 1994. Behaviour of Cold-Formed SHS Beam-Colum¡s.
Proóeedings 12th Specialtv Cor¡ference on Cold-Formed Steel Suuctures eds' W-W. Yu
and R.A. I¡Boube: University of Missouri-Rolla.
8. Sherman, D.R. 1995. Stabiliry Related Deterioration of Structures. 1995 Theme
Conference, 1-9. Structural Stability Research Council, Bethlehem PA: I-ehigh
g. American Instirute of Steel Constn¡ction t992. Seismic Provisions for Stn¡cn¡ral Steel
Buildines: Chicago IL.


J.A. Packer'and S. Kitipornchait


The principal reference sources or specifications which guide or govem the design of onshore
structures with steel Hollow Structural Sections (HSS) a¡e reviewed. This contemporary
(1996) overview of available codes and recommendations is intended as a directory of
authoritative resource material for the practising structural engineer. The scope of the review
is international and covers both multinational and national documents, with the latter
concentrating on literature published in the U.S., Canada, Japan, Germany and Australia.


Hollow Stn¡ctural Sections, tubes, standards, codes, specifications, design guides


Hollow Stn¡ctural Sections (HSS) were first produced by Stewarts & Lloyds Ltd. in the U.K.
and one of the first guides for their use in design was by Abrahams (Ref. 1),
'n L962. Most
research on HSS connections in the 1960s took place at Sheffield University under the
direction of Eastwood and Wood (Refs. 2 and 3) and the results of this were quickly
implemented in Canada and publicized by Stelco in the world's first HSS connections manual
in l97l (Ref. a). Stelco maintained the pre-eminent marketing role for HSS in Nonh
America throughout the 1970s and 1980s, and the popularity of the product in Canada now is
largely a result of this company's efforts. Eastwood and Wood's connection strcngth
formulas were also included in the Canadian Institute of Steel Constntction (CISC) Liru¡
States Design Steel Manual in 1977 (Ref. 5), but have not appeared in later Manual editions.

A large amount of research and development work on HSS took place during the 1970s,
particularly with regard to connection behavior and static stren$h. Much of this \ryas co-
ordinated by the Comité International pour Ie Développement et I'Etude de la Construction
Tubulaire (CIDECT), which is a group of HSS producers with the aim of collectively
developing the market for manufactured tubing. The CIDECT Technical Secretariat has
recently moved to Paris, France, but readers interested in purchasing CIDECT documents
(referred to later) in 1996 can most easily do so from Mr. D. Dutta, CIDECT, Marggrafstrasse
13, 40878 Ratingen, Germany. Alternatively, most CIDECT member companies carry a
reasonable library of CIDECT technical reports as well as design guides. The only North
American member is IPSCO Inc., P.O. Box 1670, Regina, Saskatchewan S4P 3C7, Canada-

*Department of Civil Engineering, University of Toronto, 35 St. George St., Toronto, Ontario M5S I44, Canada
#Department of Civil Engineering, University of Queensland, Brisbane, Queensland 4072, Ausualia

preParation in
A new "state-of-the-aft" approach to welded HSS connection design was under continually
was being
l9B0 by CIDECT (Monogiaph No. 6) (Ref. 6), but its publication
deferred so stelco in the meantime proceeded with the
publication of its second connections
manual in l98l (Ref. 7). This guide was expressed in
a Limit states Design (LSD), or Load
and Resistance Facror óesign (|RFD) formai, and
was the first englishlanguage HSS design
guide to do so. The 1980s then saw a period of consolidation
of resea¡ch knowledge and
v/ardenier in 1982 (Ref' 8)' soon
experience commencing with the landmark treadse by
and construction in 1984 (Ref' 9)'
afterwards followed ',tt," cloEcr book" on HSS design
design in 1986 (Ref' 6)'
and GIDECT Monograph No. 6 on welded connection static

of Wetding (llv), a learned group comprised of -national welding

Tlte International Institute
societies from around the world with headquafters dso
ln Þa¡is, has played a major role in
assessing and assimilating HSS connection åesign knowledge
into specification format' This
XV-E on Welded Joints
function is executed Uy Jotunt"er members of IIW's Subcommission
body for drafting ISo
in Tubular srrucrures. IIW is cunently approved as an official
srandards, so subcommission XV-E will'ükåþ -
play a key role in influencing international
standards relating to HSS connection design. To ãate,
the two principal connection design
documenrs which this subcommission has iisued relate
to static (Refs' 10 and ll) and fatigue
(Ref. 12) design of welded, truss-type connections. IIW documents,
which are predominantly
General, International Institute of
in English, can be obtained from lr¿fr. M. Bramat, secretary
Weldirg, c/o Institut de Soudure, B.P. 50362,F95942 Roissy CDG


ilw welded' planar'

The current, second edition, design recommendations for statically-loaded'
truss-rype, HSS connections (Ref. ll) achieved a wide international
consensus and have since
and guides, for square and
been adopted worldwide by all national or regional specifications
rectangular sections. For circular sections, tñe same is true
except for the U'S' (Ref' 13)'
The fatigue design recommendations, published in 1985
(Ref' l2)' are based on the modern
approach of using the hot-spot stress method rather than
the classification method' and are
recent' valuable' IIW
scheduled for updating in the near future (1996197). Another
- although
publication dealing witlifatigue definitions, analysis methods and recommendations
edited by Niemi (Ref' l4)'
nor limited solely to HSS co-nnections - is the IIW special report

disseminating its wealth of
CIDEC]T has recently adopted the poticy of promoting and
various asPects of HSS
accrued advice by publishing a series of design guìdts on
To date the following
construcrion. These iuides suiersede all previous õpËCf [terature'
have been published, in the following order:
.Design Guide for circula¡ Hollow Secdon (cHS) Joints under Predominantly static Loading,
by Wardenier et al., 1991 (Ref' 15)
,étructural Stability of Hollow Sections, by Rondal et al., 1992 (Ref' ló)
.Design Guide for Rectangular Hollow Section (RHS) Joints under Predominantly
Loading, by Packer et 1992 (Ref' l7)

.Design Guide for Structural Hollow Section Columns exposed to Fire, by Twilt et al., 1994
(Ref. l8)
.Design Guide for Concrete-Filled Hollow Section Columns, by Bergmann et al., 1995 (Ref.
l9). (This is based on Eurocode 4 for Composite Steel and Concrete Structures).
These five guides have been published in Germany in separate English, Frcnch and German
edirions and can be purchased either directty from the publisher (Verlag TUV Rheinland
GmbH, Köln, Germany) or specific steel construction organizations (e.g. Australian Institute
of Steel Construction (AISC), P.O. Box 6366, North Sydney, N.S.W. 2059, Aust¡alia Fax:
+61-2-9955 5406). Spanish editions should also be forthcoming very soon too. Two ft¡rther
design guides are planned for the near future:
.Design Guide for Structural Hollow Sections in Mechanical Applications
.Design Guide for Circular and Rectangular Hollow Section Joins under Fatigue Loading.

Another recent initiative has been to produce a comPuter Progfam for perforrring checks on
rhe LSD/LRFD resistance of planar, welded and bolted, truss-tyPe, statically-loade4
connections made from circular, square or rectangular HSS. This program, called CIDIOINT
(Ref. 20), follows the rules set out in the two relevant CIDECT design guides above (Refs. 15
and l7). It is available in DOS and Windows vl.l editions, is in LSD/LRFD format, and
has a choice of different secúon databases for different countries. Sales to most countries are
now being handled by a software vendo¡: Computer Services Consultants (UK) Ltd., New
Street, Pudsey, Leeds, West Yorkshire LS28 8YS, U.K. (Fax: t4'1-l 13'236 0546).

¡urocode 3 for steel structures (Ref. 2l), to be soon adopted throughout Western Europe, will
prove to be a very influential force in international standardisation. Like the CIDECT design
guides for statically-loaded, welded, connections (Refs. 15 and l7), it conforms closely in
Ànne* K to rhe recommendations set out by IIW Subcommission XV-E (Ref. I l). On the
other hand, for fatigue design of HSS welded connections, and for the practical wall thickness
range of up to l2.5mm, the current version of EC3 permits the use of both the classification
an¿ tt hoi-spot stress methods. This generates some serious inconsistencies in the EC3 rules
" so this specification should be treated with caution for fatigue design.

etttrougtr not in the coherent form of a guide or specif,tcation, advice and guidance resulting
from new or innovative research in HSS construction can be best found in the Proceedings of
the International Symposia on Tubular Structures. This series of symposia began in Boston,
U.S.A. (1984) and have since been held in Tokyo, Japan (1986), Lappeenranta, Finland
(1989), Delft, The Netherlands (1991), Nottingham, U.K. (1993), Melboume, Australia (1994)
and Miskolc, Hungary (August 1996), under the organization of IIW Subcommission XV-E
and the sponsorship of CIDECT. The single-volume proceedings from each symposium acts
as an excellent collation of the latest, leading-edge, research on HSS worldwide. The
Proceedings of the 5th. Symposium (Nottingham) were published by E. & F.N. SPon'
London, U.K. (ISBN O 419 18770 7), and the 6th. Symposium (Melboume) by A.A'
Balkema, Rotterdam, The Netherlands (ISBN 90 5410 520 8).


there has been little direction given to
Surprisingly. considering the size of-the market,
and technical marketing and promotion
designing onshore ,,ru.Iur., with HSS in the U'S.,
have been very modesr. Ar presenr, the American
welding Society (AwS) Dl'l code (Ref'
13) covers the static design of welded truss-type connections
- in both LRFD and AsD
HSS) and tubular sections' As
formats - between "box sections" (square and rectangula¡
rectangular HSS generally conform to
mentioned previously, the connection design rules for
design is also covered, by both
owcIDECTlEC3,but those for circular HîS ¿o not. FatiguJ
comparison between these two
the hot-spot stÍess and punching shear methods' but a recent
can have very different allowable force
design merhods in AWd Dl.l shows that connections
(for both unfilled and concrete-
For the design of members, ties, columns and beam-columns
Construction (NSC)
filled sections), are covered by Íhe American Institute of Steel
Specification for Structural Stee-l Buildings
(Ref. 2Ð' . AISC is now in the process of
producing a separate Specification on iouctural Tubing,
which is being drafted by
Subcomminee ll8. Thii will cover both member
and connection design and may be
available in 1997. Some HSS promotional material,
mainly consisting of safeload tables and
American Institute for HoIIow
case studies, has been publis'hed by the Pittsburgh-basód
American tube maufacturers
Struuural Sections (/IIHSS). This Institut" '"p'"'"nted several
by the Cleveland-based Steel
but has now been closed. Its role has been iargely assumed
Tube Institute of North America lsIl), which has the
support of many tube manufacturers
across the u.s. and canada. structural design aids
fromsTl have not yet been generated but
a connecrion design guide conforming to the"pending
AISC LRFD Specification on St¡uctural
Tubing is planned.
the geometric properties of
one should aiso be aware of the American specification regulating
(Ref' 25) permits a hollow section
cold-formed HSS used in the U.S. ASTM dr*¿"t¿ 4500
without specifying any
wall thickness as much as lOVo below the nominal wall thickness,
can have a major negative effect on
mass (or weight or cross-sectional area) tolerance' This
HSS manufacturers now tend to
the assumed (nominat) structural properties (Ref. 26). Most
ASTM tolerances'
produce undersized sections, but still within these excessively-generous
Conformiry to nominal member dimensions can be ensured
by adding supplementary
is produced to ASTM 4500
specifications to contract documents. A range of HSS
HSS and from 250 to
(Ref. 25), with yield stresses ranging from 2ã8 to 317 MPa for round
345 MPa for square/rcctangular HSS'

is the CISC Guide by Packer and
The prime resource for HSS connection design in C¿nada
and is sold by both GISC (Fax:
Henderson (Ref. 27), which follows canadiaã specifications
an¿ a revised second edition is due in
reprinred with some minor improvements in l-ate l-99S,
chinese and this edition is also
late 1996. This book has also recently been translated into
scheduled for publication in Beijing in 1996
(Ref' 28)'

The design of unfilled and concrete-filled HSS members is covered by the CSA Standa¡d for
sreel structures (Ref.29). HSS in Canada is produced to CAN/CSA-G40.21-M92 (Ref. 30)
with a specified yield strength of 350 MPa. These products conform to CAN/CS A-G4O.âO'
M92 (Ref. 3l) Class C (cold-formed) or Class H (either hot-formed to hnal shape, or cold-
formed ro final shape and stress relieved), of which Class C is now the more popular. One
very imporrant fearure of the CAN/CSA-G4O.2O-M92 specification, especially with regard to
the fa¡ more liberal American ASTM 4500 counterpart, is that it specifies that the mass (or
weight, or effectively cross-sectional area) shall not differ from the published mass by more
¡ha¡t -3.5%. In addition, therc is a -SVo tolerance on wall thickness, but the mass tolerance
will generally govern.

ftre Aesign of tubula¡ stn¡ctures in Japan is regulated by the AII (Ref. 32). It is notable that
Japanese standards for cold-formed HSS permit a wall thickness tolerance of -107o, for the
cornmon range of thicknesses between 3mm and l2mm, with no masVweight/arca tolerance
(Refs. 33,34,35 and 36).

A pt"*i*nt reference source has been the handbook in 1988 by Ðuna and Würker (Ref. 37)'
atthough the recent CIDECT Guides (Refs. 15, 16, 17, l8 and 19) have been very popular in
Germany. There has been a German standard for steel structures made from hollow sections
(Ref. 38) but, like in most other Western European countries, this is destined for replacement
by parts of Eurocode 3 (Ref. 2l). Draft European standa¡ds a¡e already in place for the
mar¡r¡facturing requirements of hot-formed and cold-formed hollow sections (Refs. 39 and 40)'
and these allow for local thickness tolerances of up to -lOVo (depending on size) but are
accompanied by a mass tolerance of -67o. Considering the broad influence that these
EuroNorms will have, this mass tolerance is still far too liberal, especially in view of today's'
modern manufacturing capabilities.

ftr"¡oign of HSS members (for wall thicknesses of 3mm and greater) and rypical
compon"n6 is prescribed by the national limit states steel stn¡ctures specification (Ref. 41).
As än aid to HSS connection design, the Australian Institute of Steel Construction (AISC) is
currently in the process of producing a "pre-engineered" connecúons manual. This will be
publishéd in rwo volumes, ihe f,irst dealing with "Design Models" which is imminent (Ref.
42) and the second dealing with "Design Tables". Cold-formed HSS are produced in
Australia to minimum specified yield strengths of 250, 35O and 450 MPa, with a permitted
local thickness rolerancé of -lOVo but accompanied by a mass tolerance of 4Vo (Ref. 43).
The 450 MPa yield strength is only available at present for square and rectangular HSS with
perimeters up io a00mm. This grade (C45O1C45OL0) is manufactured by Tubemakers of
Àustralia Ltd., by in-line galvanising to a mechanically (shot-blasted) and chemically-cleaned,
bright meral (Rei. 44). Innovative products such as this, combining high strength steels with
,urfu." pre-treatment, plus being aðcompanied by inclusion in relevant national or regional
structural specifìcations, will quickly increase the popularity, market share, and export
potential for Hollow Structural Sections.


l. Abrahams, F.H. 1962. The use of steel tubes in structural design. Draughtsmen's and
Allied Technicians' Association, Richmond, Surrey, U.K.
2. Eastwood, V/.; and Wood, A.A. 1970. Welded joints in tubular strucrures involving
rectangular sections. Proc. Conference on Joints in Structures. University of Sheffield,
U.K.: Session A Paper 2.
Eastwood, W.; and Wood, A.A. 1970. Recent resea¡ch on joints in tubula¡ structures.
P¡oc. Canadian Structural Engineerine Conference. Toronto, Onta¡io, Canada.
4. Stelco. l9Tl.Hollow structural sections - design manual for connections. lst. ed.,
Stelco Inc., Hamilton, Ontario, Canada.
5. Canadian Institute of Steel Construcúon. 1977. Limit states desien steel manual.
CISC, Willowdale, Ontario, Canada.
Giddings, T.W.; and Wa¡denier, J. (eds.). 1986. The streneth and behaviour of
staticallv loaded welded connections in structural hollow sections. CIDECT
Monograph No.6, British Steel plc, Corbl', Northants., U.K.
7. Stelco. 198l.Hollo* structural seciions - desien manual for connections. 2nd. ed.,
Stelco Inc., Hamilton, Ontario, Canada.
Wa¡denier, J. 1982. Hollow section ioints. Deift Universiry Press, Delft, The
9. CIDECT. 1984. Construction with hollow steel sections. British Steel plc, Corby,
Northants., U.K.
10. International Institute of Welding, Subcommission xv-E. l9gl. Design
reco¡nmendations for hollow section joints - predominantly statically loaded. lst. ed.,
Irw Doc. xv-491-81 (Revised), Irw Annual Assembly, oporro, portugal.
IL International Institute of welding, Subcommission xv-E. 19g9. Design
recommendations for hollow section joints - predominantly sratically loaded. 2nd. ed.,
IfW Doc. XV-701-89, IfW Annual Assembly, Helsinki, Finland.
t2. International Institute of Welding, Subcommission XV-E. 19g5. Recommended
fatigue design procedure for hollow section joints: part I - hot spot stress method for
nodal joints. lst. ed., Irw Doc. xv-582-85, Irw Annual Assembly, strasbourg,
13. American V/elding Society. 1996. Structural V/eldine Code - Steel. ANSVAWS Dl.l-
96, l5th. edition, AWS, Miami, Florida, U.S.A.
14. Niemi, E. (ed.) 1995. Stress determination for fatisue analvsis of welded componenrs.
Abington Publishing, Abington, Cambridge, U. K.
15. J.; Kurobane, Y.; Packer, J.A.; Dutta, D.; and yeomans, N. 1991. Desien
euide fbr circular
ircular hollow secti
CIDECT (ed.) aird Verlag TüV Rheinland GmbH, Köln, Germany.
t6. Rondal, J.; wurker, K.-G.; Durra, D.; wardenier, J.; and yeomans, N. 1992. structural
stabilitv of hollow sections. CIDECT (ed.) and verlag TüV Rheinlund c*ffi]
17. Packer, J.A.; Wa¡denier, J.; Kurobane, Y.; D.; and Yeomans, N. 1992. Desisn
Ia¡ hollow section (RHS
CIDECT (ed.) and Verlag TüV Rheinland GmbH, Köln, Germany.
18. Twilt, L.; Hass, R.; Klingsch, W.; Edwards, M.; and Durra, D. lgg4. Desien euide for

structural hollow section columns exposed to fire. CIDECT (ed.) and Verlag TUV
Rheinland GmbH, Köln, Germany.
19. Bergmann, R.; Dutta, D.; Matsui, C.; Meinsma, C.; and Tsuda, T. 1995. Þign guiAe
for õoncrete-filled hollow section columns. CIDECT (ed.) and Verlag tÜV Rtleinland
GmbH, Köln, Germany.
20. Parik, J.; Dutta, D.; and Yeomans, N. 1994. User suide for PC-proeram CIDJOINT for
hollow section ioints under predominantlv static loadinq. CIDECT (ed.) and Ing.-
Software Dlubal GmbH, Tiefenbach, Germany.
2t. European Committee for Standardization. 1992. Eurocode No.3: Desim of steel
structures - Part l.l: General rules and rules for buildines. ENV 1993-l-I:L99?5,,
British Standards Institution, London, U.K.
22. Wingerde, A.M. van; Packer, J.A.; and Vy'ardenier, J. 1995. Criteria for the fatigue
assessment of hollow structural section connections. Journal of Constructional Steel
Research.35: 71-115.
23. Wingerde, A.M. van; Packer, J.A.; and Wardenier, J. 1996. New guidelines for
fatigue design of HSS connections. Journal of Structural Ensineerine. American
Society of Civil Engineers, 122(2).
24. American Institute of Steel Constn¡ction. 1993. Lo-ad and resistance factor desim
specification for structural steel buildines. AISC, Chicago, Illinois, U.S.A.
25. American Sociery for Testing and Materials. 1993. Standard soecification for cold-
formed welded and seamless carbon steel structural tubine in rounds and shaDes.
ASTM 4500-93, ASTM, Phitadelphia, Pennsylvania, U.S-A'
26. Packer, J.A. 1993. Overview of current international design guidance on hollow
structural section connections. Proc. 3rd. International Offshore and Polar Eneineerine
Conference. Singapore, IV: l-7.
27. Packer, J.A.; and Henderson, J.E. L992. Desien suide for hollow structural section
'Willowdale, Ontario,
connections. lst. ed., Canadian Institute of Steel Construction,
28. Packer, J.A.; Henderson, J.E.; and Cao, J.J. 1996. Desien suide for hollow structural
section connections - Chinese edition. Science Press, Beijing, P.R. China.
29. Canadian Standa¡ds Association. 1994. Limit states desim of steel structures.
CAN/CSA-Sl6.l-94, CSA, Rexdale, Ontario, Canada-
30. Canadian Standards Association. 1992. Structural qualiw steels. CA}I/CSA-G4.21-
M92, CSA, Rexdale, Ontario, Canada.
31. Canadian Standards Association. 1992. General requirements for rolled or welded
structural qualitv steel. CAN/CSA-G40.20-M92, CSA, Rexdale, Ontario, Canada.
32. A¡chitectural Institute of Japan. 1990. Recommendations for the desier and fabrication
of tubular structures in steel. 3rd. ed., AU, Tokyo, Japan.
33. Japanese Industrial Standards. 1988. Carbon steel tubes for general structural purDoses.
JIS G3444-1988, JIS, Tokyo, Japan.
34. Japanese Industrial Standards. 1988. Carbon steel squa¡e pipes for seneral structural
purposes. JIS G3466-1988, JIS, Tokyo, Japan.
35. l"pãn"r. Society of Steel Construction. 1988. Cold-formed ca¡bon steel square and
iectansular hollow sections (box section columns). JSS n-10-1988, Toþo, Japan'
3ó. Architectural Institute of Japan. 1991. Japanese architectural standard specification
JASS 6 steelwork. AIJ, Tokyo, Japan.

TÜV Rfreinland GmbH, Köln, GermanY'
38. DeutscheslnstitutfürNormung.lgS4.Stahlb?qlenl!¡'4e}'eßeaushohlprofilenunter
DIN l8 808, DIN, Berlin, GermanY'

(Draft Doc' No' 92146922)'

Institution, London' U.K.

40. European Committee for Standa¡dization'

' 92146923)' British Standards

rnctitrriion- I-ondon.
Institution, U.K.
London, U.
Steel structures' AS4I0O-1990' Standards
41. Standards Association of Australia. l99O'
Áusu¿ia, North Sydney, New -ðîirtWales' Australia'
'sì.", South
eonneetþns ror
42. iïìiliil;"il;;ä";i' u",ion. Lsss. pre-ensineered A tan Nnr.fh
a ^. ^.a AISC,
lst. ed., North

SyO*y, New South Wales, Australia-

Standards Association of eustralia. 1991.
Structural Stpçl hollow sections' 4S1163-
1991, Standards Australia, North Sydney'
New South Wales' Australia'
1994' Desien capaçitv- -tables for
Tubemakers Structural and Engineering Products'
Australia Ltd" Newcastle' New South
Ourue"l ,t."1 r,oilo*lrciiont iuU"miL"rs of
Wales, Australia.


Eelmut G.L Priont


Concrete-filled steel tubes are shown to be an efficient means of carrying comparatively high ardal
loads and moments and are a viable construction method for both buildings and bridges-
overview is given on the application of concrete-filled steel nrbes as columns with a brief
description oñ"arious coae deiign approaches. The topic of connections to concrete-filled
columns is discussed with referãnce to low rise and high rise building applications.
practical methods are described, ranging from simple shear connections that connect to the steel
rtt tt onty, to connections that transfer large bearing loads and moments into the concrete core-

A brief overview is given on the use of concrete-filled tubes as a rebabilitation method for
deficient reinforced c,Jncrete columns and beam to column
joints. Strong emphasis is placed on
the suitability of this method for applications in high risk earthquake zones'


for combining the tensile capacity of steel with the

Engineers long ago realized the potential
coñpressive streãgrh of concrete in the construction of composite structurd members
exceþtionalty high load carrying efficiency. Several construction methods have evolved,
conventioná t"infot ed concrõte and pre-stressed concrete members, composite floor systems,
and composite columns. The latter generally consist of steel members encased
in concretg which
not odylfficiently utilize the two materials, but also produce fire-resistant structr¡ral members.

