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steelwise

Working With Single-Angle Members


By Amanuel Gebremeskel, P.E.

The inherent eccentricities of this popular shape require


the engineers attention and understanding.

Angles have been used in construction almost as For axial compression in angles without slender elements,
long as structural steel has been around, and were com- comprehensive analysis and design of single angles can be car-
monly used as components of built-up shapes. For example, ried out using the provisions of Section E3, whereas a simpli-
Bethlehem Steel made I-shaped members and channels fied design approach is provided for special cases in Section E5.
using angles attached to plates. Other producers used them Table 4-11 in the 13th Edition AISC Steel Construction Manual
to build similar cross sections and other more exotic shapes. applies to the design of single angles for concentric axial loads.
More recently, angles have been used as braces, tension For flexure without slender elements, the comprehensive
members, struts and lintels. Angles also have been used in approach is provided in Section F10.2, with subsections (iii)
double-angle and single-angle connections. and (iv), while the simplified approach is provided in Section
In spite of their long history of usage, the design of mem- F10.2, with subsections (i) and (ii). Local buckling and slen-
bers composed of anglesand single angles in particular derness are addressed in Sections E7 and F10.3 for compres-
has not become as familiar to the engineering profession as sion and flexure, respectively.
the design of other, more common shapes. This article high- Single angles also may be loaded in combined axial force
lights the information available today to help in this regard. and flexural. These are designed according to Section H2, and
the design of single angles with typical end connection con-
The AISC Specification figurations that result in eccentric axial loads is addressed in
AISC first published a single-angle specification in the Table 4-12 in the 13th Edition AISC Manual. These can be
1980s. Since then more research and testing has helped used as design aids for single angles with combined loading
to develop the knowledge base upon which single-angle due to end attachments to one leg alone as described in the
design is covered in the 2005 AISC Specification (and the explanation of the table on page 4-7 of the Manual.
soon-to-be-released 2010 AISC Specification).
The current approach to single-angle design offers two Principal Axes
alternatives: The principal axes of any shape define two orthogonal axes
1. A comprehensive design approach that can be used to that correspond to the maximum and minimum moments of
design any single angle for axial and/or flexural loads. inertia for that section. The axis around which one finds the
This approach is more general and involves more effort minimum moment of inertia is called the minor principal axis
in calculations that typically are based upon the princi- while the axis about which one finds the maximum moment
pal axes. of inertia is called the major principal axis. From a structural
2. A simplified design approach that can be used with analysis point of view, bending the section about the minor
greater expediency for specific common cases. Although principal axis corresponds with the minimum internal energy
limited in scope, it allows an easier design process. of the member. This means the structure is completely stable
when bent about this axis and cannot experience lateral-tor-
sional buckling.
Unlike singly and doubly symmetric wide-flanges and
channels, single angles have principal axes that do not coincide
with their geometric axes (see Figure 1). Therefore, the design
of single angles requires some consideration of both of these
sets of axes. While loading typically occurs about the geomet-
ric axes, the strength usually is controlled by response that is
Amanuel Gebremeskel, P.E., is a influenced by properties that relate to the principal axes.
senior engineer in the AISC Steel Part 1 of the AISC Manual contains properties of single
Solutions Center and secretary of the angles about both geometric axes (X and Y) and the minor prin-
AISC Committee on Specifications cipal axis (Z). Part 17 of the AISC Manual contains equations
Task Committee 5, Composite Design. that allow for the calculation of section properties about one
axis when the properties are known about the other.
MODERN STEEL CONSTRUCTION october 2010
A(6R a ) A(12R + 2a )
2 22 a2 ) =A(12R 21
R
R1 I1 = A I 2(6=RA(6R
I = A(6R 24
a2
) a2A R 12 +1248
) (=12A(12R a+2a )
+ )a2 )
2 R1 R I1 =II11I2=== I22 = 24 = = 48
1
2 R1 6R24 24
2 a2 48 48
2 R1 12R 2 + a2
r 1 = r 2 = 6R 22 a22 = 12R 122 1+ a22