After hollou/ structural steel sections became more readily available, engineers realized the
advantages of filling these with concrete. The two components of the member
complement each
other idãally, in thát the steel casing confines the concrete laterally, allowing it to develop its
in the
optimum cómpressive strengt[ whilã the concrete, in turr¡ prevents elastic local buckling
saving in
steel wall. Another advantate ís that formwork is not required, resulting in a significant
construction cost and time] Athough the concrete core somewhat enhances the fi¡e
above an empty tube, steel reinforðement is typically added to the concrete core to retain the
favourable fire resistance of encased sections.

Since the
For beam to column connections, many proven connection methods can be employed.
load carrying capacity of concrete-fiileâ tolumns is significantly higher than for unfilled sections,
however, .nd ,inr. most of the a,xial load is carried by the concrete core, the design
connections to transfer the high beam shear forces into the columns remains a challenge.

I lZ4, Caruida
Dept, of Civil Engineering, University of British Columbia' Vancouver,B-C.' V6T

I 126
1981; Dunberry'
members in much t

not rall within

beam-corumn, ." lt"îïä ,ilr,J"öüio*I':l^Î"
or dËsign specifications' Questions
the limits, specific imphd,
ffi.Jîiîäxr;ix$'*'git#Ïrn'"::"m'Lffi phase'
::iflt:ïideifo;il" i" tr'" post-ultimate steel
when dearingwith concrete-filled hollow
over the world are n9t consistent section at all' white others
Design codes
,"ää;, i,i'î¡r,
J..r type or.o,nooíi
siröhs " and/or section slenderness ot
members. Many ,,tï, ;;:;"eriar available
often very *nr"*ui',JJ "r¿',*ãr: ilil;;" itrñied amount of test data
rr;i.- u" pårceived;, "r,rr. l" different design
the steel casing.
to enable coae *riie'1o
p'ôp"i:j^:'ä *,';ï*;"i*;;"'-
stress;;tg; ri"s, '¿¿ition
safety iactors are applied
in different
în uorrnaule resistance
ohilosophies exist "ountri"r, factors.i" tñ" i"r¿sand/or.member
level wherear,nurri¡*,ion Resistance Factor
ät oe materiar strength #öril;;õ;v t.r'ã "arãLoad and bound criterion
æe appried ," *u*r'i*rï;;';-*ot,iniä"'ld ffiFj;;;* a lower
Design). Also,.*i,å;;;*"lr;
t. ;iilt* ,o
Ëol -¿ resistance factors'
to the data pornts, whefeas
,o*, ur.î;,- value
d"tiu"r different levels of
of test results, these tw.o ænt-*ti"t-"- without considering the
Depending on the scatter ;;-
îãi ¿itrerent"iä;;;;åt;
reliability uno a.r,gn.r,
ur, ,*tion.a
of ciibration of the
loaded columns in low
holrow sections is as ærially
- of concrete-fired ;;;;;"sed successtullv in high
The most common use ,tî,:î;;;;;:$
medium rise buildiner
l" a few.cases,
concrete, *jrät'*iii ,ttr aim of increasing the
rise buildingr, ,.ki,,ig
ur. of higr¡ _streruth Foot, lese)'
controrilirï.ä ålie-¿-.ll
stiffiress and
concrete (characteristic
sections filled with¡ormal strength
previous research on ho'ow structurar especially in the case
puurã'itä;;i;t turther developments'
40 Mpa) tu,
strengh of less than

of circular sections, where considerable strength can potentially be gained from triærial
co¡¡finement of the concrete. The interaction between the concrete core and the steel casing

been investigated since 1957 (Klöpper and Goder), while Knorvles and Park
(1969, lg7Û),Neogi
et al (1969) -d chen (lg7o¡ ri..inrally addressed the relationship between slenderness and
confinement. Since the concrete has to reach about 95Yo of its compressive strength before the
confinement is activated, only stocþ cotumns tpicatly achieve this state before overall buckling
dictates the ultimate strength. such an increase in compressive strength was observed
experimentally as the slendeñess ratio of the column was decreased, but no consens¡¡s has been
reached to define a limiting slenderness ratio.

To achieve full confinement, the steel is best utilized in the circumferential direction and should
preferably not be loaded longinrdinally (Knowlesand Park 1969). In practice, howwer, this is
Aim*k to achievg sincã bond stresses a¡rd frictional forces between the concrete and steel
""ry longitgdinal straining of the steel, thereby reducing the yield strength in both the
circumferential and tongitud¡nal directions (Furlong 1968, Virdi and Dowling 1980). This
demonstrated in t."6 ãy Gardener and Jacobson (1967), which have shown no increase
strength when only the concrete was loaded, compared to full load application to the concrete

Consequently, most equations for the ultimate load of composite sections assume that
(1969, and Tomii (1977)
component materials ."t ind"p"ndently. Knowles and fark 1970)
assumed that the steel and the concrete interact by adding ductility and stabilþ
to the columr¡ but
collectively do not add strength to the column beyond their individual contributions. The
strength oithe column is modelled by using a summed tang€nt modulus approach, which assumes
the steel to reach full yield before due to the lateral s¡¡pport of the concrete. The
ultimate strength is thus the sum of the rt.il *d conøete strengths, ignoring both the 'triardal
effects and bond.

For circular sections, confinement of the concrete through hoop stresses in the steel shell resr¡lts
in a significant increase of the concrete strength. The steel itself will, however, experience abi-
axial Jress condition and a reduction of the sieel resistance has to be taken into account.
the above into account, an expression of the following nature is tlpically found in the design
codes (CanadiarL 1995):


where c¿ represents a reduction in the steel capacity Cs, while the concrete capacity Cc

increased by a factor p. The factors cr and p depend on the diameter-to-thickness

(D/t) and
lengrh-to-diameter (L/D) ratios of the tube and the ratio of the steel yield and concrete
coripressive strengtùs. They both remain unity for rectangular sections and for circular
with length-to-diameter ratio UD > 25-

To address some of the concerns and extend the existing knowledge to more slender steel tubes
filled with high strength concrete, an experimental program was initiated which employs steel
tubes with diameter-tõ-thickness ratio @7t) of 92 and yield stress of F, = 262 - 328
MPa' filled

1994)' A full raîge
strength f 73 '92lvPa(Prion and Boehme
with concrete of characteristic "= the road capacities
(axial load versus åorlri r"",
"ppriàJïo "ttrr"o"rize subsequently been
of road combinations urtimaie.-Further work has
and load-deformation ùehaviour
up ro -äî;;tíu t";;;;test results with anal¡ical
;;;"t;. (tggz), *io-íur"rsstullv
done by Rangan


as beams, most columns

will experience
concrete-filled holrow sections are serdom used that reliable
in combinationï;i ;h" a¡<iar forJe--ä'it thus important interaction
some amount of bending
available, to be used in appropriate
expressions ro, tr,"--iã*ent resistanr; b;
Lu and Kennedy
sections with flange wall slenderness up to 720i{Gr),
For rectangula¡ hollow are deveroped in the steel
and in the concrete'
(1994) have shown irru, *' plaslig ur.lîio"tr on zuch
*., br*;;rãri t*tltt -d ti;;roposed T?gtl'based
Excellent ""f,iä""d ttr-]i.;ñ;;i.k"" t" i. io thevield value, Fr' and the
stress blocks, when;;;;**
i"r"t in "q,i¿ at túe time of testing' The
was taken to be equal to the concrete urã"Ëi i" ,
concrete stress level ã7 the concrete, increasing
, ,upfoi ã*, other in-tttlärr""r ,"rtt1i1,r "onnn"r reinforced concrete
rwo compon.n ;;rh* than 0'8i of it' as used in
its compresri.,,. ,"riTluî;""ä;;;'À;tiil; inwa¡d Utdti"g tithe steel
wall' thus increasing
time, the concret';;;t*t'
theory. At the same
brrkli"J;;;.-';ht"f";;, rãrtiont exceeding the slenderness
the steel strain at *r,¡.i'ro.¿ ã"".lop tulr plastic moment resistance'
requirement, orcnïrï;;;r, in u.nliöîT"ur.i"
1994)' who
been achieved for circular ho'ow sections @rion and Boehme' although
Similu results have
tubes fiÏed with r,igt, ur.ogtr,
it was found that,
tested very thin steel "on.r.irl
the bond between a smooth P
steel tube and the concrete P buckling -
the D
seems to be unreliable,
ã;,i." generated during
bending ihrough Pinching
was su-fñcient to develoP the ruPture
combined section strengÍtU
using the steel Yield strength (c")
æd the concrete characte-
ristic strength (Fig' 2)' Since Tlever arm
t¡picallY onlY a small Portion I
óf ttre concrete is relied uPon
to provide a balancing com-
pression bloclq the moment
resistance is not very sensl-
tive to the exact shaPe of the
concrete stress block'
a concrete-filled section
Figure 2: Internal forces in


The interaction of moment and axial forces on a concrete-filled steel column is not much unlike
the behaviour of reinforced concrete beam-columns, with a distinct "nose" in the low arial
load/trigh moment region. This is based on a plane strain model assuming perfect bond between
the concrete and steel. Since
considerable slip can occur
between the two materials,
various codes have adoPted
different design approaches.
In lapan one can design ac-
cording to an elastic metho{
-+ .-.i¡¡_¡.-.

which is uzually strength or STEEL SECNON

stiftress governed, or consider
the ultimate strength which is
tlpically the case for earth-
' rp : .¡o'þ l
quake resistant design. In the :,: à !,I,o
'2r'12.1 .q-
latter case it is left uP to the -N'A'
designer to decide how the
í- d:-: Mu= M. + M.
q lç {
loads are divided uP between
concrele glfeates
the concrete and steel, which CONCREIE SECT¡ON

implies that strain compatibility Figure 3: Superposition of intertal forces to resist applied loads
between the concrete and steel
is not required. This is shown
in Figure 3 as the suPer- a Boshme,1989
Y Boehme;1988
position model which rePre- A Tldy,1988
sents a band of accePtable
solutions, the most beneficial superposttlon model Ca=Q
interaction being when the CL
steel tube does not contribute o
in carrying the a,xial load. Test o
results (Prion and Boehme, o
1994) have shown that the superposltlon model Cs=Py
compatible strain model more x
realistically represents the o
behaviour of concrete-filled ]U
steel tubes, although a rela-
tively wide scatter of results =

indicates that still more o

research is required (FiS. 4).
The Canadian code (Canadian,
1995) is more conservative in
that, for rectangular sections, it Fiqr¡re 4: Moment-a¡ial toad interaction

uses an approach not much unlike that
for compact l-sections, where a modest
increase in the interaction diagram exists
with a limit on the moment component
equal to the pure moment case. For
those sections where the moment is
entirely carried by the steel tube (e.g.
circr¡la¡ sections), a linear interaction is
recommended (Fig.a). The benefit of the
a¡rial load to expand the moment capacity
beyond the pure moment resistance is Npl. Rd
thus not permitted.

The European code @urocode 4) has I
adopted an approach not much unlike I
the reinforced concrete model. Roik and Npm.Rd I

Bergmann (1984) have introduced a I

procedure where the interaction curve is I
determined by calculation of a few critical
points through a plastic plane sections
analysis model (Fig. 5), resulting in a Figure 5: Compatible
strain plane secfion interacfion model
curve similar to that of the compatible (Bergmann,1990)
strain model.

From the above it is evident that the moment-axial load interaction

has not been fully accepted in
anl final form by va¡ious codes and that continual change in the codes is to
be expected in ñ¡ture


Connections to concrete-filled hollow sections typically range from

standard steel connections for
small loads to elaborate details that are requiréd to transfer loads
into the concrete core. The
level of complexity depends to alarge extent on the purpose
of the concrete in the steel tube.
the concrete has been added for stiffness, fire ptot""iion or to prevent
the tube from crushing at
the connectio4 standard connection details ." since the load in the member is
primarily carried by.the tube. "ppropriate

when the concrete, and possibly additional reinforcement, a¡e called

upon to carry asubstantial
part of the axial (or bending) load, it must be assured that a proper
load transfer ossurs from the
adjoining beams into the concrete core. Since the concrete is ablä
to carry a suUstantiA load in an
efficiently designed member, the required wall thickness of the hollow
structural section is often a
slender (class 4) element, with limited capacity to accept targe shear
and moment forces.

Multi-storey concrete-filled sections, although carrying a significant load

in the bottom storeys, do
not experience very large connection forces at each-storey level, as
the total load is graáudly

introduced over atl the storey connections. For such moderate moment a¡rd shea¡ loads, it is often
possible to design a "skin connectiori" with no direct load transfer to the concrete. lhe usr.¡al
steps must be taken to assure that the steel wall will be able to carry the conc€ntrated loads.
Since local buckling is largely prevented by the concrete core, it is tlryically acceptable to use the
full yield capacity of the steel wall. The amount of friction between the steel wall and the
concrete core is uzuqlly adequate to transfer the load into the concr€te over the height of a storcy.

For low-rise buildings where the majority of the arial load is transfened into a column through a
small number of connections, it might not be sufficient to connect to the steel wall only. A direct
load transfer to the concrete core through bearing will be required. This obviousþ requires the
penetration of the steel wall, which adds to the complexity of the connection. Several methods
have been proposed in the literature.

Breit and Roik (1981) have proposed a method where vertical steel tabs pass through the steel
tube, often with cirq¡lar holes cut out of the steel plates to enhance the bearing area on the
concrete core. This method is especially sr¡itable for simple connections where only the web of a
beam is connected to the tab. Becar¡se of the relatively long vertical cr¡t into the steel u¡bg
confinement of the concrete in this critical region will be lost unless the tube is welded to the steel
tabs along the slot.

One way to avoid the loss of confinement is to use circr¡lar ba¡s to penetrate the steel tube, thus
leaving a significant part of the tube intact for confinement of the concrete (Maclellaq 1989).
The steel bars are then welded to whatever connector element is required, uzually a vertical tab
for connection to a beam web. In both cases mentioned, it has been shown that concrete bearing
stresses far in excess ofthe concrete cylinder strength ca¡r be generated, due to the confinement of
the concrete by the steel tube.
concrettfilled HSS
The through-bolt connection method
has been shown to be very effective,
especially when moment forces have to
be transmitted. In this method, ordi-
nary steel connestion details are used
in combination with long bolts that
pass through the column section extended endPlate
(Fig.6). The concrete prevents crush- connection
ing of the steel section and thus endplate connection
permits the bolts to be pre-tensioned
which increases the stiffness of the
connection, especially when subjected
to moments. Confinement of the con-
crete through the steel shell and the
pre-tensioning greatly enhance the
steel beams
compression strength, enabling transfer
of the vertical shear loads by bearing of
the bolts on the surrounding concrete. Figure 6: Through-bolt connection for concrete'filled columns

Tests have shown @rion and Mcl-ellan,1994) that failure tlpically occurs by shearing of the bolts
and a more ductile failure mode will have to be assured through detailing of the beam connection
hardware. Slip of the concrete in the steel tube very seldom occurs because of the relatively small
load carried by the steel shell and the additional friction resistance generated by the bolt pre-

The concept of concrete-filled steel tubes presents an efficient means of repairing or retrofitting
reinforced concrete structures. V/ith the advancement of knowledge about the respon* oi
reinforced concrete structures to earthquake motion" the requirements for confining
reinforcement have increased significantly, leaving thousands of buildings and bridges without Ihe
necessary reinforcement to withstand a strong earthquake. Encasing such members *ittt circr¡la¡
(and sometimes rectangular) steel tubes and filling the gap with cement grout has proven to
be a
cost-effective method of upgrading such deficient structures (Fig.7). The same method has been
used ercensively to repair strustures, mainly bridges, after moderate damage was encountered
during earthquakes in North¡i dge Q99a)
and Kobe (1995).

This method of retrofir has recently been

shown to be an effective method of
retrofining beam-to-column rein-forced
concrete joints (Hoffschild et al., 1993;
Prion and Barak4 1995), which often
were constructed without any tie
reinforcement at all. Round and square
retrofit were both shown to be adequate
to strengthen the joint beyond what was
required. Although the round retrofit
exhibited more favourable strength and
duaility characterisrics, the significantly
higher cost to fabricate such complex
joint sections is probably not justified by
the somewhat superior performance. If
necessary, local reinforcement in re-gions
ofhigh sress experienced with the square
retrofit, was shown to signi-ficantly
improve the per:formance. Figurc 7: Retrofit of ddicient reinforced concrtte columng
beams and joints with grouted steel tubes
fur important issue when retrofining beam-to-column joints, and for that matter, any deficient
structure, is to consider the effect of strengthening part of a structure on the remaining members
of the structure. Since the original steel reinforcement layout was designed for certain moments
and shear forces, the parts of a structure just outside of the retrofit no* right become the weak
Iink in the system. Since, during an earthquake, forces are generated through motion" the weakest
links of a structure will experience displacements that will cause forces beyond yielding. If

newly created weak links are not detailed for a ductile response brittle failures might occur,
rezulting in full or partial collapse of a structure. It is thus prudent to incorporate weak li¡tks or
deliberate plastic hinge locations
u/ithin the retrofit scheme. An
effective means of achieving this ¡¡O
is to cut gaps into the steel shells, Ê
preferably more than one, to z
¿Nsure a ductile energy dissipating
hinge location. The remaining zt¡¡
strips of steel shell were shown to =o
provide adequate confinernent to =
the concrete to prevent spalling ff 'zo
and loss of strength. Experimen- À
tal rezults show that excellent ft.o
ductile behaviour ca¡r be achieved
by repairing weak joint areas and -o.l {.qt o 0s
incorporating plastic hinge zones JOlt{TROTAnOil c[radl
in the retrofit (Fig.8).
Figure 8: Eystereticbehaviour of retrofitted reinfo¡eed conctttc
sect¡on (Eoffschild et eL, 1993)


Concrete-filled nrbes have been shown to be an efficient construction method for several
applications, but primarily as columns in buildings and bridges. Although this method has been
used successfully in China and Japan for many decades, its introduction in North America has
been very slow. The major reason for the reluctance of designers to use concrete-filled steel n¡bes
can primarily be ascribed to the lack of expertise and familiarity in the construction industry and
wittr designerq regarding both member behaviour and connection methods. The lack of
knowledge about the topic and its absence in typical Universþ curricula also play ari importarit
role in the lack of its application.

A¡rother reason for the difference in popularity of concrete-filled tubes is the relative cost of
labour and materials in various parts of the world. In North America it might be more cost-
effective to increase the wall thickness of hollow steel sections instead of engaging in another step
and ñlling the tubes with concrete. In some countries steel is a relatively expensive commodity,
whereas concrete and labour are cheap and readily available, which makes concrete-filled tubes a
prefened choice.

In summary, it remains the desig¡er's decision, whether to use concrete-filled hollow steel
sections or whether unfilled sections would be as efficient. Most important is a good
understanding of the behaviour of concrete and steel as these two materials interact to resist
forces in a combined manner. Not only the elastic behaviour is of importance, but frequently the
response of members and structural systems under actions that result in excursions beyond the
proportional limit, requires designers to consider factors such as ductility and cyclic response.


Bergmanr¡ R. 1990. Composite Columns, IABSE Short Course, Composite Steel-Concrete

Construction and Eurocode 4, Brussels, 39-68.

Boehme, J. 1988. Behaviour of Circular Steel Tubes Filled with High Strengrth Concrete
Subjected to Bendin-e, Bachelor Thesis, Department of Civil Engineering University of Toronto.

Boehme, J. 1989. Strength of Thin-Walled Circular Steel Tubes Filled with Higùr Strength
Concrete, M.A.Sc. Thesis, Dept. of Civil Engineering, University of Toronto, l70pp.

Breit, M. and Roih K. 1981. Momentenfreier Anschluß an Betongeftllte Hohlprofilstätzen -

Experimentelle Untersuchung. Project 52 der Studie
Eisen und Stahl, Düsseldorf.

Limit States Design of Steel Structures, National

Ca¡¡adian Standards Association,. 1994.
Standard of Canad4 CAII/CSA-SI6.l-94, Rexdale, Ontario.

T. lg76.Theory of Beam-Columns Votume

Chen, W.F. and Atsuta, l: In-Plane Behavior and
Dgstg4 McGraw-Hill, New York, pp.413417.

Dunberry, E., Leblanc, D. and Redwood, R.G. 19S7. Cross-section Strength of Concrete-Filled
HSS columns at Simple Beam connections, can. J. civ. Eng., vol 14, pp.4o}4l7

Eurocode 4. 1990. Design of Composite Structures, Technical Paper R65, Annex d

Calculation Method for Resistance ofDouble-symmetrical Composite Cross-Sections in
Combined Compression and Bending", Bochum, Germany.

Furlong R.W. 1968. esign of Steel-Encased Concrete Beam-Colunrns. Journal of the Strucn¡ral
Division. ASCE, 94(ST I ), Proc. Paper 57 61, 267 -281 .

Gardner, N.J., and Jacobsen, E.R. 1967. Structural Behaviour of Concrete Filled Steel Tubes,
ACI Journal, Proc., &(7),404413.

Hoffschild, T.E., Prioq H.G.L., Cherry, S. 1993. Retrofitting Reinforced Concrete Joints with
Grouted Steel Tubes, Proc. Tom Paula]¡ S]'mp., Univ. Southern Calif, La Joll4 Sept. 1993

Johnson, R.P. 1975. Composite Structures of Steel and Concrete Vol. l:Beams. Columns.
Frames and Applications in Building, Constrado Nomograph, Crosby Lockwood Staples,
Granada Publishing L¡d., London.

Knowles, RB. and Parh R. 1969. Strength of Concrete Filled Steel Tubular Columns, Journal of
the Structural Division, ASCE, 95(STl2), Proc. Paper 6936,2565-2587-

Knowles, RB. and Parh R 1970. Ardal Load Design for Concrete Filled Steel Tubes, Journal of
the Structural Division, ASCE, 96(5T10), Proc. Paper 7597,2125-2153.

Lu, Y.Q and Kennedy, D.J.L. 1994. The Flen¡ral Behaviour of Concrete-Filled Hollow Structural
Sections, Can. J. Civ. Eng., 2l(l), I I l-130.

Mclellan, AB. 1989. Behaviour of Beam Connections for Hollow Circ¡lar Steel Tube Columns
Filled with }figh Strength Concretg B.ASc. Thesis, Dept. ofCivil Engineering Universþ of

Neog, P.K., et al. 1969. Concrete-Filled Tubular Steel Columr¡s Under Eccentric Loading; The
Structural Engineer. 47 (5), I 87- I 95.

Priorl H.G.L., Boehme, J. 1994. Thin-Walled Steel Tubes Filled q,ith HiSb Strength Concrete,
Can. J. of Civ. Eng.. V.21,pp.207-218

Prioq H.G.L., Baraka, M. 1995. Grouted Steel Tubes as Seismic Retrofit for Beam to Column
Joints, Proc. 7th Can. Conf. on Earthquake Eng., Montreal, Que., Jun. 1995, 871-878.

Priort H.G.L., Mclellar¡ A"B. 1994. Through-Bolt Connections for Concrete-Filled Hollow
Structural Steel Sections, Proc. Strucn¡ral Stability Research Council Annual Tectrnical Meetine.
fune 1994,239-250.

Raridall, V. and Foot, K. 1989. tügh-Strength Concrete for Pacific First Centeç Concrete '

International. pp. 14-16.

Ranga¡UB.V. and loycg M.1992. Strength of Eccentrically Loaded Slender Steel Tubular
Columns with High-strength Concretg ACI Structural lournal. V. 89, No. 6, 676{,81.

Roih K. and Bergmann, R. 1984, Composite Columns - Design Examples for Construction" 2d
US-Japan Sem. Compos. Struct., Seattle, July.

Tomii, M., et at. 1977. Experimental Studies on Concrete filled Steel Tubula¡ Stub-Columns
under Concentric
Dvnamic Loads, ASCE, 718-741.

Tidy, M.S. 1998. Hollow Circular SteelTube Columns Filled with High Strength Concrete.
Bachelor Thesis, Department of Civil Engineering University of Toronto.

Virdi, K.S., and Dowling, P.J. 1980. Bond Strength in Concrete Filled Steel Tubes, IABSE
Periodica, Internat. Assoc. for Bridge and Structural Engineering, 125-139.


R. M. Bent"


commonly used to
Although weldabitity has no universally accepted definition, the term is
describe the relative ease with which a steel may be
joined. Physical factors such as base metal
design aspects such as
chemistry, preheat, and filler metal must be selected with care. similarly,
must receive
electrode consumption, joint configuration, weld type, and general accessibility
designer must ensure that the
equal consideration. To áchieve the above criteria with HSS, the
joining members satisfy the geometric parameters (relative dimensions and wall thickn¿ss) to
joints welded
äpti*iä¡oint efficiency ano lú¿ capacity. The design will thus feature accessible
frllets, a competitive edge that car¡not be easily surpassed by the of minimum
wittr simple _concept
weig¡t. îwo points, however, ruti be appreciated: (1) not all structures lend themselves to HSS,
and (2\, an arbitrary substituiion of one itSS member for another
seldom succeeds, even if the
substitute has an equivalent load carrying capacity. The stntctuml
engineer's choice of member
size and joint orientation will predetermine both the quality and
economy of the final weldment'


General Properties
ln car¡ada, the most commonly used HSS conforms to csA G10.21-350W, class H'
The 350"
good weldability (carbon
indicates a yield strengrtr or¡io Mpa (50 Ksi), while the flt"indicates
equivalent mean of 0l¿0, with a ma:rimum of 0.44). Cf* H tubular steel
is made by: (1) a
(2), a seamless or
såmless or continuous welding process and hot formed to final shape, or
automatic welding process ptøuðing a continuous weld, and cold formed to
final shape, then
subsequentty stress relieved at 850;F., cooling in air. Tables l and 2
give the chemical
.o*poìition and physical properties of "350'W" and several other grades'
The majority of welding on HSS structures is done with the following three
o shielded MetaiArc Welding (sMAlV) -- a conventional manual process with
electrodes; the weld metal is protected by gases and flux produced as the rod melts.
Although the rate of weld deposition is somewhat low and varies considerably
with each
welder, the overall versatility over a wide range of applications and the relative ease of
set up maintain the popularity of "stick welding''

. Flux Cored Arc lvelding (FCAW) -- another semi-automatic process that uses a hollow
continuous wire f,rlled with flux and other chemicals; the weld is protected either
by an
the electrode
extemally applied gas (commonly COr) or a self-shielding gas generated as

" Senior Welding Engineer, Welding Institute of Canada, Oakville, Ontario

melß. The deposition rate of FCAW is about riple that of SMA\ry, generating a high heat input.
On thicker walled HSS, this process is extremely effective.

llSS-Chcrnic¡l r.gu¡r.rn ln¡

Ctrartlcal rrqul'lmcnts hcaf aneryst€ tpêrën0

sl¡nr¡nl I o*t rrr"t. I Mî P ílar S nrar Sr
I .lùn.lüS.ù fu¡¡t ¡¡Ð Ct¡
sÉ{¡¡.U.e¡-MBt I 3X¡W
I ssow
II 35{¡WT
I gsoun
I 350r"'
0.10 rnar.
0.t0mü. 0ã)o.6{)
t- m¡¡
I ¡sor¡" oã 0.75n.35 0.txl O.O¡l 0.15r0.¡l{, 0.lO mâr. 020/0.60
b-mnrt TOnnr

ASlì¡ A50O
: Gr.A oâ o.oa 0.05 0¿0flit.'¡
I cr.g 0:6 0.0a

I: o.c oâ
r35 ma¡. 0.0.3
- o.o5 0¿Onh.'â
f îræ
ll ffi E tffi ry Ð G t t¡''. t. æ É D ÞE Fñaa nEÈ G E r ffi rt
lE t'ct D l' m h Eæ r dr o. l¡ m. rErt. r ñ ætø rr
æaæ tr 9ñrtrr æ ¡¡t Ð Eñ Fr. E E ffi ..ñt lrúrn D c DÞ
fi¡Ctædo¡Offi @ rÐ É,qrDyñffi ot gË
l¡l firæEcffid E EÞO{O,åÉ
lat!brEG.SËr. 'EffiüÐ

Table 1: HSS Chemical Requirements

Gas Metat Arc Wslrling (GMAIV) - a semi-automatic process similar to FCAW, with
a continuous solid wire
electode. The weld is protected
by externally applied inert gases
such as lñVo Argon or Helium,
or, mixh¡res such ¡rs Argongl%o
I Oxygen 5Vo. The deposition
21 rates are almost ¿ts high Írs
z1 FCAW; however, p,roductivity is
21 sensitive to changes in operating
zÐ'l 8t parameters such as wire feed
æt¡ æ speed, amperage, etc. The
2;' quality is excellent, but the
28 a process is demanding on the
welder. the soon be In to
ralslæ ffi
lstsææ E!ÐEE.æü
E æffi É d m@ ll
F mc.@rÇ@¡ãìg. '!ørrdlt
ñæF E released CSA Standard tV59-
1996, Welded Srcel
Table 2: HSS Mechanical Properties
Corutntcdon, GWAÌW will
become a prequalified process.

Prequalified welding procedures and joints translate into substantial savings because no
qualification welds, subsequent æsting, nor PQR's are required (Figure la) however, a written
WPS is mandatory. Not only are the savings to the fabricator substantial, but there is now one
less thing to worry about. The joints are detailed in Sec.l0 of CSA W59 (Figure lb).

Procedure Test

Two methods Written welding

of support
Prequalified joints
plus procedural

Figure la: Prequalified Procedurcs

Thus, with three proven welding processes using

prequalified procedures on the highly weldable
"350W" HSS base material, the fabricators begin the
job under conditions that not only offer flexibilify but
also an opportunity to reduce capital costs. Now, if
the stnuctu¡e has utilized the special design guidelines
for HSS member selection, the prospects will also . 6 ñm mrn. lot -V '

bode well for:

o high joint efficiency

o high qualify
o high production Fïgure lb: Prequalified Joint


General Clhservations
Fillet ar¡d/or groove welds
(usually without a backing bar)
are commonly used in HSS
fabrication. Either weld qpe
can easily develop the fuX
capacity of the HSS wall. For
example, the two fillet welds
in Figure 2 just match the
maximum load of the member
- this balanced design sets an
upper boundary on the weld
size. A misconception held by
many designers is that "a 100%
weld' must be a CJPG weld,
when in realiry a parr of simple
Figure 2 : Balanced Design
fillet welds will likely suffice.

Fillet lVelds
Ease of welding and minimum joint preparation and fitup requirements make the fillet weld the
first choice, Fillet welds are used almost exclusively in web-to-chord truss connections. They
are frequently used in T-joint configurations of Vierendeel truss€s (Figure 3). Researchen (l)
have established that unreinforced equal widttr HSS connections can in some instances achieve full
moment transfer. For an unstiffened connection both strength and flexural rigidity decrease as
bo I to increases nd \ I Q

Connections with bt=bo

and a low bo /
to agproach
full rigidity, but all other
unstiffened connections
shall be classed as semi-
rigrd Ø. Joints with
unequal chord widths may
be reinforced to improve
performance: several
methods have been
evaluated (3), with the flat
plaæ fillet welded to the
chord being especially

It is generally more
economical to substitute a
combination groove and
reinforcing fillet if the
required fi.llet size l2.7mm
('h"), as shown in
Figure 4.

Figure 3: Vierendeel Tn¡ss lÞtails

Groove lVelds
Groove welds a¡e classified as either complete penetration or partial penetration. CSA W59 has
strict criteria of what constitutes a CJPG weld (Figure 5) and a PJPG weld (Figure 6). A groove
weld welded from one side only must be done by a welder with a valid 'T" ticket. The procedure
is not prequalified. Deails for prequalified groove joints in circular tubular steel may be found
in A}ryS Dl.l Structural Wglrling Code, Section 10 (prior to 1966 rærganization of the code).
ln general, the material preparation and fitup is often time-consuming, making groove welds very

Groove welds are sometimes used in place of filret werds in the
following circumstances :
1/2 in.
(13 mm)
To achieve the required weld throat when ,n. ¡orn, geometry
precludes using a fillet (Fîgure Ð.

To reduce weld weight. For example, the weight of

deposited weld mehl on a T-joint having a wall thickness
WELD AREA = 0.25 in2
of l2.7mm would require a 1" f,rllet at l.9Z lb/ft.
(l6O mmzl However, a l2.5mm groove weld with a 12.5mm
reinforcing fillet would use only half the weld metal
(similar to Figure 4).

1/2 in. 2. To make bun joint splices between two HSS members,
ll3 mm¡
preferably with a backing bar (Figur€ E). Splices
utilizing flange plates should usê a groove/fillet,
especially for highly stressed tension members (chord of
truss). See Fïgure 9: the tube has a groove reinforced
with a fillet, providing extra strength and a bener overall
WELD AREA = 0.13 in2 joint contour.
(8O mm:¡

Figure 4: Reduced Arca

wekled lrom on€ s¡d€ wlth steel bactcing

wetct on ftsl (preDarod) ide bæk gcugÚìg to go¡Jnd cÉ¡îÞþtim of w?ld fÎfit
trorî oúìor sEa
rnoE|l sosrd s¡da

Fþre 5: CJPG Welds

prepafed 10
lacilitate tusion
¡nto vert¡cal wall
ard develop larger

íiernber bu¡ld up
ptaneofnoat /
0= 9f (PJPG)

Figurc 7: Contour Radfu¡sed Cotrer

Flgr¡re 9: Reinforrced Groove lVeld

ngr¡re 6: PJPTG lVelds

a) penefaüon tess b) welcted from one skle c) welcled from boü sides
üan compteÞ withoutsteet bactdng wiüout bad<gouging

Racking Rars
Backing bars are generally not required.
They are difficult to fit and do not add
strength. Two exceptions would be:

1. Butt joint qplices, Íts already \


2. When both the web and chord

have the same width, especially if
the gap is large at the radiused
corner of the chord. @gure 10) Figure t: Butt Splice With Backing

From the preceding discussion, the welds in order
of preference are:

. Fillet welds

o Partial penetration groove welds (PJPG)

o Complete penetration groove welds

(CJPG), with backing

o Special PJPG weld made from one side

without backing, in accordar¡ce with
Appendix L, CSA \ry59, which defines it
as CJPG weld under static loading
@gure 11).

Iïgure 10: IVidth Mismatch

3e s t< gfr 6æ < a< 90"

Opcn Side Acute S¡do

'I whent= *"tn= |l?n" whant)r/.": 9 ' t/tclo 7/ç


Fìgure 1l: HSS CJPG Weld, Appendix L of CSA W59, Static I¡¿¡ling OnIy


The Gap "Ioitt¡ shown in Figure 12, connecting the truss chord and web members, illustrates an
optimum fabrication. The gap joint here requires only a single cut, a single pass fillet weld
around the web, no gr,ove preparation or backing bar, no gusset plate, with easy fitup and ample
access. Note that the webs are thin- walled, marginally less wide than the chord, two essential
factors. Compare it to the conventional joint configuration in Figure 12a.

\ileight of Iìeposited lVeld Metal

Besides of easy fabrication conditions, the
optimum joint minimizes the amount of
ì deposited weld metal. There a¡e at least three
factors that can influence this objective.
t l. Angle between web and member.
2. Thickness of HSS wall being welded.
3. Method of design used to size the

.Ioint Angle
r+ Fillet welds vary from 60o to 120'; PJPG
I welds are used elsewhere. The ratio between
weld size and throat size varies with the weld
angle, as shown in Fïgure 13 (SectÍon 3 of
the CISC Ilandbook of Steel Construction).
For the same resistance, larger welds are
required for obtuse angles than for acute
angles. On the same page, CISC Figure 3-f 1
Itigure 12: Optim¡¡m Ç¡p Joint has a Table that shours the minimum 90" weld
leg size for the given ranges of wall thickness
getween 60-90", which is useful for comparing the throat sizes of skewed fillets. Note: Heel
welds at joint angles less than 30' do not contribute to the load sharing.

IISS lVall Thickness

In CISC Table 342 the minimum weld size is æt according to the wall thickness (Figure 13a).
This can result in a weld leg that is significantly oversized, having a capacity considerably greater
than the web member being joined. However, the Code also specifies that the weld næd not
exceed the thickness of the thinner part being joined. This criteria is obviously an advantage for
welding thin walled HSS.

hernative to OPtimrrm HSS Joint


prequalified Weld Si'e ,-.^--.^t:c^)¡nn¡mr fnr cizins finet werd that

l,*,s apreqwwconcept for sizing a
For 350 Mpa tubes with gap joints, the Irw
matches the capacity of t¡'. *.u; set
the ,n*ã qøto r'i'ito the web thickness' The Canadian
in ar¡
Codes, using the minimum leg sizr^
¿.æ,'inø uy various thickness mnges, would result
equivalent throat value of L46t'

Calculated Weld Size - -,^- to carry the actuar road- In theory,

weld size needed
The arternative method is to carculate the required weld
bnstharound the tube todetermine the
simply divide the member load by n" nlu accounted for' as per
sides o1the web member should be
resistance per unit length. The sloped
Figure 14.

effective rength óonsists of the rwo longitudinal
angle. when t¡e cnord angle is 60o or
*ãi* the
sides and the width along the toe, butttre
trál weld shourd be considered completely ineffective'
on the
weld length can now be calculated, and the necessary weld size calculated
The effective
basis of aPPlied loading'

Transversely I oaded fillets to the

resistance of filtet welds varies according
In the current øition of csA s16.1M-g4, the
in tension transverse to the weld axis increases
orientation of the apptied stress. The resistance no
attaining a maximum .i 90' (Figure l5)' This is a 50Vo increase' There is
with the angle,

change in weld strength when loaded parallel to the weld axis. The new formula allows the
designer to poæntially reduce weld sizes for advantage weld/load orientations. The effects of the
new equation occur between 50' and 90". For T-joints, CSA values would possibly approach or
surpass the II1V values. The equation is given by:

V,=0.67Q ¡\nX,( I .00

+Q. 5Osint'50)


Eltcüavr Thro¡t:- Effectivc Thro¡t:-
T-5mmlo¡ 0-3Ooro44o T>0.7075
1- 3 mm lor g -45o to 59o as per TaUe 4.2
in W59'M89

-eelseJiL* - r's'

Dctail A Detail B
d - 30o to 59o á = 600 to 9Oo
Effecrive Throa¡:
- T = O.7O7S Effec¡ive Throar - T

1X,¡- S Add¡tio.ì!l
Prap¡r¡tion to
Dcrclog lrrgnr
ils Th¡o¡t

Chord \ cnoø
Mcmber lVlcmþcr
Built Up Euilt Up
Dct¡il C Detail D
0 -9Oo g-90"
Eflec¡ive Thro€t: T= 0.707 ¡ F¡ S Effec¡ive Throat: t for0 = l35o
- -
Tctloc0= 1360to
r-¡\ ¡
T>t for 0= 121o to l34o

rso- I
e 91-100 10r-106 107.1 r3 r r4-t20
F o.95 0.90 0.85 0.80 xTY
Dctril E Dctail F
0 - 91o ro 1200 = to t50o
r-i H 121o

Figure 13: Prequalified Joints, CSA W59

90o Fillet Size þ Develop Wall Strength
Table g-42
E480XX Fillet Welds Fy = 350 MPa

Wall Filter Leg Si¡e

Thickncss lmml
{mm) Wall in Sheer Wall in Ten!¡on

3.8r 6 I
4.78 I l0
6.35 r0 14
7.95 12 r8
9.53 14 20
t 1.13 r6 24
12.70 r8 26

Frgure 13a: CISC Table of Minimnm Fillet Wetd



Figure f4: Iængth of lVeld Includes Effect ;f St"p"


Nasty Prohlem
Flare bevel groove weld¡ formed by setting
an HSS member against a flat are not prequalified
in canada' The poor tolerances on tne ,"diu,
of square and rectangular sections precludes a

direct measurement of the
penetration. Thus, there is an
added cost to qualify the
procedure, ensuring that the
required throat can be attained by
using appropriate welding
procedures. At present, CSA
W59 is working on statistical data
to develop a mathematical
relationship benveen visible
dimensions in terms of the HSS
radius. Not being prequalified,
Tron¡vc¡sc Lood one must pay for procedure

Fïgurc 15: Transversely l,oaded Fillets are Stronger


This short paper can only touch on a few topics with respect to the welding of HSS. One should
remember the fundamental distinction between the resistance of welded joints and the resistance
of conneaio¡ts. The connection has a resisance (as a function of the geometric parameters) which
is often less the capacity of tt¡e member. That resisance cannot be increased by adding additional
welding because the extra weld will not be effective in transferring load through the connection.
Such extra weld is wasteful, and could cause harm through the unnecessary introduction of extra
heating, shrinking, and restraint.

Thus it is somewhat ironic that the design guidelines for choosing connection and joint efficiencies
also result in conditions that a¡e ideal for an optimum fabrication, both in terms of quality and


l. Cran J. A.; Gibson E.B.; Stadnycþi S. 1981, 2nd eÅ. Hollow Structural Sections,
Design Manual for Connections; Stelco Inc.
2. Packer, J.A.; V/ardenier, J; Kurobane, Y; Dutta, D.; Yeomans, N. 1992. Íresign Guide
tror Rectangrrlar Flollow .section (RF{.S) Joints lInder Orertominantly Static I oadin&
CIDECT, Germany. ISBN 3-8249-0089-0
3. Frater,G.S.; Packer, J.A. 1990. l-tesign of Fillet Wetdments for ÉIollow Structural Section
Trusses- CIDECT REPORT No. 5AN/2-90173; ISBN 0-7727-7570-2. University of

_l Connecrions. CISC. ISBN G.8881147G6. Universal Offset Limited, Markham, Ontario.
'I 5. Koral, R.M.; Mitd, H.; Mirza, F.A. 1982. Plate Reinforced Square Hollow Section T-
Joins of Unequal Width, Canadian Journal of Civil Engineering, Vol.9, No.2, pp. 143-
6. International Institute of Welding Subcommission XV-E, Design Recommendations for
Hollow Stn¡ctral Joins Predominantly Statically loaded,2nd ed., IfW DOC. XV-701-
7. Cran, J.A.; 1pg! Waren and Pratt Truss Connections, Weld Gap aFd OverlaP Joints
Using Rectangular Chord Memhers. Technical Bulletin 22, Stelco Inc.
8. CEN/TC l2lts1 4/WG 6 No 24; Welded Connections - Part Steel 'Structures' (Finat
Draft) Part D, pp.22-29.
9. CISC Handbook of Steel Construction, Fifth Edition, 1993.
10. AWS Dl.l-1994 Structural Welding Code - Steel, Section 10
11. CSA Standard 516.l-94 Limit States Design of Steel Structures
12. CSA Standard W59 rù/elded Steel Construction


J. E. Henderson


Hollow structural sections (IISS) are bent by rolling or by mechanical means to create
curved sections for aesthetically pleasing structures. Smaller radii are increasingly attainable
with improved bending techniques. Bolting other structural members to HSS sections has
long been constrained due to the inaccessibility of the interior. Various blind bolting
solutions exist, but only recently have products with promising stnrctural and economical
performance emerged. For some applications, an alternative to welding or bolting HSS may
be power-driven nailing a method that has recently been demonstrated to be practical.



Curved HSS are used by designers to create a wide variety of original and aesthetically
pleasing structures. While architects and engineers have been taking greater advantage of
this potential, industry has been developing increased capability for curving HSS.

Hollow structural sections can be bent either cold or hot. Rolling or mechanical bending is
used for cold curving while induction heating is generally preferred for hot curving.

Cold rolling square and rectangular HSS with conventional three-roll machines was studied
for CIDECT (Comité Internatiotnl pour le Développement et I'Etude de la Constntction
Tubulaire) in 1988, and reported in the Packer and Henderson guide (Ref. l). Curvature
was limited by wall distortion of the sections, which quickly became excessive. Howeveç
with custom rollers that better support the section, much smaller radii are presently being
rolled. WhiteFab Inc. of Birmingham, Alabama reports that they have newly patented
equipment that holds and bends the HSS by means of hydraulic grips and cylinders, a
process they find more precise and more economical than rolling.

When cold forming a given size HSS, tighter curves are possible with increasing wall
thicknesses. Some slight concave distortion of the wall that is next to the inside of the arc
usually occurs, but the other three walls generally remain true. Mechanical properties are
altered by the cold work associated with rolling, so that ductility after rolling is less than

Principal. Henderson Engineering Services. Milton. Ontario, Canada. ted.henderson@canrem.com

before and ultimate strengfh is higher. The stress-strain relationship
below yield level is not
significantly affected.

Induction heating is used to produce precise complex bends in large

and heavy shapes as
well as in conventional structural sections. Examiles are2 to 12 inch
diameter pipe with
walls up to 1.5 inches thick bent to radii from 5 io 60 inches, and
lz to 66 inch diameter
walls up to 4 inches thick bent ro radii from 40 to 3g4 inches,
{ne- ¡tttr as quoted by
NAPTech Inc. of Clearfield, Utah.


Section Radius Process Sect¡on Radius Process
(m) (m)
ROUND HSS d xt (mm) RECTANGULAR HSS (bent about y-y axis)
60.3 x 5 0.4 Rolling 152x51x6.4 1.8 Mechanical
114.3 x 6.3 0.7 Rolling 152x102x6.4 2.1 Mechanical
168.3 x 10 0.9 Rolling 203x51 x6.4 3.1 Mechanical
219.'l x 12.5 1.1 Rolling 203x1O2x6.4 2.4 Mechanical
254x102x9.5 2.4 Mechanical
SOUAREHSS hxb xt(mm) 304x102x9.5 2.4 Mechanical
CUXCUXþ 0.6 Rolling 406x102x9.5 3.7 Mechanical
76x76x6.4 1.2 Rolling 406x203x9.5 10.4 Mechanical
100x100x6.3 1.1 Rolling
102x102x6.4 1.8 Mechanícal RECTANGUI-AR HSS (bent about x-x axis)
102x102x9.5 1.5 Rolling 102x51 x6.4 1.8 Mechanical
102x102x9.5 2.8 Mechanical 52x51x6.4 1.8 Mechanical
127 x 127 xg.5 1.8 Rolling 152x102x9.5 1.8 Mechanical
152x152x9.5 2.0 Mechanical 203x51 x6 4 2.4 Mechanical
152x152x9.5 2.1 Rolling 203x152x64 2.3 Mechanical
150 x 150 x 10 1.4 Rolling 203x152x9.5 2.9 Mechanical
150x150x12.5 3.0 Rolling 254x51x6.4 3.1 Mechanical
152x152x12.7 2.1 Mechanical 250 x 150 x 12.5 9.0 Rolling
203x203x6.4 4.9 Mechanical 250x102x9.5 3.8 Mechanical
203x203x9.5 3.1 Mechanical 254 x203 xg.5 7.5 Mechanical
203x203x9.5 4.9 Rolling 305x102x9.5 3.5 Mechanical
200 x200 x 12.5 2.0 Rolling 305x203x9.5 4.9 Mechanical
203x203x12.7 3.7 Rolling 305x203x12.7 9.2 Rolling
254x25ax9.5 7.0 Mechanical 406x102x9.5 8.6 Mechanical
254 x25a x 9.5 15.3 Rollino 406x203x12.7 19.9 Rolling
254 x254 x 12.7 9.2 Rollino
305x305xi2.7 12.2 Rollinq
356x356x9.5 23.5 Mechanical

Table 1: some representative radii of curvature for cord bent HSS

Examples of HSS Curvatures

It is difficult for companies that bend steelto provide a complete range of minimum radii for
curving HSS because of the number of variables involved. They can however provide
examples of curvatures produced in the past and opinions as to what is likely feasible with a
particular section. Table I gives a representative listing of some recent cold forming results
that have been reported to the author.