1
2



r1 = r2 = 6R 2a = 12R 1248
24 +a 2

11
2
r = r = 6 R 24 a 1 + a
= 12 R48
r1 = r12 = 2 24 = 48

1
24 48

ANGLE
ANGLE
ANGLE
ANGLE Other 2=K 2K
tan =2Important
2K
Section Properties
Axis of moments
Axis of momentsthroughthrough tan 2
tan 2 = II2K y Ix
Axis ofcenter
moments through
ofofgravity
gravity tan 2 I=
Axis ofcenter
moments
center of gravity
through If the evaluation
y I yx I x
I y Ix b of the moment
2
2 + ct y = d
2 + at
2
of iner-
centerb of gravity A = t(b + c)x =b + ct
b 22 + ct d 22d++atat
b tia ofA =single
A t=(bt(b
A = t(b ++ +cangles
x ==
)c)x
c)x = 2(b about
b2(b ++ctc)yy=
y the
== d2(bprincipal
++atc) axes
t b a K = Product of22(b (b + + c)
Inertia
+ c) )
cabout 2(b
2(+
XX
2(b b c)
+ cYY
and
+ c) )
t
t
a
a is important,
K = Product
K = Product
K = Product the
abcdt
of evaluation
of Inertia
Inertia
about XX of
of Inertia about X X and Y Y
about XX
andthe
and
YY section
YY
Z b = abcdt
Z t moduli ==about abcdt
4(b the
abcdt + c) same axes is even more
Z Y a = 14(b + c)
4(b + c) 3
Y
Y useful.I Additionally,
I x 4(
= b
1 (t(d + c) y)
= (t(d y)33 + by 33 a(y t)33 )
1 3
+itbyis important to recog-
3 a(y t)3 )
Z I xx 1= 3 (t(d y) + by3 a(y t) )3
Y 90 W
W nizeIxthat =I y = the 1
(t1(d(t(b
3 single 3 3 angle
y) x)+ by + dx 3 a ccan
(y(x thave
) 3)) as many
t)
W c d I y 3= 13(t(b x)33 + dx 33 c (x t)33 )
90
90
c
c d
d
as three I y =section (t(b
1 33I x sin2 3+ I y cos
x)moduli + dx about
c (x t) one
) axis. For
3 2 + K sin 2
X
WX IY =I zI z==
unequal-leg 22 x
(tI x(bsinangles )+ I+y cos dxtwo 2
2 + K 2
ccorrespond
(xsin t) 3 ) to the
X
X y 90 X
X c I z 3= I x sin 2 + I y cos 2 + K sin 2
d I w = I x2 cos + I y sin 22 K sin 2
AISC-Sample (LRFD) y May W 1, 2009 20:34

Char Count= 0 toesIzof I=w Ithe =
x I xlegs
sin cos 2+while
2 I+ Y Icos
y sinone
2
+ relates
K
K sin2
sin 2 to the heel.
Xy W W X I = I x cos + I y sin K sin 2
K iswnegative 2 when heel of2angle, ith respect to
y x t
When Kcenter
K is negative
evaluating
Ixofcos
Iwis =negative when
gravity,
+ heel
whenisheel
IinYunequal-leg
sin
1st ofor angle,
of angle,
K sin2
ith single
respect
3rd quadrant,
ith respect
to angles
postitive
to
W x Kforiscenter
negative of gravity,when is inheel 1st orof3rd angle,
quadrant, withpostitive
respect to
x
Y Z
Z t
t centercombined
when
whenofingravity,
in 2nd
of gravity, or 4this axial
2nd or 4th quadrant.
1st or and
inquadrant. 3rd flexural
quadrant, loading,
postitive
Y Z centerwhen in 2nd or 4thisquadrant. in 1st or 3rd quadrant, positive
F10.] xY
SINGLE ANGLES t this can
when in16.1-281
2nd make or 4th the calculation quite lengthy.
quadrant.
Fig. 1: Geometric Y(X andZ Y) axes and principal Several articles published in AISCs
(W and Z) axes of single angle.
The horizontal component of deflection being approximately 60 Engineering percent of the Journal provide further insight
vertical deflection means that the lateral restraining force required intoto achieve working with single-angle mem-
purely verticalThe
deflection must
importance
BEAMS
be 60
AND
percent
of
CHANNELS
of the
evaluating applied load
sec- bers:
value (or Evaluating
produce Single-Angle Compres-
BEAMS ANDCHANNELS
CHANNELS
a moment 60tionpercent of the
properties
BEAMS
BEAMSappliedANDvalue)
AND
about
Transverse the
CHANNELS
force
which
principal
oblique
is very axes
significant.
sion Struts Using an Effective Slenderness
Transverse
through
Transverse force
center oblique
of
force gravity
oblique
for single
Lateral-torsional buckling angles
Transverse
isthroughiscenter
limited
through
through
illustrated
force
byof
center
center
Moblique
of
of e (Leigh
gravity
gravity
gravity
inand Figure
Lay, 1978; Approach,
2. Leigh and Lay,by Leroy A. Lutz (4th Quarter
Consider
1984) in Equation a Fsingle
F10-4a, F whichangle is based that on is bent F
F about 2006), Towards the Simplified Design of
F F
the geometric
Y
Y F axis and not 4 Y
Ybraced F against Single-Angle
I =
3 3x I I = sin 2 2+ IY+Beam
I x2 sin cos
I y cos 2 2 Columns, by Chris-