Huck Internæional Inc. market a high strenglh blind bolting (HSBB) assembly with
structural performance intended to match A325 bolts. Figure I shows the unit inserted into
a holg both before and after tensioning. The tensioning operation consists of a hydraulic
gun being used to pull on the pintail while the gun $pages a collar onto the threaded bolt.
At the end of the operation a sleeve under the bolt head has deformed to prevent the head
from pulling back through the hole, and the pintail has snapped off

Figure 1: Huck HSBB (a) before tensioning (b) after tensioning

Due to geometry, a 20 mm HSBB unit (actually 21.5 mm) matches a f inch (19 mm)
diameter A325 bolt, and is used in a 22 mm hole in the HSS. This is less clearance than is
customary with 4325 bolts. The actual bolt within this HSBB is about 15 mm diameter.
Huck International reports that the 20 mm HSBB has minimum specified tensile strengÍh,
clampingforce,andshearstrength oî 192kN, l30kNandgl kNcomparedwith 178 Iò1,
125 kN and 98 kN (threads intercepted) respectively for I inch A325 bolts.

Huck International recently announced
commercial availability of a re-designed
known as the ultra-Twist blind boii HSBB
wr,icn is installeJ with a ,t"na"r¿-.Ëctric
wench (as used for. twis.t-off type bolting
uoitg rather tnan w¡tt¡ a hydraulic wrench.
Twist is used in holes ft6 inch-íarger The ultra
that the ourer ¿¡a.Lt", of the unit,
conventional clearances for fit-up. which provides
w¡tr:. these features, it is expected
it a more attractive product that erectors wi, find
than the original HSBB. i¡"-inrtull"tion
Figure 2' Independent tests have sequence is shown in
confirm-ed that ¡""u.ä pltension
ultra-Twist %, % and r inch fasteners exceed and ultimate rension of
the requirements of A325 borts.

Japan seems to be the-biggest potential

market for the ultra-Twist, and
approval there that will mean tire product Huck are expecting
conforms ,o r.pun', high tension
bort standard.

The U-TRA.TV/¡ST btino ¡3¡ ,g The bacKrde buto is fuily

As the instaltaton ¡oad
¡nstat¡ed lrom one srde oí lhe formed rn the ai lo a uniform Conlinued torquing of the unit
increases. a spectal ¡ntern¿l
slfuclure by a srnole opefatof. diameter regardtess of gflp. develops the required clamp and
lhe washef sheafs ailorMng the
¡ns¡al,ation loot is he the lorque pintail snears of.
backside bulb lo come tnto
standard eleclric shear rrrench completing the instailat¡on.
tooling used for rnslaltatron ol
conlact with the work surface
Us;ng a standard S60EZ shear
Twist.olT Controt f¡-C.| tv0e and lot All Clamp load to go rnto wrench. ¡nslal¡alron l¡me for a
the work slructure.
fasteners. The f¿stener ¡s 3/4- faslener is agpror¡mately
insenec and lne toot sng¿qs6 30 seconds.

Figure 2: tnstallation sequence for Huck

ultra-Twist blind bolt


HSBBs both individuarv and in end prate

f#!j íå írfå::,ÍÌ::"" momenr conne*ions

In tension tests of rigid-butt plate

connedions, 20 mmHSBBs and 3/
allowed separation-:Iht plates inch,\325bolts both
to-¡nbegin at a load about equar to the
Thereafter' the HSBBs blhaved specified pretension.
deformed) than did the A325
ror. I
ductile manner (as the Hsng
uolts. eli.xceeded specifieJ urri,n.r.
tension strength.
Moment connections using w360x33
beams bolted through I g mm
12'7 Hss were used to tãtp*" end plates to 203x203x
moment-.otation behavturs of
HSBBs and 3/ inch 4325 úott' connections with 20 mm
nominal plastic moment capacity
results were essentiaily
rd¡'¡y ru'nrlcal
identicar we¡
well beyond the
of the beams.

When similar moment connections using 254x254 HSS with 9.5 and ll.l
mm walls were
tested, it was demonstrated that punching shear of the HSS wall around the HSBB
deformed sleeve under its bolt head becomes a consideration for ultimate strength.
(Howeveç one suspects that overall deformation of the connection would govern.)

A¡rother report by the same authors (Ref. 3) includes resutts from the testing of trvo
additional 254x254xll.l HSS specimens. One had a 6 mm doubler plate welded to the HSS
face at the connectiorl and the other was filled with concrete after the connection was
complete. Both (especially the concreted one) showed increased initial stiffiress and far
greater post elastic stiffiress compared to the previous specimen of the same sÞe,

Tabuchi et al (Ref.4) also tested Huck HSBBs, both individually and in full scale moment
connections using either tees on beam flanges or end plates. Connections incorporated four
angles welded around the HSS column as shown in Fþre 3. The HSS was 300x300x16,
the angles 200x200x25 (trimmed to fit with their toes welded to the HSS and partially
together), and the beam was 45Ox200 mm. Design formulae were developed and verified.

A two storey building in Japan nno bays (15 m total) wide by six bays (3S in total) long was
one of the early structures erected using the above type of end plate moment connections.


Korol et al concluded that the HSBB moment connections weÍe similar to those using
bolts, in terms of stiffiress, moment capacit¡ and ductility ^325

Tabuchi et al concluded that the ratio of separation load to preload of HSBBs is about 0.9;
that the strength and prying action behaviour of HSBBs is comparable to Japanese high
strengfh bolts; that the connections exhibited excellent hysteresis loops; and that moment
connections with end plates were superior to those with tees on the beam flanges.

SHS column

Figure 4: Hollo-BOLT fastener

Figure 3: Schematic of moment connection


Lindapter International (Bradford, U.K.) produces expansion bolts marketed under the
name Hollo-BOLT that are intended for hollow structural section blind bolting. Their
con-figuration is based on a truncated cone with interior threads to accept a high strength
bolt as shown in Figure 4. The 3-piece assembly is inserted into holes in the steelwork and
tightened with conventional tools to draw the cone into a mild steel split sleeve that flares
out to anchor the bolt within the HSS member. A collar on the split sleeve has two flats on
its edge for holding if the unit is inclined to turn during tightening.

Hollo-BOLT was introduced in mid 1995 as a successor to Lindapter's Hollo-fast Inserts

that are similar in action to the Hollo-BOLT. The main difference is that the sleeve of the
Hollo-fast Insert did not have a collar, and the sleeve with its cone was lightly hammered
into a matching hole in the HSS until the outer end of the sleeve was flush with the outer
surface of the HSS. Then the section to be connected was positioned, and the bolt installed
through a normal size hole in that member. The increased shear strength of the Hollo-BOLT
Ooth the bolt and the sleeve are in the shear plane) and the easier field installation make it a
more attractive unit than the earlier Hollo-fast Insert.

Development is continuing with various washers to ensure that Hollo-BOLT connections

are watertight, a fact that suggests the installation pretension is less than that of a
conventional high strength bolt.


A research program sponsored by CIDECT @ef. 5) at Lindapter International and British

Steel in the U.K., and at the Universities of Trento and Genoa in Italy was undertaken in
1995 to quantify the strengfh and utility of Hollo-BOLT fasteners. It continues in 1996.

Shear tests of Hollo-BOLTs have only been completed for Ml2 bolts (12 mm diameter), in
material from 5 to 12.5 mm thick. All results were approximately mid-way between the
strength of 4325M bolts with threads intercepted by and threads excluded from the shear

Tension tests show two types of failures. For l40xl40 HSS with walls less than 8 mm
thick, the material distorts and the bolt anchor eventually pulls through, but only after
excessive deformation of the HSS. For thicker walls, the ultimate failure is by shearing off
of the bent legs of the insert between the inside edge of the hole in the HSS and the cone of
the Hollo-BOLT, apparently at loads larger than those specifìed for 4325M bolts.

Since testing is continuing, conclusions are not available.



The Flowdrill method of creating holes in steel involves the use of a tungsten carbide
smooth-sided drilling bit that tapers from a point to a diameter the size of the intended hole.
Contact of the high speed rotating bit against the work generates heat to soften the metal so
that it extrudes to form a protruding "sleeve" firsed to the inside surface of the tube as the
bit is forced through the wall. The hole in the wall and its "sleevd' are then threaded with a
rolling Flowtap tapping tool, without removal of materiat to accept a conventional high
strength bolt as shown in Figure 5. In effect, the hole and "sleevd' are a nut for the bolt.

The Flowdrill bit in cross section is actually not perfectly round, but some$'hat flattened on
four sides to produce four lobes as indicated in Figure 6, a shape that aids the elÉrusion
process as the metal of the hole is displaced. A slight upset or boss is created on the outside
surface of the material, but that is removed as part of the drilling operation, while the metal
is still soft, by the use of a bit incorporating a milling collar.

Continuing research programs are presently investigating the use of Flowdrilling for
structural bolting of hollow sections.


tl pol.vgon shaped
straight bod-v

V polygon shaped cone


Figure 6: Flowdrill drilling bit

Figure 5: Samples of bolts in Flowdrilled holes


Flowdrilling for bolted HSS connections was examined in 1989 by Sherman (reported
in the
Appendix of Ref. 6), in I993 by Banks (Ref 7), and in 1995 by Éailerini, Bozz,o
Occhi, and
Piazz¿, (Ref 8 and Ref 9).

Sherman evaluated ftinch to I inch diameter A325 bolts in HSS having wall
ranging from one half the bolt diameter to approximately one third the bolt diameter
(that is,
d/t ratios from 2.0 to about 3). In all cases, the bolt sheâr strengths exceede d o.Tztimes
specified ultimate bolt tension, whether the bolts were just snug tight or were pretensioned.
Tensile strengths exceeded specified bott tensile resistances foi ¿i bolts excep
t for l( inch
ones, which were loose fitting (apparently as a result of a combination of
Flowdrilling tools and imperial bolts).

Banks investigated Flowdrilling for M20 bolts (20 mm diameter) used in HSS walls
from 5
to 12.5 mm thick.

Threads produced by the Flowtap tool matched ISo profiles (except that
the crown of each
th¡ead was somewhat incomplete) and were metallurgically sound with good
toughness. A
substantialincrease in the strength of materialaroundilowdrilled holes
rJsulted frõm partial
refining of the microstructure in the th¡eade d area due to heat generated
by the piocess
(approaching 8000 C). Thickness of the parent metal had little
effect on the length of the
extruded "sleeve", which was generally I I to 13 mm long. Rather,
the increased amount of
displaced metal from thicker material produced "sleeves"-with thicker

In direct tension tests, bolts in 8, l0 and 12.5 mm thick material exceeded tensile
specified for lvl20 .^325M bolts. Those in 6.3 mm material failed at 93 yo,
and those in 5
mm material failed atTl yo of the specified bolt tensile strength. Bolt
shear íests in the same
range ofHSS wall thicknesses all exceeded bolt specification requirements.

Ballerini er a/ (Ref 8) closely examined the Flowdrill process

ar the University of Trento in
Italy by making threaded holes for Ml6, Mt8 andtitzo bolts in each
of HS-S having 6, g
and I0 mm walls. Material was 280 to 340 MPa yield (440 to 4g0
Mpa ultimate).

Hardness testing conducted on thread material gave values

always within the range
specified for structural nuts, confirming that beneficial hardening
results from the heat
generated by Flowdrilling. Optimum drilling parameters (using
a ¿ iw power drill) were in
the range of 700 to 1600 r-p.m. for speed, ánd 0.1 to 0.15 mm/rev.
for spindle feed rate,
resulting in rapid hole drilling. The average length of effective
thread in å, g and I0 mm
material was 72.4, 15.3 and 17.5 mm respecdv;ly and was
only slightly sensitive to the
diameter of the holes. Flatness of 6 mm *uik in 14ó mm square
HSS was not affected, even
when Flowdrilling for M20 bolts.

Water tightness trials of Flowdrill threads treated with a removable sealing product were
conducted with a 1.5 m water head (calculated to represent a thermal gradient of about 40o
C) for 30 days. This demonstrated that both water infiltration and orygen renewal inside
HSS can be prevented where Flowdrilled holes are used. No leakage was observed.

Ballerini el a/ CRef. 9) also performed a series of tests on Ml2, Ml6, Ml8 and lvl20 bolts
lwitfr strengths similar to 4325M bolts) used in HSS walls from 5 to 12.5 mm thick. They
examined thread stripping of Flowdrill holes, plus tension failures and shear failures of bolts
in Flowdrill holes.

The only Flowdrilled holes that failed by thread stripping were those where the ratio of bolt
diameter to material thickness (d/t) was2.9 or greater. It is suggested that a mæ<imum value
for d/t of about 2.6 wrll ensure failure by bolt strength" not thread stripping.

Tension tests were performed using one bolt in the middle of the wall of a 140 or 150 mm
square HSS, both with the bolt in a Flowdrilled hole and with the bolt conventionally
installed including a washer and nut inside the HSS. Loading that produced wall distortion
of lYo of the HSS width (commonly accepted as the serviceabilþ limit) showed the same
results for bolts in Flowdrilled holes and conventionally installed bolts. As the wall and hole
distorted in ultimate tests, bolts in Flowdrilled holes pulled out at lower loads than did the
conventionalty installed bolts. When d/t of Flowdrilled holes exceeded 1.5, the tensile
strength ofthe bolts was developed.

Load-slip diagrams from bolt shear testing showed that Flowdrilled connections have
somewhat greater stiffiress and less ductility than do conventional connections, presumably
resulting from the threaded hole being an integral part of the tube. Ultimate strengths of the
Flowdrilled shear connections exceeded code requirements, but were 4 to 5 % less strong
than were conventional connections. The authors suggested that design resistances be
lowered by a cautious 10 for Flowdrilled shear connections.


Sherman concluded that Flowdrilling has potential for blind bolting to HSS columns. He
pointed out thar the fabricator would need drilling equipment with suitable rotational speed,
torque and thrust, (but Flowdrilling permits bolt field installation with conventional tools).

Banks concluded that Flowdrilling produces sound threaded holes suitable for use in
structural steel connections; that effective thread lengths vary from 1.8 (for thick walls) to
3.0 (for thin walls) times the original material thickness; that current design procedures can
be used for predominately shear loadings; and that deformation of the HSS (not failure of
the Flowdrilled connection) is the limiting criterion for moment carrying face connections.

Ballerini et al concluded that Flowdrilling allows for very simple bolted connections of
tubular elements with the capacity necessary for profitable use in structural steelworks.



The joining of overlapping coaxial circular HSS members by the use of power-driven nails
was investigated at the University of Toronto by Packer and Krutzl er in 1994 @ef. l0). The
method entails slipping the end of a circular tube snugly inside the end of a larger tube, then
driving special nails th¡ough the overlapping wall thicknesses from the outside. Similarly,
fixtures or secondary members such as purlins can be easily connected to HSS with nails.


Equipment used was the Hilti DX750 direct fastening system consisting of a powder-
acfuated gun using purple cartridges (highest power available) to fire ENPII2-LI5 nails.
Penetration settings ranged from 3 to 3.5 (on a scale of I to 4) to ensure that the nail point
penetrated the inside surface of the inner to two walls (up to 13 mm total thickness).

Outer tube diameters were ll4 mm (nine samples), 102 mm (17 samples), and 406 mm
(eight samples), all approimately 6.4 mm thick. For the first group, inner tube thicknesses
were 6.5 mm, for the second group,6.5 mm (5 samples), 5.0 mm (6 samples), and 3.1 mm
(6 samples), and for the third group 6.4 mñ.

The fit of the first two groups was characterised as "tight", since light machining was
required before they could be assembled. Fit for the third group was "loose", with a gap
varying from zero to three mm (due to slight out-of-roundness of the manually fabricated
inner tube). The number of rings of nails and number of nails in a ring were varied. Figure 7
shows one combination. A connection with ten rings developed the tube capacity. The
distance from the end of a tube to the first row of nails varied from 6.4 to 25.4 mm.

The smaller, tight-fitting specimens were loaded in axial tension, which always led to an
abrupt failure. The larger, loose-fitting specimens were loaded in axial compressior¡ also to
a sudden failure.

More recent testing has been completed to examine fatigue behaviour and whether the nails
tend to work loos'e under cyclic loading. Fatigue performance was actually superior to that
of a symmetrical bolted lap splice and the nails did not work loose before cracks developed.


Thefailures were all by nail shear except the six specimenswith tubes having 3.1 mm wall
thickness (plus a specimen having 5.0 mm wall thickness combined with ó.5 mm end
distance), which failed by bearing or shear of the tube wall.

Figure 7: Nailed specimen in test rig

Figure 8: The nipple-dimple effect

The connections resisted loads beyond the shear strength of the nails, about 2Ùo/o more for
loose fitting specimens and 3O%o more for the tight fitting specimens, before nail shear
failures. This additional or secondary strength resulted from a "nipple-dimple" effect at the
interface between the tubes. A nail emerging from the inner face of the outer tube created a
nipple protruding from that surface that interlocked with a matching dimple created in the
outer face of the inner tube. Figure I illustrates the phenomenon.

Offsetting the nails of one ring from those in an adjacent ring or having more nail rings with
fewer nails per ring (for the same total number of nails) had little effect upon the shear
mode of nail failure or the connection strengh.


The structuraljoining oftwo overlapping coaxial circular HSS by the use of power-driven
nails was shown to be both feasible and economical.

The ultimate strength for connections that fail by nail shear can be taken as the number of
nails times the single shear strength of the nails. This consen'atively ignores the secondary
contribution from the nipple-dimple effect.

The ultimate strength for connections that fail by bearing or shear of the HSS material

conservatively given by the expression 2.4 d t n Fu when the end distance

is at least 1.5 d
and the pitch oithe n^ilr 1"long the HSS axis) is at least 3 d, d being the
nail diameter' / the
HSS material.
HSS wall thickness. n the number of nails, and Futhe tensile stren-eth of the


1. packer, J.A.; and Henderson, J.E. 1992. Design guide for hollow structural section
connections. CISC, 201 Consumers Road, Suite 300, Willowdale, Ontario,
Korol, R.M.; Ghobarha, A.; and Mourad, S. 1993. Blind bolting W-shape beams to
HSS columns. ASCE Journal of Structural Engineering 119 (12): 3463 to 3481.
3. Ghobarha, A.; Mourad, S.; and Korol, R.M. 1993- Behaviour of blind bolted
moment connections for FISS columns. Proc. 5th International S]¡mposium on
Tubular Structures, eds. M.G. Coutie and G. Davies, University of Nottingham,

4. T"^tiifffi:änu,"ni, H; ranaka, r.; Fukuda, A.; Furumi, K.; usami, K'; and
Murayama, M. lgg4. Behaviour of SHS column to H beam moment connections
with óne side bolts. Proc. 6th International Svmposium on Tubular Structures, eds.
P. Grundy, A. Holgæ- and B. Wong, Monash University, Melbourne, Australia'
5. Occhi, F. 1995. Hollow section connections using (Hollo-fast) Hollo-BOLT
expansion bolting. Second Interim Report, CIDECT program 6G'16195'
6. Sherman, D.R. 1995. Simple framing connections to HSS columns. Proceedings.
National Steel Construction Conference, AISC, San furtonio'
7. Banks, G. lgg3. Flowdrilling for tubular structures. Proc. 5th International
Symposium on Tubular Structures, eds. M.G. Coutie and G. Davies, University of
Nottingham, United Kingdom.
8. Ballerini, M.;Bozzo. E.; Occhi, F.; and piezzl,lly'r. 1995. The Flowdrill system for
the bolted connection of steel hollow sections--part I: the drilling process and the
technological aspects. Costruzioni Metalliche, No. 4, July-August, Italy-
9. Ballerini, M;Bozzo, E.; Occhi, F.; and pinzzv,lvl. 1995. The Flowdrill system for
the bolted connection of steel hollow sections--part II: experimental results and
design evaluations. Costruzioni Metalliche, No. 5, September-October, Italy.
10. Packér, J.A.; and Krutzler, R.T. 1994. Nailing of steel tubes. Proc. 6th
International Symposium on Tubular Structures, eds. P. Grundy, A. Holgate and B'
rJ[ong, Monash University, Melbourne, Australia.


J. W. Post*

Producing a simple welded tubular connection in steel consists of cutting and coping the
members, fitting, welding, and inspection. However, fabrication and inspection practices for
such connections and their related costs are greatly impacted by design choices. Often,
these choices are made by designers without a full appreciation of the costs that will be
incurred by the fabricator or erector in producing such a connection. This paper will
address the major choices to be made for tubular connections and their significance to the
fabricator or erector.


Tubular structures with welded connections provide architects and designers with elegant
solutions to steel framing. They range from simple highway sign supports to gigantic
offshore drilling platforms and include aesthetically pleasing space frames seen in
convention centers, sports arenas, airport terminals, and atriums. Tubular members offer
the designer an efficient cross-section relative to their inherent material distribution for
beam bending or column buckling calculations. With appropriate regard for the connection
details presented herein, efficient and cost effective tubular structures can be achieved.

Before we consider typical fabrication and inspection issues for tubular connections, it is
best to first review several imponant design issues and how the choices designers or
I detailers make can impact fabrication and inspection costs.

For this discussion, round tube or pipe will be considered as synonymous while the family
of hollow structural shapes with a square or rectangular cross-section will be collectively
referred to as box tubing.


Round Versus Box Tubing

Architectural considerations or availability usually govern the selection of round versus box
tubes. For larger sized members, box tubes would need to be fabricated from plate. This
usuallv drives the costs high enough so that round tube or pipe are chosen. For small to
medium sizes of members, there is a wide varietv of thicknesses and dimensions available
* J. W. Post & Associates, Inc., Humble, Texas

for both shapes.

Where box tubes can be used in orthoginal planes they offer several unique benefits over
their round counterparts. Box sections are easier to handle and stack. They are easily cut
and mitered with band saws or abrasive saws since no complex copes or saddle cuti are
required, which always occurs when a box or round tube intersects a round tube. If branch
members overlap each other in a truss assembly, compound miter-cut box-tube members can
be inserted and slid sìdeways into place. With round tubes, overlapping connections prevent
some diagonal members from being installed as a single piece. For those cases, stubs or
"windows" (insert segments) may be required to facilitate member installation. A detailed
discussion of stubs and windows is given in Reference 1 and box-tube assembly in Reference
2. Also, box-tube members can easily accept backing material, a point that wiil be discussed
further in the following sections.

Matched Versus Stepped Tubular Members

Matched-box connections are defined as a connection created by the intersection of rwo or

more box-tube members that have a common outside dimension and arranged as shown in
Figure 1 so that the sides of the branch members are flush with the sides ãf the chord or
thru member. By contrasL a stepped-box connection occurs when at least one dimension
of the branch member is smaller than the side-to-side dimension of the chord.

The significance of stepped versus matched-box connections occurs in several areas. First,
following the AWS Di.1 Structural Welding Code - Steel (Ref. 3) prequalified detaits for
fillet weld categories can only apply to stepped-box connecrions wherã the wídth of rhe
branch member is less than or equal to 80Vo of the chord member width. This limitation
ensures that the side fillet welds occur on a flat face and not on the rounded corners of rhe
main member.

In matched connections, careful consideration must be given to wall thickness of both

members. For instance, a designer selects a TS 4 x 4 x lf2" chord member to carry the
design loads. Suppose some branch members are carrying small loads, so a TS 4 x 4 í l¡g,'
is selected- The inherent problem here is the cornei rãdius or corner djmension of iire
chord member. The ASTM standard for 4500 structural tubing limits rhe corner radius to
three times the wall thickness of the tube. Consequently, the thicket the wall, the greater
the corner radius- MgtJ 4500 tubing ìs produced by coniinuous forming and weldin! strips
of steel into round tubing. After welding, it is drãwn through dies rolroduce final-sizåd
round tube or through additional sets of forming rotls to produce square or rectangular tube.
When round tube is formed into box sections, the reiulting .oin"t radii usuaîy do not
merge tangentially with the side walls. This trait of box tubes is more noticeãble with
greater wall thícknesses.

Figure 2 depicts the significance of the corner dimension in matched-box connections for
the example cited. Notíce that the branch member musr be coped to fit the large curvature.
Otherwise, a very large gap or weld root opening will o.órr ar the side -zones. For
comparison, without consideration for structural loading, if the chord member was replaced

by a TS 4 x 4 x 7f8" member, the corner radius would be much smaller and the problem
mitigated. Mismatching wall thicknesses lead to more difficult welding on the side zones
using either complete joint penetration tClPlgroove welds or even partial penetration [PJP]
groove weld details due to the larger corner dimension. There are however two good
alternative solutions for the example given. The most obvious solution would be to reduce
the size of the branch member since it is so lightly loaded. For example, a TS 3 x 3 x 3/16
might carry the same load while providing a stepped-box connection suitable for fillet, PJP,
or CJP weld details. The other solution is to cut a backing plug or ring as shown in
Figure 2. This plug can serve several functions. It provides backing for welding which
means welder qualifîcation requirements are reduced for CJP connections. The plug also
provides for variation in fit-up tolerances in both the CJP and PJP cases. This is especially
helpful for field welds. For some erection sequences, the plugs can be shop installed on the
chord members which facilitates rapid and precise positioning in the field.

Sometimes designers will select a common tube size for a truss for aesthetic reasons where
only variations in the wall thickness occur. There is however another hidden benefit in
choosing stepped-box connections over matched-box connections when aesthetics are
important. With matched-box connections using either CIP or PJP details, it is difñcult to
produce flat appearing welds in the side zones without a lot of costly cosmetic grinding.
This problem does not exist with stepped-box connections. With stepped-box connections
rhere is a natural ledge to support the weld beads of either fillet or groove weld details.
The one drawback to stepped-connections is the inherently lower strength of the flat face
of the chord member as determined by yield line analysis. See References 4 and 5 for
further design guidance.

Gapoed Versus Overlapped Tubular Members

A gapped connection is one in which two or more branch members intersect a common
chord member with some nominal space between the branch members as shown in
Figure 1. By contrast, an overlapped connection occurs when two or more branch members
intersect each other. Gapped or overlapped connections can occur in both round or box
members in either matched or stepped-box connections. The significance of these variations
is that the gapped connections are always easier to fit with better access for welding and
inspection while the overlapped connections usually require compound copes or miters and
provide no flexibility as to member installation sequence. With gapped connections (usually
a 2" nominal gap) the branch member can be moved slightly about its work point to improve
the overall fit-up and root openings. This luxury does not exist with the overlapped
connections. Any slight shift to improve fit-up ïn one direction causes a worsening of the
fit-up in the other direction. One significant drawback to gapped connecdons from a design
standpoint is rhat all branch member loads must p¿tss into the chord. This may require
heavier chords. Conversely, the overlapped branches may pass some or all of their loads
directly to each other without affecting the chord member size.

Knife-Edse Gussets

Some cJesigners or detailers feel that the use of shear plates or knife-edge gussets is the

has been
surest solution to a tubular connection problem. Indeed, the gusset-plate approach
used successfully for many years. However, for aesthetic applicæions, the gusset
make the connection appear awkward, and cluttered as shown in Figure 3'

From a fabrication standpoinr, the gusser plate concept added to coped branch members
require exrra parrs (more material and weight), added cutting costs. for both the gusset and
associared slots, more welding (albeit less skilled panial penetration or fillet welds), and
,,,or. blasting and painting. Also, the fitting advantage of box tubes where coped members
can be slid sideways into final position is precluded.

Open ended branch members are especially unsightly for exposed applications. They also
piovide additional painting and maintenance problems'

From a design standpoint, the gusset plate approach may spare the engineer from dealing
with unfamiliar design rules but, the gusset plates usually provide high stress concenffations
or "hard spots". Thãse occur at the ends of the gusset where it attaches to the chord and
ar the end of the slor in the branch member. Such details are particularly susceptible to
cracking in fatigue as shown in Figure 4.

CIP Groove Welded Connections

With the preceding design choices made, the designer may next select the appropriate joint
rypes and joint details in accordance with the requirements of AWS D1.1. The choices are
CJf gtoou. welds, PJP groove welds, and fillet welds. The designer may further detail the
rp..i-fi. groove angles and root openings or more often, this task is left to the steel detailer
or the fabricator with a simple (but costly) note on the drawings that states, "All welds shall
be CJP unless noted otherwise." However, the choices related to weld types can have a
significant impact on costs of the completed tubular connecdon related to coping or
mitering, fitting rolerances, welder's skill level required, accessibility for welding and

CIP groove welds are rhe joint detail category most frequentlv selectgd, lut not usually the
most-economical one. Often CJP groove welds are selected by default. That is, no detailed
consideration is given ro them. It is generally felt that CJP groove welds must be better
than PJP groove welds. In fatigue loading situations, this is true. Consequently, engineers
or designJrs choose CIP's even for cases not driven by fatigue. Granted, CIP's using the
AWS Dt.l pt.qualified details will develop the full strength capacity of the connection but,
PJP groov.'*.Ídr using E7018 or E71T-X weld metals on ASTM A-53 Grade B pipe or
ASTM 4500 tubing will also develop the full strength of the connections in most cases. The
problem here is thãt the D1.l Code may require the designe¡ tod_o_some additionalstrength
lhecks. Even on smaller projects, the costs of gearing up for CJP groove welds (e.g- 6GR
tests for welders) will likely exceed any extra engineering costs.

CJP groove welds for tubular connections, whether round or box, implies open root
conditions and requires more precision in fitting the members and requires the highest
welder skill levels to produce a qualiry weld. In order to achieve complete joint penetration

from one side without backing, the D1.1 Code specifies that the open root dimensions must
be closely controlled and the minimum groove angles must be assured. AIso, the welders
must be capable of this most difficult welding and demonstrate their skills by passing the

6GR open root welder test. For box tubes, a special corner welding test is an additional
One previously mentioned benefit of box-tubes with their flat sides over pipe is their ability
to accept backing rings or plugs. With appropriate backing, the open root difficulties vanish.
The welder qualification requirements drop back to the easier 3G + 4G requirements which
were derived from test coupons welded with backing. Also, a greater variation in fit-up ca¡
be tolerated without unduly affecting welding quality.

The AWS D1.1 Code requires continuous backing whenever backing is to be used.
Commercially available rings are produced for most pipe sizes. Some fabricators choose to
form bar stock to fit the inside of the pipe or box tubes. Howeveç any butt splices in the
rings or bars must be welded ltÙVa to prevent crack initiation from any unwelded butt splice
in the backing ring or bar. In a few unique cases, a smaller size pipe or box tube can be
found and cut into appropriate rings without the need for making the butt weld in the rings.
Designers and fabricators should consider this option if possible as it is the least expensive
wav to provide continuous backing. For instance, a TS 3-1/2 x 3-l/2 x'l.f 4" will fit snugly
into a TS 4 x 4 x 7f4" member or loosely into a TS 4 x 4 x 3/16 member wirh minor
grinding to remove the ID weld flash from the 4" member. Some fabricators cut plugs with
a photoelectric tracing head and machine cutting torches or NC progr¿rmmable cutring
machine. This provides one-piece backing without the need for lAÙVo butt welds in the
rings. These plugs may be solid or cut hollow where heat sink or radiography are a
consideration. In a previous paper (Ref.1), it was suggested that such plugs could be cut on
a bias with a beveling head attachment added to a machine cutting torch to produce branch
member backing for other than the simple 90" T-connection cases. Figure 5 illustrates some
of these continuous backing types.

P.IP Groove rilelded Connections

PJP groove weld details for box-tube connections can offer significant cost savings in several
areas; groove bevel preparation, fitting, welder skill levels, and inspection. In preparing a
branch member to fit into a truss for instance, the miter cutting would be the same for
either the CIP or the PJP groove weld case. The next step is to prepare the necessary bevel
angles to comply with the prequalified groove details. The PJP groove angles required are
much less demanding and the differences are most notable in the heel zone where the local
dihedral angle Psi ( ) is in the range of 30" - 60". In this range the CIP details require
a full bevel preparation that is at least one-half of the local dihedral angle. In a common
45" case for instance, the bevel preparation angle is 22V2" which leaves a fairly thin and
sharp bevel. In the worse case of V = 30o, the bevel preparation is a 15o sliver of metal
that is very difficult to produce and is easily melted away when trying to make a qualiry
root-pass. For the PJP case on the other hand, the heel zone for any in the range of 30"
- 60' requires no bevel preparation beyond the natural groove formed by the intersecting
members with only a miter cut. Of course, the side zone and the toe zone may require

some bevel preparation. but none with the very thin and pointed bevels as found in the heel
zone of the CJP cases.

In the area of fit-up, whether done in the shop or the field, the PJP groove weld details
offer still more advantages over their CJP counterparts. As previously stated, the AWS Dl.1
prequalified details require close controls on groove angle and minimum-to-mÐ(imum root
openings in order for welders tested to a higher skill requirement to achieve complete joint
penetration from one side without backing. With the PJP's, there is a ma-nimum of 3/16"
on the root opening. but the minimum is zero. This means that the steel may be brought
into tight contact. which is the easiest case to fit-up. Further, PJP groove welded box
connections could be fit u,ith similar backing material as discussed in the previous secrion.
This would aid in fit-up and alignment tolerances, especially for tie-ins or fieìd erection
situations. Such cases would fall outside of the prequalified limits when the root opening
exceeds 3f76", but with backing, such modified details would be easy to qualify with
mockups or sample joints.

Fillet-\4'elded Connections

Fillet-welded tubular connections are usually easiest to product and therefore the lowest cost
from a fabrication standpoint since the prequalified detail requirements of AWS D1.i are
the least onerous. For pipe the branch member diameter must be no more than 1/3 of the
chord diameter and coping is still required, but the only beveling necessary is in rhe toe
zone r¡'hen V exceeds 120". For box tubes, only simple miter cuts are necessary. The fillet
details are applicable to anv stepped-box connection provided the branch member width is
less than or equal to 80% of the chord member width. Prequalified details require the
branch member and the fillet weld to be kept on the flat face of the chord member. This
could be a problem with thicker chord members that may have a larger corner radius or
corner dimension. For heavy-wall box tubes this detail should be checked out prior to

The prequalified fillet details are permitted down to Theta ( e ) brace intersection angles
of 30" which is identical to W when measured in the heel zone. This covers the vast
majority of structural cases. The root opening may vary from 0 to 3f 76" ma¡<imum provided
that the fillet size is increased by the amount that the root opening exceeds 7f76".


Cut and Cooe

When a tubular branch member frames into another tubular member, a connection is
created. TYK-connection is the term referring to any one or combination of branch
member intersections. The branch members usually require some type of a cope or miter
cut. For round members. the copes are more complex than for box members as shown in
Figure 6. Also. compound copes in the case of overlapping members add to the complexitv.
For box members, machine saw-cuts can be used to produce miter cuts to which torch-cut

andf or ground bevels can be added. Careful grinding is also required to provide smooth
transitions from one groove detail to the next that always occur at the four corners of each
box-tube branch member. For round members, the conventional method for coping involves
creating a wrap-around template to mark the pipe and hand cutting with an oxy-fuel torch.
The templates can be created using a drafting technique of circular intersection projections
(Ref. 6). An individual template is required for each combination of branch member
thickness and I.D. versus main member O.D. and intersection angle. Once generated,
however, these templates may be used again and again. Presently, computers can be used
to generate the coordinates for these templates and, if large enough plotters are available,
the template may be computer drawn. Further guidance in developing accurate templates
and computer equations can be found in Reference (7).

Hand cut copes from wrap-around templates generally require two cuts. The template
represents the I.D. intersection of the branch member with the main member but" it is
drawn on the O.D. surface of the branch member. The first cut must be made
perpendicular to the pipe's surface with the torch always pointing toward the axis of the
pipe. In this way the template outline is successfully transferred to the branch member's
I.D. surface, which is the true intersection with the chord at the root of the weld. A second
cut is then made with the torch tipped at varying angles to produce the required bevel for
welding. This is the difficult step in that the burner or fitter often must sense or feel the
proper bevel angle without blowing away the tip of the bevel or "feather edge" at the I.D.
surface. Sometimes these angles leave a very thin edge that is easily melted or gouged.
Significant grinding and touch-up work is often required to produce suitable coped and
beveled surfaces appropriate for quality welding.

For manual coping, computer programs have been enhanced with the aid of local dihedral
angle input (i.e. Appendix G of AWS Dl.l and Reference (7)) so that the program can also
give the coordinates for the entry point for the bevel cut thus taking the guess work away
from the burner. If he errors on the tight side, the welder cannot achieve the weld
penetration required; and re-work (gouging, grinding, or remove the member and re-cutting)
may be necessary. If he errors on the wide side, very large weld grooves are produced and
welding man-hours rise rapidly especially on thicker branch members.

Mechanized coping devices for pipe have been available for many years. Some machines
are linkage and cam driven, while others may follow black lines on a white drum with a
photoelectric cell. The more recent machines are computer driven. Most all of the
mechanized coping devices incorporate automatic torch tilting, so that the proper bevel
angle is cut in one pass, not two, as with manual cutting.

Common limitations of the mechanized devices are their O.D. capacity and the limits of
torch tilting, wherein the torch cannot lay over far enough for the most shallow angles found
in the heel regions of braces with small O intersection angles. Another limitation of the
linkage and cam driven machines is that they sometimes cannot be adjusted to cut the
prequalified joint details found in AWS D1.1. However, alternate details may be tested and
qualified by the fabricator. The most serious limitations in dealing with the computer
generated template or computer driven machine, is the knowledge of the computer

grasp of the 3-dimensional
programmer. Too often the programmer does not have a^good
how the cope is produced' it is
geometry involved in tubular connections. Regardless of
wise to check it immediately. Make a trial fit against
in mating chord or use a 3-
dimensional template or model of the main member'
In this manner' the accurary of the
angle can be quickly checked' Be sure
cope, the groove ungl.. and the branch intersection
to'include the required root opening in this trial fit.

Fitting TYK-Con nections

are those simple TYK's without
From a fabrication standpoint, the rowest cost connections
with a two inch nominal gap
the overlapping r.rU.ri. If possible, design the connection
between the toes of rhe a jacånr branch mãmbers.
This greatly-simplifies fabrication and
about the theoretical work
erecrion. Diagonal members can usually be adjusted slightly
point ro compensate for inaccuracies in lengtú and poiition.
The overlapped branch
more .careful layout and
connections always have a compound .op-. ?nd r-equire
of member installation must
.utting/Utveling, Jtp..iutty for length. For pipe, the sequence
stubs or windows'
be plinned an{controlled to minimize the need for

Welding Processes

The welding of tubular butt splices and TYK connections

utilize the same group of welding
processes fi*iUu, to structural shops. SAW is routinely used
for long seams in pipe where
a fabricator produces his own pipe. The process-is also used
for tubular butt joints (girth
welds) and, with smaller diamåtår electroães and flux dams,
it has been used down to six
and greater. Below 24"'
inch diameter. SÀw has prequalified srarus for diameteÍs 24"
to be used in production is required'
luãtin.ution resring on the smål.rt diameter
SMAW, FCAW (both self-shielded and gas-shielded), and GMAW
have been used
successfully for tuny years on tubular co-nnections'
The SMAW process is the old
sizes, and operating
workhorse with a íuíg.- selection of electrode types, alloys-,.
cost and is very portable, but the
characreristics. It i, urry"".onomical in original equipmãnt
processes due to its
cost of the weld metalâeposited is high õ.puréo io semi-automatic
to* o.porition effici"n.y.'GMAW in ipray tiansfer mode is rimited to flat less than three-
and horizontal
alpticarions. GMAW-í(rnott circuiting trânsfer) is good for thin
;ïáilr of an inch and for root passes ih.t" poor fit-uP may be present' The short arc
faces (sandblast or grind) to
process does require more weldlr skill and ulira-clean bevel
rninitir" inherent cold-lap tendencies'

metal depgsition-rates are

FCAW-G (gas-shielded) is a good all position plo^.9::.and weld
process and the GMAW require
significantly higher than thosJ of SVIÄW- The FCAW-G
welding gun to deliver gas to the
an auxiliary gas shield and a gas cup on the head of the
*.1ãing ,oü. This gas .up o.td* a visibiliry problem for the welder.
It also prevents access
ro the root the joi-nr witL thicker beveleá members or tight inters.ection.angles.
gas is easily'f clisruibed by drafts. ancl wind, which limits its use in drafty shops or field
õonstructioñ sites without providing for suitable wind breaks'

ali åi l" shietding is produced
but' more importantly' the
construction and däJ;;í'r"quir"
of -rom. of ir, .õr. ingr.d-ieîts
displaced bv the
at the arc by ,t.-úurning ö;1;;d tîtt"g"n) that
iÏ Tt and nitrides'
remaining u,n.,orpr.,Ji.'iäñ,"r"¡nun*
."rbì;;'f *i,h ulrr*inî,,,'to form¡xides
burning action J-;;icalry iinãr' .T.he welder has equal
is immun¡ ,"rir but the
;ã"r1''. r-r1ve an accessibiliry
Therefore, this prol"ss
ii'. ;;;;r
sr,¡aw;;id", "r""täriär
or better visibilirfi;il ""d
be too hot
rnc process
ptur't may
stopping to cnange :1":::;.J1", saos in tiu"p Hãï.u.r, the
fit-up. However'
electrode .*,.nr,åi,
to tun¿r" -igi ö.'in
*ittt tttinner wall thicknesses'
for pipe or tube

Welding Procedure 0ualification

provided in section 10
There is a fam'y of
prequal,fi"-9,rrt* details_for.fiK-connections s,lw can usuallv be
ró, ur. *i,r,'irüÃü,-rcnrri in Section 2 or the code'
of AwS D1.1 suiiabi. joint o-äirr
has prequalified status
done using the uppìi.uur. rTï:ri*ä';il
details ,n", ;.ïP;;;ä;' ci'iîw:ð-ntu"t
Even though tn. iåint
qualified by testing'
and must always'be
requi11m"',: î:l:å;i:i.'î""tlå:ñi:, n :!î"r""T"1
rr there are orher job-speciric
;'#;å" ; i¡1i'5:: ï I n:',:'ru"'-f;¡Ëi,..,.1i.!joint
I'ii.Ë,¡; I 1åï" ;' sroov e an
rs orr€rwtsc
gre and
angles less than :u'.:'1::'*'-';;";
¿.i* even when ,ri"
Ërãn'*r,"n the iãi"tìr"otherwìse
grearesr groove äd,ffi;;;-t"
grooves 3-0] or
tubular connections, with
structurar steer pip." g, procedures exist' rt rs
For the mosr common ãn werding
srearer, un¿ *r,Tr.
no other ¡"u-öããiti". îi*itutio.] *" ilì;;;;*'du specifications ror
marte r,o or.pur.îää ;iä.';l if¿d
îe ativery s mpre
i .o rin¿ quãtitieo welders'
[t is, howet;;';;;;ïinitutt

tubular app'caiions.

Welder Performance Oualification

werders'- E'u:h
rhere are no prequarified qualified by ::1Ï'"'*'"':ï:'"i::f#"ìff
iiî',ir; î:¡'j'il;.
p'opt'iuîãin"o and
are all a;;.;:if
ä,ee"i,,ri*,'::"'iå,ï*î'îif kff :i,'*[:.1'ä:'f
" ]iÍtllT'ni'"ilii'fi
weld Progresst seuerar importanr ñ'.t:"ir"i"ff:iË
IÌoä #r.tT
rore<l shape .ánr,ru.,ron .

ff lffi i:J"-'.iå:*::if :ç*ÏåÎÎT'l':'þäTTjf
p"r,,rlïïtuît Ãnel1lit;îit'i îft".'"î:,ï:nt:*:'r*'
*i'ith theñ down to 15''
for a cJp weld requtres
jO.,,i. *.r¿.r-.. ärlå-*ur,
occur. ,",'.åäoì ,.lzs" nr"..^i",.rr"riion
î;;lìü o'n cJP welds in
box tubes
Such cases trequentty þurther' *ttätit
in the rt
,.r,.'äi, i.it .t'irr* it'rir ab'ity to deposit
special 1nr1.î iru.ro.t.t, zo.nes which are
the areas
musr ars. pass thã sharp .nr"år'ìrunsition
ai<¡uncr tn. ,"iur¡uely-
souncr *eto meial

across the weld'
of highest load transfer
ot;'il tt-dãrd 3G + 4G with
l:î',J':":"ä'"î:å:,ff ö,,':iïi:'fiwelders'o Ou'i]
is usuatty.mu*
alternative and "i:l"-;"r ::"tJ,l'"Ji,':$lqpiåï,åiü','i
#rii*;'"fffi irup*;¡å:ïr.'iiï',ri.'ïiæ1'¿îã.,u',,ii''Acu'leAng'Ie ' and used e

ri,Jrr",, qe".::Ilphp.räJ,:'frä:ïLïi:ioJåîf *n:lff':fsted

Acutc rarró¡v ¡ '---
less than 30')' then the
e*q"ri?,n"-1 lt1,.iî:,l;13J,::*f':i ;'äåiTi"î:i=li,ο:1""";3Ï1"í"Ρi3ïå
high failure rate
test by
.o'p"'"i i' Inã !*p"i "n'"ä'
i iil' :l-*:,nïîtffi iï:lüîi'ï:Ti|Ëi
;"ï;ìil;?;' #'h"h;'; à"1rin"o' for all
a speciric qualiricri;;;ri
can do wet¿ers have some further
production î"1àing.
is ti
that might a'se during "rr"*i"i'ir'at
training and supervlslon'
_ ^.,, ns. For all posirion

lil:î:îi:5i'liî-::'ff :.'illi,iiååî,""î.*iñ.á"er"
groove test rs
ff lç::ilJï:i,."ii:iËîff
il'i5;; it'un oo"', For these cases'
;tï; 3G + 4G plate
in the neet zone
'.'.:multiù*Ëï*ï:fiis'+ nr*firy;¡g;i};''i
ror pipe or 6GR prus c

tãic¡P box-tube welding'
of the difficulties
practi""uî" t"Javoid-T:nuiesting requirement'
or pJp,s o, c¡p;r'with'backing ocR
rypica'y "n.ou;,.räTirt,

visual Inspiction ' rsoection method for

y"îïil,'îìT'""i:TLII:äi:'.=,'l::o:::;' with tubular connectrons'
îïr!"lly needs ,ô-t,*" "*pl'i"nt"
Inspector, U", He can
weld quarity from surface
The comperent inspector
r"Jri"g""ir irrr workmanship requirements
pi"rnå r..ptau'irv,
quickly ¿.,"rrnìn"
tt. cnää';#ñ n''ncr-upllst'where specified'
set bv

inspection of
more inspection effort shourd be praced on can
For the cJp tuburar connecrions,ihi, *uy, th. prop.' optnings and groove angles
the fit-ups prio, ,oï.ì;;;. i" 'oãi
ot trre.exi;ää"""rtq^ u",*t to pu-t.!ll inspection effort
oroducing crr groou";;ld, 1.¡ re.quire. some random or
;ìh a good-visual inspection and perhaps
,ro front ano rorroJ-u-p
Jr l"rp"ñs after *;rdilg. ttt" tit-op insoection seldom
siot checking *ithîïü;; ãã
;;äp;ng and g'oãut ãngles are
easily measured and
leads to controversy because
qualiry, it is essential that all
gl99ue werds-of^theric"trest
For comprete joint penetration iru".foJ..9nn1.19nt tnãt
øir not.or cannot be tested
ups be inspected.,'ñil;*p.i,¡t, wa¡ thickness pipe or box tubes)'
with uttrasoruc n,.riäãr'li-e.