xY 2.33Eb txY I 3 = I x sin + I y cos222 2
lateral
x Y deformation
x Mcr = other 2
xthan
x Y 2 at the ends. topher I4 I=3I 4I= x= cosI xIJ. 2 2
sin
x cos Earls
2++ I +
Y
I ysin
Icos
y and
sin D. Christian Keelor
x (1 + 3 cos )(K x l) I 4 = I x cos 22 + I y sin 2 2
As
the beam is loaded, X it tends to naturally
X (1st I 4
f b = yM y sin x+x and
Quarter
= I x cos
y 2007),
+ I y sin x Design of Single
cos
XX X f f= M= M siny I
sin + + xcos
I cos
deflect
3 2 in the 0.156(1direction
+ 3 cos2of 3)(Kthel)2load.
t2 How-
X Angles
b
fbb = M Bent
IxM is I x About
x
sin + ythe
IY IImoment
y
cos Major

Principal Axis,
3 sin +
X3 + sin 3X3 (C-F10-1)
where I x bending y due to force F.
ever
3 it also tends to
3
b4 33 in the direction
3 deflect 3 where
by where
where MM
Christopher M isisisbending
bendingJ.
bending moment moment
momentEarls. due
due due
All to force
are
to force
to force F.
available
F.
F. at
3 3 3 3
X X
of least
X resistance, which Xcorresponds with www.aisc.org/epubs as free downloads to
X y X y
theexpression
(the general minor
X y
y principal
for the Y axis. moment
critical X y
y
of an Yequal-leg AISCangle)members with and may be purchased by
= 45 or theThis y
condition whereY the angle tip y stress is compressive
Y (see Figure
results
4 Y in a total deflection
Y 4 Y that
Y
others.
C-F10.3). occurs
Lateral-torsional 4 buckling can 4 the flexural
in 4the
4 direction of alsoboth limit
4geometric
4
strength of the
cross section when the maximum angle tip stress is tensile from geometric axis
axes. For such cases it is difficult to evaluate Another Reference
flexure, especially with use of the flexural strength limits in Section F10.2. Using
first yield or the propensity of the member In addition to the information available in
= 45 in Equation C-F10-1, the resulting expression is Equation F10-4b with
to oflaterally
a +1 instead 1 as thebuckle last term.without
AMERICAN resolving
INSTITUTE theOF STEELAISC
the CONSTRUCTION Specification and Manual, Whitney
A
AMERICAN IINSTITUTE OF STEEL CONSTRUCTION
OF STEEL CONSTRUCTION
load and response into components
MERICAN NSTITUTE that McNulty, P.E., recently self-published a guide
Stress at the tip of the angle leg parallel to the applied bending to
are parallel to the principal axes. Some- axis is of the design called the Single-Angle
single-angle
same sign as the maximum stress at the tip of the other leg when the single angle
thing similar can be said of an axially loaded Design Manual. It is devoted to the specifics
is unrestrained. For an equal-leg angle this stress is about one-third of the max-
single
imum stress. It is onlyangle. Its tendency
necessary to check to the failnominalin Euler of the design of angles and has chapters that
bending strength based
on the tip of the angle leg with the maximum stress when evaluatinginto
flexural buckling will be about the axis of get suchthe an details of equal-leg and unequal-
least
angle. Since thisresistance
maximum moment which corresponds
per Section F10.2(ii) with the leg combined
represents single angles in tension, shear, compres-
minor
principal axis moments principal axis. F10-5 represents the design sion,
and Equation limit for andthese flexure (including interaction). The
interested reader can find this reference at
www.lulu.com/singleangle.

Conclusion
The design of single angles is more com-
plicated than that of other more common
shapes. Nonetheless, the versatility of single
angles in construction has made them pop-
ular. Provisions and recommendations exist
in the AISC Specification, AISC Manual, and
other references to assist the engineer who
wants to design single angles. 

Fig. C-F10.2. Geometric axis bending of laterally unrestrained equal-leg angles.


Fig. 2: Deflection of single angle due to load
about geometric
Specification axis.Steel Buildings, March 9, 2005
for Structural
AMERICAN INSTITUTE OF STEEL CONSTRUCTION

 october 2010 MODERN STEEL CONSTRUCTION