Radiographic Examination
whe11 of higher
butt join-ts is practical T9j:::*mended 1'surance
cover-the entire diameter
Radiography of tubular are. ,o"in'tv ute! to
quality i, n"..rrufr. î;ii;t:^f^t..rînieues practicable' contact
à;ú to 10", p-o'u*it shots are
range encounrer.á.
Fo, diameters try T used on pipe3'/2"
down to r".-errîii:;i;? Ët"eht;äg** the relatively sharp
shots are acceptabte
may requir" shols t" pi"pËrry interpiet
or sma'er. Box tubes "åãitional
corner radii'

box fiK-connectlots'
investigate portions of matched
speciar t..i,niqueï'å"y"ilï;;i;"
Ultrasonic Examination
many years in the
have been developed and used successfulry for
urtrasonic testing methods îrïrr""ule onshore' conventional
i"å"r,ry. ,u*"
rn. tec'hniques
ri. and thicker' and e
offshore ptattorå
techniques are applicable
to dia."*;;;;;1.-t-:T:iå" ;;;i"rs limits and should be
tecr,nique, är.. reeuired^;J;;-ihese
srearer than 30j. special
prior to implementatron'
will requir e 700%
inspection requi"il""
rhe same on., ,hu, bu.r-rp".ify#äã;
ó;rig"rly, there are..critical cases where
ultrasonic Tesring of each experience or the
i, *urru,îäîuì.ã.p.ndtöö;;-iir^:ltl:îd
leadi tä disputes among the
higher level or inípection
ur technician, this inspection Ä;ñ oftËn

ánriu.,nts and engineers/owners'

from tubular
with known defecrs should be preoared
Mockups or sample connections anq tb nit inspection of the
connection, ,"'är!ir,
' ìn technici"rr'ir^ining
uT indications on productión
work should
visual .ä"ïir*"iion
orrduction *urt iurther, excavarion party consisting
of a craftsman
i,e require¿. rt ir'i, best achievea by forming an
inp.irn,*-'"., jgil:äåf;';H¡iå;f i"åUIgi,:l*.*:îl;::::::Ï'i::'á?;
sometimes a tol

ro revear the uT indication' As the predicted
progressivel,v removed opportuniry to
ravers of metal are presen*nãrii u" -giy:n ln which exceed
t'r't n'*i.lavlr' ö;;;;¡
inãication depth i; ä'p-p-;".n._L1],,ñembers
* ,:,"::,:g
observe the progrer, þiio,ur. ,n"n ,.iåä îl .oiriä"tiãn' weld repairs
are then

the acceptun." ,runäår¿.

tå"tHË;;i;u'i examined'
made and those
pJp's,- like all^Aws D1'1 welds'
ulrrasonic examinatio¡.
pJp,s are seldom suitable for.
requirel007o'""ìi"-"*''"ii""'s"'f 'r'!'M1s1?l';'i**ruì3¡;*itîI-ff-Í1!ïË
i' i'ar cas s' as wiitr

" T*:'"#,;'J"J.:'" î:î"::'l:i

ff{ilî F ä o'iï' ?Y
with tubular connectron
iiî"i*: r'
*i.î'ã"q*rn.á i"ri"irøn
wall thicknesses, ;ä';n;;
äfrltiã"c. can be obtained' :^ r ¿^

.Jffi 'ïä;i,îi'",',i:ìî*ï'XÏ=ä:*î'iilgiå"i::å
spot cn^TrÌtró.:i","'-^'the ancl posse"":"T-l required size
Occasionally, ir'ff'tr'. required -"^"*it;ri^,.'ç
,:ä'^räo*p"iitËti,'inä p"o'riuili.v.t
determine ,nu, iï,."'rîuät'î.lo

:-"å5''*:¡:f rru:*"iÌ*ll"':1"¡;,'iiËJiä'í'Ji'ni^î"ñi'e'iäFo*his
tt'"tli¡i-ups prior to welding
tt in'pJtiä'
reason, 'îo"r¿
Magnetic Particle
steels that may be
with 50tsi,T9_-_l:gh., vi-"19 forty-
Masnetic particle testing
is usefur
rîJ;ld;r "trngtl
ao1ã minimum of
t;,oroe.n .ru.l'iil su.ctr testin'g 1
susãeptibre toderayed
paint is applied
ur".t"iuv yino
this c^å, . *tti* background
joint. síacr< magnetic
puäi.r", in u.*ut"'',;.;;;tü"'-.-1iü,:tlZîtt;itü:
to the werd
;il;;;"in,i,ånî",ãi.;.;11::,åå.,,#tï,Jî11f, :iü:Ë,:r,Ëf ",f*lfJ:¡;ti;li:
;;,;;"tpended parriclesexcepilor *öi1contrast and a smoother
overhead and in
iitîlni,"' paint provides ur" ï"ï-ãinicult to apply
in drafts. particres
we, out-of_posiïion and

and messY and usuallY
ru bu Ia r conne ct t o n s' th e Lt
:::-î 1Ti i: :i:Î"ït :lä or determining the extent
of a known crack'

provide efficient' economical'
welded tubular connections
properly c!esigned and consrrucred, Há;rver"there are a variety of choices
plea-sing ,,nrutinn.. tå';r*iî;ffing- impact on costs of the
and aesthetica'y that hãve
and .ngin;1" "':;tgñiãt
to be made ny arci,itec-ts

completed connections. The key points are:

1. Choose box sections over round sections for simple trusses or space frames for ease
of fabrication.
2. Choose gapped connections instead of overlapping connections wherever possible for
ease of installation of members as well as welding and inspection accessibility.

3. Choose stepped over matched connections for aesthetic applications to reduce the
amount of cosmetic grinding.
4. Choose fillet welded connections wherever possible as the least c'ostly to fabricate.
Choose PJP groove welded connections over CJP groove welded connections for lower
costs in bevel preparation, fit-up, welder skill level requirements, and inspection.

5. Choose backing in CIP or PJP groove welded connections wherever practicable to

reduce welder skill level requirements and minimize rejected welds.
6. Don't over-specify inspection requirements. Rely on visual inspection of joint fit-ups
and completed welds.
7. For architectural and aesthetic applications, require a workmanship sample or mock-
up connection from the fabricator and erector prior to production work to set the
standard for visual acceptance.


1. Post, J. W. 1989. Gaining confidence with the fabrication, welding, and inspection of
tubular connections. Proc. AISC National Steel Construction Conference.

2. Post, J. W. 1990. Box-tube connections; choices of joint details and their influence on
costs. Proc. AISC National Steel Construction Conference.

3. Structural Welding Code-Steel, ANSI/AWS D1.1-94.

4. Marshall, P. W. 1992. Design of welded tubular connections. basis and use of AWS
Code provisions: Elsevier, Amsterdam, The Netherlands.

5. Packer, J. A. and Henderson, J. E. 1992. Design guide for hollow structural section
connections: CISC, Ontario, Canada.

6. Blodgett, O. W. 19óó. Design of welded structures, James F. Lincoln Arc Welding

Foundation, Cleveland, Ohio. 5.10-9 to 5.10-14.

1. Luyties, W. H. ancj Post.J. W. l9tìfì. Local dihedral angle equations fortubular joints
and related applications Welding Journal 67 (a): 51-60.

Bronch Member H

Toe Zone
Bronch Member
ïoe Zone

Side Zone
Moin Menrber Heel Zone Side Zone
Circulor Connection Moin Member
Box Connection

0 = member intersection ongle.

V = loc.ol. dihedrot ongle. The ongle,
meosured in o plone perpendiculoi
to the line of the weld, between
tongents to the outside surf oces
of the tubes beinq joined of the
weld. The exterioi ¿ifreOrot ongle,
where one looks of o locolized-
section of the connection, such Overlo pped
thot the intersecting surf oces
moy be treoted os plones. Motched


Fig u re Tubulor Connection Nomencloture


rt 4x4x1 /8"
ot I


Plug Style Box Bevelino
/2" po]tgr.l
Ring Attochmént
rorn 3/4', or
l,; ïiotu
Fig u re 2. Con tin uous
Bios-'cut pú;
bqcking or
f box tube applicotions

* i

ffiFigure 3. Tubular connections with unnecessary
knife-edge gussets'


initiaring aÎ "smooth" 19e of weld at end of gusselt'

Figure 4. a.,¡ Fadgue cracks
b.) Fari_2e crack at endåigort." added to "strengthen" a crane boom'


Figure 5. Various tvpes of backing that are easily fabricated and require no welding to
make them "continuous" in compliance with the Code.

Figure 6. NC machine wirh plasma cutting torch and examples of simple (gapped) and
compound (overlapped) cope and bevel preparations'

srnucrunar' sEcrroNs'
S' J' Herth' P'E''

testing, and investigation which
of this paper will outline some of the research, items:
The initial part
t * uridges. Tï,is research is
p*natity concerned wittr two
been done on harf-thróugn
buckling problems'
of the tn¡ss considering out-of-plane
1. Design of the top chord

for the "u-frame" formed by the tr¡ss web

2. Design strength and stiftess-requirements
members a¡d the bridge floorbeams'
Bridges' design approach to
"pony" trusses'
w'r-outrine continentar to
The second part of the paper t't" p;;; oottttt õontinental's approach
r","-'t' i*dings'
Referencing the above-mãntione¿
fo, ¿o'p oftn"îop "no'ã'ut
*ell as süength and stiftress design
detemrining upp-pi"L ii-ioro*
of the "IJ-frame" members'
of a half-
of some of the connection design ra¡rrifications
The finat part of the paper is
a secúons' The
with square or rectang'rar hollowitructural
through *, ,*"ã,,ã labricated
tn¡ss web members and the
discussedh.J' *iff Uå tU" one betweto
connection primarily
re'uir"l"n¡ for'¡" bending moments due to lateral
connåction has design
tp chõrd 't'*$h
beams. This
in a "pony" truss bridge'


be equated to a
probreq of the compression chord of a "pony" truss can
The out-of-plane buckling for the top chord
paner points Theiaterat support
and tn¡ss verticats)' The 'U-
by elastic restraints
corr¡mn supported ";ür"-;;,
is provided by the **Ã"*.rr. strength *ã Jno.ss to provide
the lateral support
adeq'ately designed iorlotu
fraÍres,, must be
'chord stabilitY'
needed for toP

Apnl 24-28, I 99¿, Atlanta GA'

Alexarrdria' MN 56308.
2 Bridge, 8301 State Hwy 29N,
chief Bridge Engineer, Continental


was brought to light in the- late I 800's
iem of tue top chord buckling of a half tb¡ough tn¡ss
failures and to
of ,,pony" tn¡ss faih¡.r. Th" first succèssfi.rl attempt to explain these
ofLdysis was done by Engesser @ef. 1, Ref. 2). Since that time a number
,Jve investigated "pony" tnrss bridges'

bridges wzs done by Edward C' Holt

lhe most extensive resea¡ch and æsting of "pony" tnrss
at rhe pennsytvania state colege. with sponsorship
from the coh¡mn
Ë';, ú1,ã.r. o
.,Council of Eneineering Foundadon andthe Pennsytvania State Highn"ay Deparment' Holt
scãe testing on "pony" tnrss bridges and wroæ a series
of fol[ ¡eports
;* ¡"J*p"" (Ref. O gives recornmendations for design ofbridge chords with'out
of pedesrian 'l!oly" tn:ss bridges

the DeBor:rgh Manufacturing comFanY, a manufacturer

scale (80' long x 10' wide)
tilyn¡bula¡ constn¡ction conducted strain gage tests on a full
Ër;il;;;; square and rectang'lar rubi"9 ßef- Ð. Their findings
bridges than'*'ere dictated by the Holt
more stringent require,ments for t'bular "poiy" tnrss

kling of the top chord of the "Pony" truss has two limiting bounds:

very flexible. the chord will tend to

./ tn" uter¿ restraint provided by the "IJ-fra¡nes" is
-uckle in one sinele half wave over its entire lengfh'
to buckle between the
Ëä;ä;;;;;;;"vided are infinitety stifr, the chord will tend
nrss panel points.

ever reached in practice as either would be uneconomical.


he of these exte'es is seldom if

these nl'o exEemes: some nr¡mber
tal buckled shape used in design is somewhere between
' la,res less than the total number of bays in the truss'



K-factors used in design'

,,proach willbe utilized here for the determination of top chord
based on the
[.."t ¿"".-i"es the K-factor for out-of-plane buckling of the top chordload of the top
, Ë;;;iîî.:'u-frames,,. Holt's sotution for the allowable buckling
'ã "porry" tnrss assumes the following conditions:

The tra¡rsverse frames (u-frames) at all panel

points have identical stiftess'
are identical'
[e radii-of-gyration of all top chord members and end posts
for the same allowable unit stress (A's and I's are
he top-chord members a¡e all designed
to the compressive forces)'
between the top chord and the end posts ale assumed
þe connections

5. The end posts act as cantilever springs supporting the ends of the top chord.

6. The bridge carries a r:niformly distributed load.

The results of Holt's investigation are presented in Table 1, which gives the reciprocal of the
effeçlivç-!_e¡gth factor K aåa fimction of n (the number of panels) and of Ql/Pc where:

C is the funished stiftess at the top of the least stiffnansvrol**". (See Figure 1)

Ll is the panel point spacing of the tnrss

Pc is the mærimum design chord stress multiplied by the desired factor of safety.

Note: Because of uncertainties involved in the analysis of the top chord of a "pony" trtrss, it is
reasonable to require a factor of safety for overall top chord buckling greater than that used when
designing typicalcolumns; However, since each member in the continuous top chord of a "pony"
truss with parallel chords çannsf be simultaneously stessed to its critical buckling load" it is
reasonable to use a safety factor of i.5 for this situation.

Various secondary effects on top chord buckling such as the lateral support given to the chord by
the diagonals, eflects of floor beam deflections due to live loads, etc. have been studied by Holt and
others. A full discussion of all aspects influencing the top chord stability of a "pony" truss bridge
is prohibited here by the tength limit of this paper. I recommend obtaining the "Guide to Stability
Dèsig¡ Criteria for Metal Stn¡ctures" (Ref. S). Much of the information on "pony" tnrss design
presented here is contained in Chapter 15 of that reference. Table 1 and Holt's assumptions are
reprinted from that source with the permission of John Wiley and Sons,Inc.


Strengfh requirements for the "LI-frame" members vary from source to source (research findings,
design codes, etc.). Most approaches require an additional moment capacity in the tnrss verticals,
floor beams and their connections. This moment is over and above the moment determined by
classical analysis and is calculated assurning the vertical is a ca¡rtilever, fixed at its base, which
carries a transverse force at its upper end. It is the opinion of this author that the most rational
"pony" tnrss design approach equates the required out-ofplane bending strength of the "IJ-frame"
to tUå top chord compression and to the K used for top chord design. (If K out-of-plane equals ttre
number ofbays, the chord would be designed to buckle in one long half wave. In this case, no out-
of-plane bending stengfh would be required in the "tJ-frames" for lateral support of the top chord).

The strength requirements suggested by Holt (Ref. 6) are:

l. The end post is a cantilever which carries, in addition to its æial load, a transverse force of
0.3 percent (.003) of its æcial load at iæ upper end a¡rd


4 6 I 10 t2 t4 16
1.000 3.686 3.6t6 3.660 3.7r4 3.754 3.785 3.809
0.980 3.284 2.94 2.806 2.787 2.771 2.774
0.960 3.000 2.665 2.542 2.456 2.454 2.479
0.950 2.595
0.940 2.754 2.303 2.252 2.254 2.282
0.920 2.643 2.t46 2.094 2.t01 2.tzt
0.900 3.352 2.593 2.263 2.045 1.951 1.968 1.981
0.850 2.460 2.013 1.794 t.709 1.681 t.694
0.800 2.96t 2.313 1.889 1.629 1.480 1.4s6 t.465
0.750 2.147 1.750 1.501 1.344 t.273 t.262
0.700 2.448 1.955 1.595 1.359 t.200 1.111 1.088
0.6s0 1.739 t.42 t.236 1.087 0.988 0.940
0.600 2.035 1.639 1.338 1.133 0.985 0.878 0.808
0.550 1.517 t.2lr t.007 0.860 0.768 0.708
0.500 t.750 1362 t.047 0.847 0.7s0 0.668 0.600
0.450 1.158 0.829 0.7t4 0.624 0.537 0.500
0.400 1.232 0.886 0.627 0.555 0.454 0.428 0.383
0.350 0.530 0.434 0.352 0.323 0.292 0.280
0.300 0.121 0.187 0.249 0.t70 0.203 0.183 0.187

c= E
+ b/2r6]
h2 [h/3I"


2. The moment at the lower end of each vertical may be approximated satisfactorily by
applyng atansverse force at its upper end equal to 0.2 percent (.002) of the average of
ærial loads in the two adjacent top chord members'

While never going less than Holt's suggested requirements, Continental Bridge has adopteg 9:
foltowing gurã" ünes based on the more conservative "German Buckling Specifications" @IM
4lI4) which are now out of Print:

1. For the interior "IJ-frames" use l/100K times the average compressive force in the two
adjacent top chord members as the force applied at the top ofthe tn:ss verticals. NOTE:
have chosen to limit K for uniformly loaded pony truss bridges of nrbular construction
to a
mædmum value of 2.5. This gives a minimum out-of-plane force of 0.004
(l/100K) times
the top chord compressive force. This minimr¡m is in close agreement with the 1989
gage testing of tubular "pony" tnrss bridges done by DeBourgh Manufacnuing
(Ref. 7)
which for¡nd for the stnrcû¡¡e tested that an average of 0.0027 times the top chord axial load
was transmitted as a lateral load to the center vertical member.

2. For end frames, the same appiies except K is omitted (0.01 agrees with the recommendations
of the "Guide to Stability Design Criteria for Metal Structues").


The economical design of a "pony" truss bridge using hollow structural sections is an iterative
process. There exists an almost infinite nr:¡nber of solutions to the design of the top chord and
iateral bracing system (J-frames). The best top chord tubular section for a "pony" truss is
rectangular with a wide horizonal face. This section has a good radius-of-g¡nation
for out-of-plane
of this face for
buckting. Directly opposed to this in regards to economics wiil be the requirements
strengfh ã"rigp (simpte tubular connections are more economical when the
chord face
"ooo.rtioo design for
is na¡row and thich ha.dng a low width to thickness ratio). While the most economical
large heavily loaded stnicnues may be to size the truss members for srength and stifÊress
,"qrrir"¡¡"ot , then design connections as required, most stn¡ctures least cost altemative will be
¿etermine¿ by considering steel cost verses the cost of the tubular connections-

simple span
Following is the design approach adopted by Conùnental Bridge for uniformly loaded
miter cut and welded
bridges t¡iføi"g simfle *"1¿"¿ tubular truss connections (tubular members a¡e
aireãtly ro the ø"" ãf tn. framed to member). These bridges will have their floor beams
directly to the truss verticals (See Figure 1).

l. Detemrine the tn¡ss configuration required based on span, deflection limits, aesthetic
considerations, etc.

2. Analyzethe bridge structure for all applied loads'

J. Using a K factor of approximately 1.5 for out-of-plane buckling (1.3 to 2.0 is typically an
oooð-i. range for tubula¡ stuctures) and 1.0 for in-plane buckling, detennine a tr¡be size
required for the top chord based on the design loads'

4. Design the tnrss web members and floor beasrs for thei¡ design loads, including the ow-of-
planã bending moment required for top chord stability. Keep in mind that the vertical's
perpendicular tó the chord face, must be equal to or less tban the u/idth of the
chord face.

5. Calculate the spring constant (C) firnished by the "IJ-frame" having the least ffinsverse
stirr',ess (See figrrre 1). L/trl.
t'l çI
Calculate the value ClÆc. t h\
7. Enær table I with n (the nr:mber of bays in the truss) and CIÆc and find
the correct lff valve /
for a comFression-chordpanel, interpolating ¿u; necessary \/
L !..
8. Determine the actual K value and: \

- If the calculated K is less than the K value initially assuned, check the "U-frame" for
it may
the new out-of-plane bending moments based on the lower K value; however,
be possible to ieduce the size or thickness of the top chord based on a lower


- If K calculated is greater tha¡r the K initiatly assu¡ned in sizing the top chord you
mr¡st either:

a. Check the top chord for a higher KVr value and if necessary, increase its si2e,

Increase the stiftress of the "IJ-frame" members to achieve a lower

K value'

c. Some combination of a and b above'

g. Check tubular connections as outlined in the next portion of this


10. Iterate steps 4 through 9 to final solution'

connection design criteria are kept

Bear in mind that while the "pony" truss considerations and the
sepamte here for si-fu"ity, ti. design of a "pony" tn¡ss fabricated from tubula¡ members
will consider both ,,Û-frame" requirements and tubular connection efficiencies simultaneously'


As stated above, the economical design oftubula¡ strucflrres is highly dependent upon connection
design. The most cost effective design is usually some middle ground between the least weight
alte¡native a¡rd the least fabrication cost alternative.

Ifyou are doing tubular connection design, I would highty recom:nend obtaining the "Design Guide
for Hollow Stn¡ctr¡ral Section Connections" (Ref. 9) published by the Ca¡radia¡r Institute of Steel
Constuction. This g¡ide is a¡r excellent source of curent design infonnation on hollow stn¡ct¡ral
section connections. Portions of this guide are reprinted here with permission.

The connections of primary importance in a tubular "pony" truss are:

l. The main load carrying (vertical) tn¡ss connections at each nodal joint where the truss web
members attach to the chord members.

2. The joints between the floor beams a¡d ttre tnrss verticals.

The design approach for tn¡ss nodal joints is

well documented in the above-referenced design guide.
In the United States, the same design approach found in this gurde has al5e been adopted by the
Anerican Welding Society (Ref. 10)- Either of these sources may be used in checking tuss joint

While a full discussion oftubularjoint design is limited here by the length of this paper, I wor¡ld like
to make the following poinæ:

1. The vertical members in a tubular Pratt type "pony" truss, becar¡se of economics and "IJ-
frame" considerations, are typically very nearly or are the same \ñ¡idth as the chord members.

2. The design capacities which have been developed based on full scale testing oftubularjoints
have a somewhat limited "range of validity".

Based on these two points, I have found that once "Ll-fizme" requirements and validity limits are
met the actr¡al mein ûusis connection resistance provided is in many instances greater than that
required for actual member loads; therefore, during the iterative design process, you typically need
only consider connection parameters, staying within the appropriate "range of validity" for the
connection you intend to use. You can then make final connection capacify checks after all members
have been selected. NOTE: If staying outside the "range of validþ" established for tubula¡
connections, the designer is on his own. While connections outside the validþ range obviously
have some capacity, I do not recommend their use. If using cormections outside the appropriate
"range of validity", the designer needs a very good understanding of the possible faih¡re modes in


atubular connection (i.e. punching shear, chord shear in gap joints, chord face plastification, etc.)
and how these factors influence connection capacity'

The second connection of importance, which is primarily controlled by "U-frame" considerations,

is the one be¡¡reen the tn¡ss verticals and the floor beams. Along with the end shear
reaction of the
moment induced
floor beam, this connection must be capable of resisting the out-of-plane bending
in the tn¡ss verticals (See previors discr.rssion on shength requirements of the "U-frame").
Secondary stresses due tó floor ber- deflections are typically quite small in a uniformiy loaded
bridge and in most cases can be neglected.

Simple n¡bular connections have a certain amotmt of flexibility due to deformation of the
tube face-
to be rigid in order to provide
ln a "pony,, tnlss, the floor beam to vertical connection is assumed
hterj *ppott to the top chord. Because of these facts, p (the width ratio be¡r'een the floor be'm
and vertiõal) should be approximately equal to one for this connection'

,U-ûame" members and detemrining design loads, the connection must be checked
After 5izìng the
(TS 8x3's,
for its ,"qoir"a capasity: Tpical tubular floor beam members are deep narrow sections
TS lOú';, eæ.) with aielatively high bending sængth about their stong axis. These efficient
sections are r:sually outside the "range of valid.ity" cr:rrently established forplain T-type
with in-plane benåing moments (See "Design Guide for Hollow Stn¡cn:ral Section Connections",
Chaptei6 (Ref. 9). It is still usually more cost effective to use these efficient beam sections and
design appropriate connections for their r¡se'

In designing tube-to-tube floor beam connections which are outside the established "range of
validity; for T-type hrbula¡ moment connections, one may conservativeiy treat the floor beam zìs
would a wide flange beam framing into a nrbular colurrn. The vertical faces (webs) of the tube
the side w'elds- The
assumed to carry the shea¡ load in the floor beam to the tn¡ss vertical tbrough
in the tn¡ss verticals), as in the case
end moment in the floor bea¡n (out-of-plane bending moment
of a w-shape bearn, can be resolved into two equal and opposite flange forces- These forces
and bottom tube faces
applied at the top and bottom horizontal tube faces of the floor beam. The top
can then be equated to a plate welded transversely to a hollow stn¡crural section.
The "flange"
using existing
capacities of the tubular floor beam (or w-shaped floor beam) can then be checked
(See Table 2 copied from the
aesign rules for transverse plates welded to hollow stnrctr:ral sections
(Ref' 9))'
"DeJign Guide for Hollow Stnrctural Section Connections"

Weld design for both main truss joints and floor beam connections shall be P.., th. applicable
weld is
code. Bear in mind that in tubular connections such as these, tra¡rsfer of load across the
to take
highty non-r¡niform. Welds must be large enough to enable adequate load redistribution
ptã."'*itt i' the joint, preventing a progreisive failure of the weld and insuring ductile behavior of
the joint.

Tronsverse Plote ß = 1.0 Bosis: CHORD SIDE WALL FAILURE

NI= Fyo to (21 ,+ loto)

-l r
r'r, b1

0.85SDlr - t/y Bosis: PUNCHINGSHEAR

+ 2b"p)
fr& Czt,


where B



= 2lo
tor, br but ( b' ve :
b- 10,, lYo lo p., but ( b'
, bo/to Fy' t1
bo/lo '




i{ ïI



,) Engesser,F' 1893'
Vol.II, Berlin' StabilitY
). Hott"E.C.-1951'
without Lateral Bracu 'nc'ReP'No'
äË¡*¿* ao** chords without
Stablitv or Brideç
4. il:. tr,"'"---i--i'f "r q"ry r#-#
HoIL Þ.u- ;;Buskr RepNo. Xs:'
I.s. Cor¡nc.
Lateral Bracing, Col StabititY
ot o"'å^" -'='T--
E.c. 1956. The Analysis aftS Ð-e$gn ço Rep' No' 3'
5. Holt,
*rinïffiø Bracing' column Res'
of Bridge chords Stability


4th ED.,



SocietY 1994'
10. American Wetding
ChaPter 10'


C.M. AIIen*


Tb¡ee quite different projects are presented, in which hollow stuctural steel tubes are used as the
principie structural framing. The National Aviation Museum of Canada featr.¡res an all welded
space-frame roof and exterior wall stn¡cture comprised of circula¡ steel tubes. The Toronto
SgOotn" is a retactable roof stadium in which the roof structue is comprised of square steel tube
..i *r.r
t with a combination of welded and field bolted corurections. The ttrird case study is a
series of steel square tube tn¡ss access towers used in the constrr¡ction of the Hibemia oil platform,
off the east coast of Newfoundland, Canada" Each project presented to the design tearn unique
challenges in the design of steel tube structues, providing lessons for its'futr¡re use and illustrating
certain areas where additional research could be beneficial leading to improvement in cr:¡rent
standards and design practices for steel tube sfi¡ctu¡es.


Building Description

The National Aviation Museum was deveioped by Public Worla C-.anaÅa to store and display
Canada's aeronautical collection representing Canada's involvement in aviation and qpace
technology in the 20th century. The museum, located at Rockliffe Aþort in Onawa was
completed n lg}7. The a¡chitectural fooprint of the aircraft display hall is tiangular shaped to
suit the orientation of the north-south taciway and tl¡e east-west n¡nway. The single storey
triangular buildi''g is divided into nvo e.qual right angle triærgles by means of an exp"ttsion

Structural Framing

The ñ¡nctional and architectr.ual considerations, with the requirement for a wide oPen space suitable
for the display of large aircraft combined with the desire for a light weight yet economical exposed
roof structure, dictated the stn¡ctural planning for tbe museum-

The building fooprint is an isosceles right angle triangle with a short side of l6lm in lengfh and a
clear height of 13.2m from the floor to the underside of the roof s¡n¡cture. It is divided into two
eq¡al smaller tiangles by means of an expansion joint located at right angles to the hypotenuse of
the larger panel, as shown in Figure 1.

The stn¡cnral framing resulted from considerations of function, architectu¡al expression, lightness
in appearance and economics. The selected stn¡ctural system \¡vas a space frame with circular steel
tube members and all welded joints.

* Adjeleian Allen Rubeli Limited, 75 Albert Steet, Suite 1005, Ottaw4 Ontario, Canada KIP 5E7.



Figure 1 AviationMuserm-Keyplan

The roof framing is comprised of a double layer off.set gnd

in which each grid is directionally
similar with the lower chords located below *â io benveen two
upper chords and with the upper
and lower nodes connected by diagonal members (Figure
2). The grid spacing horizontally arrd ¡
vertically is 3'30m' The offset grid system was selected due to
the tcre¿sea $iffiress and lateral
stability it provided together with its overall pleasing appearance

Three interior columns for each wing ofthe museum, spaced at46.2m,provided
an economic roof
span while permitting the movement oÏthe largest aircran
in the co[åtion an¡avhere within the
museum' Each of the interior columns is shaped as an inverted pyramid,
9.9m higb with a pinned
bearing at the vertex of the pyramid" The contorned sbape
advantages as follows:
oro" i"t ioi.;;,*",
provides several

o Acting as a shea¡ head' the inverted pyramidal column reduces the

clear span of the space roof
o The load transfer from the roof to the column supports is smooth
and more gadual
" The configuration allows for a stable stn¡cture for lateral loads
ûom *i"d earthquakes.
The bearing at the vertex of the inverted pyramid tansmits vertical
and horizontal loads to a
concrete pedestal in the shape of an upright pyramid 3.3m
high. The overall config¡x;;;rhil
vertex ofthe pyramid located ¿f rhis height provides the muúl¡m
,pu.":* the wing level
of an Argrrs aircraft, the largest aeroplane inthe mr¡seum collection "f*,
Gig¡¡re ¡)."- "

;nlvl ?

Figure 2 Aviation Mr¡ser¡m - Bottom chord Pla¡r ofNorth wing

Figure 3 Aviæion Mr¡ser¡m - Interior Column

In addition to the th¡ee interior columns, a nrunber of smaller columns are provided along the
cladding and to provide additionat
perimeter of theuuil¿ing to support th9 roof edge and þ¡itrting
uraring while the balance a¡e wind
stability against rateral îoads.'i portion of thise are road
(Figr¡e 4)'
columns *itU u sliding vertical connection at the roof

Secondary Framing

attached by verticat supports to the

The roof stn¡cture is a metal deck supported on steel T sections
nrnning parallel to the principle
top chord nodes and at the mid-points of the top chord members
angles to the principle diagonal are
diagonal of buildi.g fooprint. The top chord members at rigbt
not zubjected to secondary bending from roof pwlins'






Figure4 AviationMuserm-E:rteriorColumn

The overall stabillty of the framing, with its inærior pyramid
columns and exterior tiangular
col 'mns, provided overall resistance to the lateral forces
åu" t" wind and earrüq'ate. This primary !
system was augmented with a two brace finmes in
each of the ¡ro comers of the base of the
triangle of the overall building fooprint, ot¿.r to improve its torsional stiffiress for both wind
and eartlrquake induced forces, and thus reduce lateral deflections at the vertices of the ûiangle
well as atthe expansionjoint as

Loading D

The overall dead load of the ,tn steel roof qpace frame, including members and joints
excluding secondary framing and columns, was .sipa (ll
lbvsq.ft.). s*perimposed dead loads
but I
together with the roof space fiame load resulæd in an
allowa¡rce or i.e¡ lpa. The design snow load
was l'73 kPa Due to the height of the building and light
roof shrcture, lateral forces due to wind
govenred so ttrat earthquake loads were not
a considerafion. For most members, the design
contolled by gavity loads. was

Space Frame Members

Theroof space frame foreach ofthetwo smallertiangles

is comprised of about 5000 memben and
1300 nodes' The members are all circular steel tubesfoth
a yielá shength of ¡só tñ".[; ;*;
in size from l0lmm to l68mm. Column support members
were also circula¡ hollow steel tubes but

and stress relieved
with a mærimr¡m size range up to 324.mn. All steel tubes a¡e cold formed
(Class þ.
Space Frame Joints

There were a number of considerations which led to the selection

of the eventual joint configuration
and connection method ¡"¡uding:

o Requirement specified by the owner @ublic V/orks Canada)

for all-welded consur¡ction due to
the aesthetically superior appeamnce'
" õ*"**l p"rør*-rr r"q.rir"*"rrt that the joints be sEonger than the members framing into the
joint to ensure member faih:re prior to joint failure'
o Custom design joint that experiencedlocal str¡ctr¡¡al steel companies could fabricate and erect
without relying on single sotuce prcÞrietary space frame suppliers.

is shown in Figrue 5'

The joint detail selected after careful consideration of many configurations
Each chord member, consisting of a ror¡nd tube, is capped
with a circular mild steel plate of
the tube using a square groove weld
diameter equat to tt"t of the n¡Ui. Tiris cap plate i5 v¡slded to
tongue plate is then
with a cylindrical backing ring inserted iff; the end of the h¡be. A rectangular
welded to the cap plate-witli a double V groove weld. The
joint itself consists of a specially
fabricated star-sirapea plate. The tongu. !ut" of each of the chords meeting at the joint is
connected to the upper tutfu"" of the star plgte by apair of fillet


¡ON6UE PLAIE fuge coNNÉclloN


=-_ S¡AR PIAlE



Figure 5 Aviation Mr¡setrm - Joint Detail

groove welds' The

The diagonal members are also capped with ror:nd metal Plates r.rsing square
are specially shaped to
tongue plates to be welded to the caps are, in this case, not rectangular but

fit the horiæntal starplate of the joint The tongue plates ofthe forn chords meeting æ the joint
form a cross. Each of these plates are welded to the star plate by a pair of fillet welds.
In addition
they are connected together by a weld at theirjunction.

Testing was carried out on full size joints in a protot¡pe segment of the space
tuss in which the
overall dimensions of the member lengths were scaled dor¡¡n to l/3 to allow testing
of the tn¡ss in
test rigs of apractical size (Ref.l).
The test program confirmed tbat the joint detail was adequaæ and that failure I
in a joint would not
be expected to precede faih¡re in a member.
Fahrlcation anq Erectior !

The fabrication of the all-welded qpace frame was carried out in a series of steps
locations, as follows:
at different t
o Fabrication of indiviú¡al tubes with end closne plates and tongue plates at the workshop I
of the I
prime steel fabricaûors
o Fabrication of larger-size tn¡ss elements with
a length of 19.8m that cor¡ld be træsporæd by
truck Each tn¡ss element was tiangular in shape with one top chord and one bottom õnor¿ anã
a temporary connecting angle replacing tlre other bouom chord.
" Assembly oftr¡ss elements on site into 13 large lifr zub.structures.
" Lifting of lifr zub'stn¡ctures with mobile cnrres, one by one, connecting substuctures together
by welding of connections to adjoining rub..süuctures already ..."æ¿ The subsmótrnes
directly zupported by the interior coh¡mns were suspended higher than 1þsir firal positions
the coh¡mns were being erecte4 they were then lowered down and connected io tl" pyramid

Testing and fnspection

The original specifications called forthe visual inspection of 100%of welds, nondestn¡ctive
for all welds be¡veen the cap plates and tubes, and atl welds between a cap plate and a
testing t
tongue plæã
whenever any of the two plates w¿ts over 30mm in thickness. Of all re,maining welds,
2iyn were
required to be subjected to ultasonic testing. As the work progressed, thJweld
obsen¡ed to be uniform with a very low rejection rate. As a resuf the requir€,ments for
çratity was t
tãstini were
revised, with testing frequency of the critical welds reduced from 100% io Z}%and the
less critical
welds from71%oto l}Yo. The welded joints of the interior coft.rmns and the exterior columns
tested using magnetic particle testing. Ulûasonic calipers were t¡sed to measure
the thickness of
tube members which could not be inspected by mechanical means due to the closure plates.
194 I
General Comments

Although the overall aPpearance was in keeping with the original expectations,
dead load related to the large sp"ns was stn¡ctr¡rally efficient, the
and the overall roof
áf an all-welde.d joint
was an issue with regard to additional costs and time delays. The
need for extensive weta testing
and the practical considerations of winter constnrction can cause
une4pected costs and increased
constn¡ction time. Another factor is the accuracy required in the fabriåtion
process to ensure the
mininizing of the internal stess effects of force fitting of the va¡ious elements
or Iifr substn¡ctr¡¡es
duing thei¡ assembling and connecfing


Project Description

Tlie Toronto SþDome is the world's first major league multi-purpose stadium
with a fully
retactable rigid steel roof (Ref. 2,3). -Ihe SþDome converts Êorrra j¡,ooo
seat football stad.ium
to a 51,000 baseball stadium by means of a rotating lower seating stand system.
The principle
featr:re of SþDome is the roof stn¡cture which can open or close creating
an open air stadium for
good weather conditions and a closed roof dome stadium for bad weathL
cond.itions and d'ring

Roof Description

The overall roof shape is dome-like-in appearance, approximately circular

in its base plan, covering
a stadium which is essentially circular in plan. The roof consists of for¡r
separate panels numbered
consecutively I to 4 from south to north with the roof in the closed position (Figr¡e
,ì 6). In its base
plan, the panels a¡e delineated by dividing a
circle into four parts with three parallel lines at
i the mid point and two quarter points. The two
middle panels a¡e in the fomr of barrel var¡lts
while the two panels at each end are in the
@1 I
form of quarter domes.

Panel 4 is a fixed roof panel, located at the
@1 I

norttr end of the stadium and is the lowest

panel in the sequence of nested panels in the
open position. This panel is shaped in the
\p_----t form of a quarter dome with a circular base in
plan and an arch at the front or leading edge.
The panel is supported on the concrete sub-
Fþre 6 Toronto SþDome - Roof plan - closed structure by mears of sliding bearings.


panel 1 is a quarter dome located at the south end of the stadiuq in the closed position This panel
is similar in sbape to Panel 4, but is larger in size with its base located at a higher slsvatie¡ than r
Panel 4 to allow it to nest over Panel4 in the open position. Panel I is zupported on s'teel boges

(t1cks) constn¡cted with steel wheels uihich intum are supported on a circular steel tack system.
Panel 1 moves on this circular táck system, rotating 180 degrees in its opening or closing cycle.

Panels 2and3 a¡e each parabolic arch panel segments supported on the east and west sides of the
stadium with steel bogies containing steel uùeels on sets ofpæallel steel tacks runing in a north-
south direction. Both panels move in a north-sor¡th direction on these parallel tracls, In the open
position, Panels 2 and 3 nest ôver Panel 1. Panel 2 is larger in size than Panel 3 and iæ srpport
elevation is at a higher elevation in order to allow Panel 3 to nest below Panel 2.

The roof mechanism is operated by a computer progrrim and a reúmdant control syste,m ensrning a
safe and dependable operation. The roof opens or closes in 20 minutes in wind qpeeds of up to 65

Roof Geomefry
The geometry of the foru roof panels is complex. Each of the four panels has cr¡rrafure in ¡vo
directionso each are diferent in size, and each arch component in each panel is diffe'rent except for
symmetical aspects about the longitudinal æris.

The geometric complexity was resolved by developing simple mathematical expressions which
Tü/ith this mathe'matical model in placç,
defines the cr¡n¡atr¡re in two directions (Ref. a) Gigr¡re Ð.
all of the roof geometry, could be automatically generated for use in the static and dpamic
analysis, CAD drafting and model studies, and forreleaseto the steel fabricator.

Roof Framing - General Conditions

The four roof panels are constructed of stn¡ctural steel arch trusses comprised of hollow structr¡ral
steel tubes. The núes are, for the most par! squa.re, varying in size from 254mm square to 304mm
squre for chord members and 202mn square typically for verticals and diagonals. In isolated
portions of the roof, rectangular tubes and plated tr¡bes were used. All steel tubes are Class H
(56rtr relieved) with a yield stength of 350 MPa With the exception of the two leading arches of
Panel 1, all arch tn¡sses have a consistcnt cetrtre to cente of chords tnrss depth of 4.2m.

The roof arch tn¡sses a¡e connected to the boges or other supPorts by means of pin connections.
The pin connections allow for distortions in the roof geometry dùe to thermal effects and
differential movements of the steel roof and supporting concrete structt¡re withor¡t generating
significant membçr forces within the roof str¡cture.

qi6:È - P^r.tL tÀ
2=-3.¿?3110 x

sPRtñ6 P0tNi

Figure 7 Toronto SþDome - North-South Secúon

A key aspect of the design concept for the roof is ensuring strucrural integnty should single
elements fail. The test for strucûral integnty u/as to check the stucnre for stability with all
stnrctural members removed within a vertical cylinder of 4.5m radirx with the centre of this
"cylinder" located on any one panel point including a support. The design check for integrity was
based on one half the 1/100 year design live loads with the live load factor reduced from 1.5 to 1.1
and the dead ioad factor reduced from I .25 to 1.05.

All steel tube framing members were cleaned to SPIO followed by a prime coat of inorganic zinc

Roof Panels 2 and 3

Both Panels 2 and 3 consist of eight parabolic arch trusses spaced at 7.0m excePt for a 5.0m spacing
of the first two arches of the south end of Panel 3, dictated by snow dtifting conditions. The arch
tnrsses consist of double tube chords with single tube verticals and diagonals using conventional
double tube chord tt¡ss technology. These arch tn¡sses are interconnected by transverse tru.sses
consisting of single tube chords, verticals and diagonals. The transverse tnrsses support standard
wide flange purlins which in turn support a 75mm deep acoustic steel deck. The diagonals of the
¡.ansverse tn¡sses a¡e oriented in altemate directions from tnrss to b:t¡ss so that they cornect to the
main a¡ch tn¡ss chords at joints which do not have connections of the diagonals of the main arch
üïsses. This technique effectively minimized congestion of members framing into any one arch
truss joint. Top and bottom chord bracing, consisting of single tubes, completes the framing of
these panels.


JRoof Panels I and 4

panel spaced at
q'arter dome is framed with foru arch tn¡sses at the reading edge of each
lEach radiating in a circular pattern
l;;;;il;ì;ã:õ; The a¡ch trusses supporr a series of¡b trusses,
ûom the circular base in a direction to**ás
the centre point of the circular
from the north-south centerline
äri ff äii äl*.u by circutar t"*t no.irontat iro¡ections
establish the geometry of the leading arch tnrsses.
geometry. These noãota projections in tr¡m
the rib
of transr¡erse tn$ses support the roof prulins' ao! snan between
A circular arrangement
of the rib tr¡sses compretes the quarter dome
trusses. Top and bottom chord diagonal bracin!
fr"-i"g. ttre steel deck and roofing ãetails a¡e similar to Panels
in Figure 8'
A plan view of the roof framing is shown

Figure 8 Toronto SþDome - Roof Framing Plan

Roof Loading Conditions

The roof panels were arnlyzedfor the

following load condiúons:

- Dead load 5)'

tunnel tests by R.W.D-I- of Guelph, onta¡io @ef'
- Snow loads as determined by wind
performed by RW'D'I'
- v/ind loads as determined from wind tunnel tests
level of 8% of gravity
- Seismic effects based on an earthquake

- Dynamic effects with a sudden application of brakes
- Loads imposed bY thermal effects
- Loads imposed by deformation of the concrete supports or rail location tolerances
- fsarls imposed on Panels 2 and3 due to skew effects under motion
- User loads suspended ûom designated points

A I in 100 year return period is provided for in the design of all live loads. The design is based on
limit sates design with an importance factor of 1.15 applied to all live load effects

Joint Details

A combination of shop welding and field bolting is r¡sed for all connections of the roof stn¡cture.
Truss secrions of approximately 15m in length were fabricated in the shop with welded
connections, primarüy fiUet welds, and with stiffener plates where required. After delivery by truck
to the site, the truss sections were assembled by bolted connections into tn¡ss assemblies of one or
two segments in \¡¡idth and n¡¡o or tb¡ee truss segments in length These truss assemblies were then
hoisted into the air and connected to previously erecæd assemblies by means of a bolted
connection, with 4325 galvanized joints.

Two basic types of bolt connection details were used as follows:

bolted tube end cap plates wittr bolts in tension
slip critical con¡ections with end tab plates connected in double shear by bols.

Testing of Roof Joints and Steel Tubes

A progra:n of testing of samples of the different types of roof tn¡ss joints, constructed at l/2 scale,
I was ca¡ried out at the University of Toronto (Ref. 6). The testing included dynamic testing of the
joins as well as static tesß to failu¡e.

The dynamic testing included 5,000 cycles of low load levels, followed by 200 cycles of higher
load, follo'*ed again by 5,000 cycles of lower load. After dynamic testing, each sample was
inspecred for fatigue cracks using a dry magnetic particle technique. No evidence of fatigue
cracking was found.

Steel tubes for tbe roof tnsses are manufactu¡ed by cold forming and welding of the longinrdinal
joint Lack of fi¡sion problems along the joint led to a testing program at the University of Toronto
io evaluate the effects on the compression capacity of long columns with different degrees of lack
of fusion (Ref. 6). ln addition, tests on the compression capacity of tube columns, plated with steel
plates with lowei yields tban the tubes, were carried out 1o evah¡ate the effect of the two material
t¡'*gthr and the effect of the build up of intemal stress due to the welding process for tubes which
are originally stress relieved (Class þ. Steel plating of certain tubes was required in order to
.o.p.o*t. for steel tubes for Panels I and 4 being supplied to the project an average of 7.8% less
in average walt thickness (and mass) than specified.

Erection of SlryDome Roof

i The nesting geomftv of the roof panels-inthe open position

rilas utilized to facilitate the roof
erection by using lower roof panels as_shoring pËrorrÀ
for subsequent erecte¿ qpper panels.
Paneldbeingthelowestpanelwasthefirsttou".o*to"æ¿ Tbreetemporarytowersinlinewith
the leading edge of the panel and locat{ at the
temporary support for the two leading a¡ch tt¡sses.
þlf point and the two quarter points, provided
Panel I was
i¡ ¿ 5imil¿¡ fashion with the extension of the temporay towersconstruc,ûJ
dir"rrly over panel 4
panel 4 to support the
Ieading edge of Panel l.
Panels 3 and 2 wqethen^erecte¿ nqpectively-*ia
tu" of æmporary
sqpports offPanel l.As each series of arch trusses for Panels 3 and 2 were 'se they were
rolled north on their boge system to allowthe t*sJ;àruon tr¡sses to be eæcted. a

General Comments
stuctural steel trúes were selected for the sþDome roof
due to their superior efrciency in
st¡pporting the large compression loads ofthe uoú
tnor"r ortn i*irt"r.n*Lo tn, overall clqan
appea¡ance t

A nr¡mber of issues became apparent in the design and
constrt¡ction of the SþDome roof which
could have an effect on futr¡re hollow steel tube dJvelopment
and use and are presented as follows:
o As a direct result of the experience at sþDome and other projects,
the canadian code on steel ¡
Design and construction (cAlI3-s16.1-M) (Ref.
Ð, now requires the tube weighrs to be wirhin -
3'5To or +l0o/o of the published values. other jurisdictions
orll-p*Jt-,,ru* man'factr¡red with
a +l0Yo wall thickness tolerance. :

o As a'result of the experience at sþDome, it is recommended
that any tubes, uåich a¡e ¡
maur¡factr¡red under a cold formed and automatic
fr¡sed weld process, should be continuously I
monitored by ultasonic testing as part of the manufacturing


Project Descrintion

The Hibemia Project is currently under consEr¡ction

æ Bull Arrn, Trinity Bay, Newfoundland"
canada The project is comprised of concrete base str¡cture
supporting a steel fra¡ned oil drilling

The Hibernia Gravity Base stn¡cture (GBS) is consür¡cted,

for the most parL as a floating, moored
structure in Trinity Bay' when completed" it
witl be towed out to its final resting position in the
Atlantic Ocean offthe coast ofNewfoundland-
In order to constn¡ct the GBS, a series of access str¡ctures, called the Hibemia himary Access
System, a¡e used to proride a link ûom barges moored adjacent to the floating GBS to the interior
concrete structure of the GBS. The Access System is used primarily for personnel access during
the constn¡ction period and consists of a series of towers, bridges and mechanical lifting

During the moored. floæing phase of the constn¡ction ofthe GBS, the GBS progressively increases
in overall depth in the se4 as the height and mass of the concrete structure incteases. The primary
Access System is a modular type of steel tube framed stnrcture, which also increases in height as
the construction of the GBS progresses.
The structu¡al design of the Primary Access System is unique due to a number of factors related to
the Neu¡for¡ndland offshore constnrction site locatior¡ the fiurctional requirements for the
constn¡ction of the GBS, constn¡ction staging requirements and specific design criteria set out by
the project contract requirements.

Primar:v Access System Description

Figue 9 provides pian aad elevation views of the final confignration of the Primary Access System
desþ. Preliminar)' versions of the design included towers fixed to the exterior concrete wall of the
GBS, which required analysis for wave/current effects. Both the East and West Access Systems
indicated in Figure 9 are simila¡ in design, with variations resulting from differences in the support
details at the barge deck levels ar¡d the GBS concrete stn¡ctures.

Each of the East and \!'est Access Systems consist of eight components described as follows, in
sequence, from the outer service barges to the interior GBS sur¡cn-re:

' A 20m high tower

o A gangrvay
fi-rçed to the service barge deck and bulkhead strt¡ctue (Towers T9, Tl0).
8m long ünking Towers T9, T10 to the Main Bridge.
' A Main Bridge supported at the perimeter GBS ice wall and the interior main tower assemblies.
o A Main Inner Tower u'ith a mædmr:¡n heigbt of approximately 80m, tied back to
in¡rer concrete
wall str¡cnres at inte¡¡als of 6.4m, (Towers T11, Tl2).
o A sliding 'miniyoke' assembly, a steel fiame structu¡e which allows repositioning
of the Main
Bridge at the Inner Tower support, and provides support for the Main Bridge at the Main inner
" A Support frame assembly at the base of each of the main towers which provides an access
platform and a base support framework for the towers at the GBS concrete base sbuctu¡e.

The main inner towers Tl I a¡rd Tl2 are consbr¡cted using modutar units 6.4m in height, field
bolted in place, as the concrete construction progrcss in height. Tie-baclcs at 6-4m intervals'
between Towers TIl-Tl2 and inner concrete walls provide lateral suppor! although for some
consûn¡ctio¡ 5raSeS the upper tower units are free standing. The Main Bridge is supported on a
moving bearing assemblrv at the perimeter GBS ice wall atlowing rotation and translation of the
bridge support as the ice wall increases in height dr:ring construction.



1. Tower T9 -
2. TowerTl0
î-¿. Tower Tl I
fower ttZ
5. Garig}vay-
6. Main eriaql
?. Service Bnoge
s MitriYolk
io. suPPortFraoe

ærd Section
System - Ptan
9 Prirnas'Access

The miniyoke is guided on a rail system fixed to the exte¡ior Tl l-T12 columns. A removable pin
mechanism allows the miniyoke and in tr¡m the Main Bridge support at the Inner Tower, to be
positioned at increments of 6.4m along the exterior force of the to\¡/ers. As the exterior Main
Bridge support at the GBS ice wall is raised duing slipforming procedures, the interior Main
Bridge support is raised by meam of the miniyoke to minimize the horizontal slope of the Main
Bridge. Tlpe V/T was specified for all primar¡'load carrying members. Hollow stn¡ctural tr¡bular
members varying in size from l50x150mm to 350x350mm were used typically throughout. Heavy
rolled'WT sections were ræed for transfer girders, at the Tower TlI,Tl2 support frames. The total
mass ofthe entire Access System is approximately 900 tonnes.

Desisn Considerations

The detailed s¡rucnral design of the Primary Access System required consideration of numerous
combinations of design loading and geometry variables, which resulted in demanding computer
modelling requirements. Additionally, careful assessment ofmember a¡rd con¡rection design detaiis
were required in order to optimize HSS connection design. The project conmct specifications,
ñ¡nctional requirements and the assessment of va¡ious stn¡ctural configurations required design
consideration of up to 60 load cases, a¡rd 250 load combinations, for numerous stnrcn¡¡al models
with up to approximately 1700 members ar¡d 900 joinæ. A fi¡rther compiication was the
requirement to satisff the requirements of th¡ee different codes, the National Building Code of
Carørcr-' the CSA Offshore Structu¡es Code and tbe Project Specific Code for load values, factors
and combinations. These requirements required the development of in-house software programs to
maniFulate input and output data into formats which could readily be used for design puqposes, as
the demands of this project exceeded the capacity of vendor-pr¡rchased softrvare to fi.:nction within
practical time requirements for design pìÌrposes.

Operational requirements had a major impact on design loads and conditions. The operational
requirements included definition of live load for persorurel, equipmen! piping fluids, construction
elevator loads and the basis for the derivation of environmental loads due to \¡/ind" ice build up, and
thermal effects. Dead load requirements were outlined for piping, elevator self weight, and
constuction related plaforms and supports. Other operational requirements included assessment of
tilt effects of the CeS auring the constn¡ction phase on the Access System stnrcflres, bridge
movement effects due to slipforming operations, spacing and frequency of miniyoke pin positions,
personnel exit/egress requirements, and shut-down requirements for environmental effects.

Environmental effects derived fiom studies of local site conditions, were specified in contract
docu¡nents. These included wind velocities based on 1:10 and l:100 year return periods at 10m and
50m elevations, ground snow load and mæcimum/minimum temperatue values, a requirement for
ice build up thickness, and wave/current effects from which barge motion cha¡acteristics were
derived and specified. Directional effects of wind were modelled using eight wind load
orientations, based on increments of 45o, over a 360o wind directional distribution.

Constru ction Stage Reo uirements

most t¡pical,sEtrctures,.d*iog constr¡ction the Pr-imav Access System was

nr¡mber of snuct'rar configurations with fi¡ll operationar designed for a.
rive lãads æpriá ã eaph of the stages
consEuction' Five construction stage models selected of
fiom approxiäately
50 constuction stages
were developed as critical design cases for the Access system sqpport
tower/miniyoke/main bridge assembly. The HSS frame/main
t,' fabricatot's shop into 2-storey higb súusüuctures
steel ûämed to**
were assembled in the
l. using welaed connections The subsür¡ctr¡res
were assembled on site using botted connectio¡s

TVelded Connections

During recent decadcs, desig of welded HSS connections

developed to the plese,nt stage
where well defined formulations a¡e available
for most of F€n
the connffins and load t¡pes I

encounte'red in practice. continuor¡s intemational

research has regularþ-;te'raø the knowledge,
this sitr¡ation' the canadian lnstitræ Toremedy
b"r'htr.d";-;ruished a *-ï*"i"*¡u, design guide
by Packer and Henderson (lggz),(Ref. "{T3l
8), which pr"r"otá the mosr helpftl informæion
on welded and bolted HSS connectio* io-rpractiìing available I

structural engineers. This book was used t

extensively for designing the connections ofthis p-j"ã. -

For the most par! the Hibernia Ptt I

l.y Access
conventional T' Y' )(, K or N configurations,
system contains HSS connections with
with ¿omtant a¡rial loads
and negligible bending
moments' welds were sized by considering the effective r
weld lengths i¿ent¡nø in chapter eighq
(Ref' 8), or for T, Y or x connections, usin! ti
informæionfrom more recent research by packer
Cassidy (1995),(Ref. 9). and

other stucfi¡res ofthe system have T and Y connections rith

\ substantial in-plane and out-oÊplane
bending moments in addition to axial loads. These
that the axial connection resistancg the in-pJane
connections required
-JÃuuo..r" desþ in
bending moment connection resistance and the r
out-oÊplane bending moment connection resistance
alt had to be evaluated and
--- compared with the
reÐective forces, and then combined for total connection
resistance. t--
Bolted Connections

The vertical legs of the tower sub-shr¡ctures \üere

connected with the use of bolted butt plate L
splices' where possible, bolts were placed along oory *o parallel sides in order to r¡se
formulations in chapter 2 of Ref. 8. There is
an obvlous r*ã"rig¡r;d;ä bofted btrtt plate
çlices where bolts are placed along the four sides of the connectorplate.



All th¡ee Case Studies presented in this paper are quite different in scale a¡rd fi¡nction but with a
corrmon ingredient, namely, exposed hollow' stmcn:ral steel tube stnrctures. The combined
featu¡es of economy and pleasing appearance \Ä'as a major factor in the selection of HSS members
for these projects.

Al*¡stgh there has been considerable resea¡ch and design aid development in recent years, for the
r¡seof HSS members, additional development is required in bolted connections, quality assuftÐce
in cold formed tubes, and code tolerances in the manufacn:ring process. As a result of experience
gained on these and other structures, it would appear that the most pftìctical and cost effective
means of joint connection of HSS members is a combination of shop welding and field bolting.
HSS members continues to be the stn¡ctr¡ral steel type of choice for exposed spacial sûuctures.


l. Adjeleiar¡ J.; Allen, C.M.; Huma¡, J.L.; and McRostie, G. 1986. National Aviation Muser:rn,
Ottawa Canadian Joumal of Civil Engineering. Vol i3. Number 6. pages 722to732.
2. Nlera C.M. 1992. Toronto SþDome Roof Stn¡cture; Engineering Challenge. Innovative La¡ge
Span Stn¡ctures. IASS-CSCE International Congress. Vol. I pages 63 to7l.
3. Allen, C.M.; and Duchesne, D.J. 1989. Toronto SþDome Retractable Roof Stadium - The Roof
Concept. ASCE 7th Strucn¡¡al Conference. San Francisco. USA.
4. AIIen, C.M.; Duchesne, D.J.; and Humar, J.L. 1988. Application of Computer Aided Design in
the Ontario Domed Stadium Project. Canadian Joumal of Civil Engineering. Vol. 15 pages
5. In¡riq P.A.; and Gamble, S.L. 1988. Predicting Snow Loading on the To¡onto SþDome.
Proceedings of the Engineering Foundation Conference, Santa Barba¡a, CA.
6. Allen, C.M.; and Packer, J.A. 1989. Stn¡ctu¡al Testing of RHS Joints and Members for the
Toronto SþDome Roof. International Symposium on Tubular Stn¡ctr¡¡es. Lappeenranta,
7. General Requirements for Rolled or Welded Stn¡cn¡¡al Quality Steel. CAN/CSA-G40.20-92. A
National Standa¡d of Car¡ada
8. Packer, J.A.; and Henderson, J.E. lgg2. Design Guide for Hollow Stn¡crural Section
Connections. Canadian Institute of Steel Constuctior¡ V/illowdale, Ontario.
9. Packer, J.A.; aird Cassidy, C.E. 1995. Effective V/eld Lengths for HSS T, Y and X Connections.
Journal of Sructural Engineering. A¡rerican Society of Civil Engineers. Vol. 121.


By R. Bonneau*

Atuminum tubing is used in large volumes in overhead structures supporting roadway and naffic
signs. The light weight of aluminum allows prefabricatiol of large sub-assemblies that can be
reãdily transporæd and quickly erecæd. The very good atuospheric corrosion resistance of
aluminum minimi2s the mainænance costs of the structures.

This paper describes the significant differences between steel and aluminum in reference to code
requiiements and welding fabrication. hactical aspects of avoiding difficulties when welding
aluminr¡m fibulil components are outlined. The conte¡t is a reflection of observations made in I

the course of adminisfrating the CSA welding certifîcation standa¡ds. n


Overhead sign structures bpically consist of a rigid box truss, square in cross-section and
supported at each end by tapered tubular aluminum frames as shown in figure 1.

The structure may consist of one or more truss sections fabricated of 6061-T6 alloy. When
multþle tn¡ss sectionr¡ are used they are joined by means of cast ryrought aluminum flenges of
356.0 alloy. These flanges are welded to the chords with inside and outside fillet welds and
bolæd together. The truss sections fastened to the supporting end frames fabricaæd of 6063-T6
alloy comprise the complete structure.

The main advantage of using aluminum is its light weight which allow long span with a light

Desigr Reouirement

The overhead structures are designed according to AASHTO Standa¡d Specifications for
structural supports for highway signs, luminaires a¡d Eaffic signals.

The sign structure and the end frames must withstand a wind load of a 100 milelhour (160
km/hour), or a wind pressure of 55 pounds per square foot on the sign panels plus 45 pounds
per square foot on all the overhead sign structure without excessive deflection, vibration and
without permanent deformation, fracture or structural failure.

*R. Bonneau is with the C¡nadian Welding Bureau t'

206 fr

o i

SCÂLE l:75

Fig. I - Overheacl Box Truss Sign Structure

process is used for joining braces ro the main
For fabricarion of each truss section the GMAW
Braces are cut and Eimmed for proper fit'
chords with fillet welds. see figure 2.

plaforms a *ni.Hrlî, chords are fasþned by means
sf stainlæs steel U bola' The end framæ
consist of two tapered columns
joirr.à togrth., by mea-ns of filler welded braces. The columns
fillet welds to a shoe base made of a
*¿-.o*"cied with
¿¡'g 5samlsss extruded tubes taperrã
casting 356.0 alloY.


or ilbe 89' O'D' x 5 wall
Qslumns Tube 48 O'p' * 5 wall
Tube 89 O'p' x 5 watl or tube 127 O'D'
x 5 wall or
,'- tube 152 O'D' x 5 wall'
Vertical õ^ r x 5 wall
frames: Pipe 48 O'D' x 5 wall or 89 O'D'

Inside diagonal
Pipe 42O.D' x 4 wall or 48 O'D' x 5 wail or 60 O'D' x 6 wall

Horizontal diagonal
Pipe 42O.D. x 4 wall or 48 O'D' x 5 wait or 60 O'D' x 6 wall




Figure 2 - Schematic Arrangement of Box Truss


Preparation for Welding

Cutting and Edge PreParation

The cutting and edge prepararion of aluminum include atl the usua-l methods used for
point much higher than
excepr flamã cuning,-¿ue tô tne aluminum oxide skin that has a melting
the aluminum that it covers.

and suit¿ble rake and

The success of mechanical cuning methods is related to high cutter speeds
jaroming or catching.
clearance anglæ, to avoid loading up of cuner and the possibility of cutter

Aluminum Oxide

Aluminum oxide instantaneously forms on aluminum surfaces exposed to air. This

oxide is thin,
transparent and has a melting remperature about three times higher than aluminum'
thickness of the oxide film inciease rapidly at the beginning and then is self controlling..
weld quality as fusion may
excessively thick oxide film can cause welding diffieulties and affect
not occur. Excessive oxide on the surfacs to be welded must be removed by mechanical or
chemical methods of cleaning prior to fit up..

Mechanical methods inciudes wire brushing with uncontaminated søinless steel

wire brushes,
scraping, filing, pl¡ning and grinding after ttre surfaces have been cleaned of oil and grease.

are useful for

Chemical metfrods includes causric soda solution and proprietary products. They
batch sls¿ning. The interval between cleaning of the su¡faces to be welded and
welding must
be as short as possible, usually within 6 hou¡s.

Oils, Greases, Other Hydrocarbon and Loose Partides

Oil and grease films and loose particles on the edges to be welded wilt cause porosiry in the

Solvent degreasing.applied by qpraying, dÞping or wiping are used, prior to fit up. Non-residue
leaving solvent must be used.


'water on surfaces o be welded may result f¡om outdoor exposure or from condensation caused
by temperature changes. The surfaces must be dry before welding.

Water stain must be removed with disk grinder, a po\¡/er-driven stainless steel wire brush or
other abrasive or machining method or by chemical methods.


I Eigh Eeat Conductivity of Aluminqnt

Aluminum conducts heat away from a weld a¡ea atarate 3-5 times as fast as that when ¡r¡elrling
steel. Welding currents and welding speeds must be higher and stringer beads are generally

Eigh Coeffrcieut of Thermal Í'.xl¡ansion

Aluminum expalds about twice as much of steel for a given increase in æmperature. Stress
induced by the contraction during solidification may cause excessive weld joint distortion or
cracking unless proper welding procedures and filler metals a¡e used.

trìlter Metal
High srength alloys such as 6061 or 6063 a¡e welded with filler metal of different composition
than the base meAl to prevent hot cracking. Hot cracking occurs during solidification when the
metal is passing between the liçidus and solidus temperatures under contraction strains. The r
standa¡dgrecommend filler metals having enough silicon or magnesium such as 4043 or 5356 L
to produce a crack resistant composition in the weld-

Preheating t
Preheating of aluminum is not generally required. Whren welding thick aluminum sections,
preheating is sometimcs used to avoid cold-start defects to achieve heat balance between t
ãissimilarthicknesses, or to remove moisnue from the metal surface in the welds joint area.

If preheating is necessary, the application of heat should be for as short a time as possible 15 t
minutes marimum and a base metal temperature of 120"C should not be exceeded as the
propreties and metallurgy of aluminum alloys are almost always affected adversely by elevated
No Colour Change During Heating
Unlike steel, during heating aluminum shows no colotu sþange during heating. The welder has
to look carefully for a liquid wet appearance of the area being heaæd to know that the metal has r
begin to melt.


210 t
**"'ffi'#o€'ff#R{'fi"fi BäüH'^ffiffiil'**
Avoid Craters in the Tl'-eld

types are usually present'

Most weld craters contain cracks; both tr'2nsverse and longitudinal
These cracks may extend into the weld bead or
into the parent metal under service conditions.
metal a-nd rewelding'
Crater cracks can be repaired by gouging out the unsound
torch and/or filier metal in manual
crarers can be avoided by proper manipulation of the
the gun trigger;
accelerating arc travel speed just before releasing
- reversing the direction óf travel for a dista¡ct suffi.itot to create a smooth transition
- providing suitable build-up and dressing the crater area flush
with the weld surface by
mechanical means

of end frames' the stop/start
When welding braces to the chords of truss section or colum¡s
the toe and heel a¡ea of the joint-
during welding should be made on the side rather than in

Incomplete Fusion
present on the surfaces and is not
Incomplete fusion occurs when an aluminum oxide film
completely ,."*ourã either by cleaning prior to wetdinq
or by the scouring acdon of the arc'
unrike steer, rhe oxide film ii insolublã io tn. weld pool and
is high melting point prevents ir
from being melted bY the arc-
joint spacing or edge preparation and too long
Other sources of incompleæ fi,lsion are inadequate
a welding arc.

Incomplete Penetration
tends to bridge accross the
In fillet welds, incomplete penerration resulß when the filler metal
toe of the joint and not peneÍate into the root'
does not petretrate the full-
In groove welds, incompleæ penetation occurs when the weld bead
thickness of the p."nt ,ort"l when welding is done from one
side or where the weld beads do
not inter-penetrate when welding is done from both sidæ of the
speed too high; too long
This defect is usually caused by insuftrcient welding current; arc ravel
an arc; inadequate edge penetration.


welding æchnique.
This defect is caused by a welding current too high and improper t,
causes include welding crnrent too high, arc Eavel speed too
low or improper torch angle

Porosity E

Hydrogen is the most common source of porosity inalumr¡um *9le.. $ldrogen

is introduced
io tn.ïud pool from water vapour, grease and oil, surface oxide in the weld zone or
either E
from residuailubricants tlat conåin hydrocarbons or from hydraæd
oxile films on thl surface
;irhr;;Hi"g *itr. wnro these conaminants enter the arc they are broken
is liberated. In the molten state, aluminum absorbs 19 times more hydrogen
the hydrogen
down and hydrogen
thal it can sustain
released in the weld
after solidification. Depending on the rate of solidification,
may become entrapped causin! porosity in the weld. Fast solidification
porosity than do slow rates.
rates result in greaær
Improper Fillet Welds t
over grinding of fillet welds or a too concÍrve surface can cause a reduction of the effective
throat thickness and cracking of welds in service' t
Control of \trelding Yariables

Main variablqs which need to be controlled are:

correct welding arc (stabte, with sufficient energy, proper lenght)
correct electrical power sor¡rce
o matching of welding consumables with base metals
care of welding consumables t
design of welded connections
. clea¡liness a¡d protection of joint
o manipulation or confiol of welding electrodes I
To properly connol these variables the following is required:
. welding procedures for continurty and consistenry during the welding operation
o skilled wllders for the process and position used
e Qualified supervisor reqponsible foiensuring
that welders, welding operators and tack
welders weld in accordance with approved procedures
o Qualif,redengineer responsible for welding design and welding procedures and practice
212 t
departments that welding
In Canada, it is a contractual requirernent of provincial uansportation
shali be ca¡ried ou, uv companies cenified by ttre canadian
welding Bureau to the requirements
of CSA Welding St¿ndards-
of aluminum are given in
The Code and standards associated with rhe design and fabrication
figure 3.




csf,.w47.2 csA \il59.2




Fig. 3 - Aluminum welding: codes and standa¡ds Involved

of Aluminr¡m"
dW4T.z"Certifrcation of Comp¡niss for Fr¡sion Welding
and verification of a basic
jsundard specifies the requirem:nts for documeûraúon
welding' Ii includæ requiremens for:
, Welding PersonneíQualification : ::l:-t:.:,
. Supervisor
o Welder

o 'Wetding Engineering Standards

Welding Procedures . Welding Procedure Spectt-tcauons
. Welding Procedure Data Sheee

I Welding and Auxiliary Equipment

conforming to standards
Use of Bæe Metal and Filler Alloys

Third party verification and
A Standar d,W5g'2 "Welded Atuminum
standa¡d specifies the requirement
Design ãf Wtt¿e¿ Conne-ctions
w;lãi"e ConsuÀaules, Workmanship *¿
I À"."p-r":*e Criteria for Welded

, Weiding lnsPection
,l - c^-
for D^-a Ahminum Alloy
Àt,rninrryn and AI
Bare ah¡minum
*sUnws standard a5.10 "specifrcations
.\ding Electrodes and Rods"'
be certified by the
w59.2 require that welding rods and elecuodes
;,L rono* dsw4j.zand or eNsvAws standa¡d A5'10'
,radian \Melding Bureau as conformid; rh. requirãments

I sundar¿ specifies the requirements
d;;;;*'ã"".r quatificaiion:
: ìJ,no".i,i:'
' Teit EquiPment oPerator

llding insPection Procedures
bessary testing equiPment
hird partY verifica¡ion and audis

CSA Standard IV178.2 "Certification of TVelding rnspectors"

This standa¡d specifies the requirement for qualification as inspection superviso¡ or inspector.


As in the welding of steel, there are many variables to control when welding aluminum. proper
base meai preparation before welding and fit up are key elements.

Welding standards provide information on qualification of welding personnel, procedures and

techniques, welding equipment, consumables, acceptaace criteria and inspection to assu¡e that
aluminum weldments will meet the service requirements.


I would like to rhank ¡¡s À4inistere des ftensports du euebec to have share their experience as
user of the structures and to Lampadaires Feralux Inc. for their cooperation.


1. Welding of Aiuminum. Alcan C¡na¿¿ Products Limited, Sixth Edi¡ion, 19g4.

2. , The Aiuminum Association, 'Wæhington

D.C., 1977.

3. Canadian Standard Association, CSA W47.2-M1987, Certification of Companies for

Fusion Welding of Aluminum , lgï7.

4. Canadian Standard Association, CSA W59.2-M1991, Welded Aluminum Construction,


5. Welding Aluminum with the inert gas processes, Australian V/elding Resea¡ch
Association and the Austalian V/elding Instirure, AS/RA-AWI Technical Note 2, 19g5.