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# Joints in Steel Structures based on Eurocode 3 Frans Bijlaard

Delft University of Technology, Faculty of Civil Engineering and Geosciences PO Box 5048, 2600 GA Delft, The Netherlands F.S.K.Bijlaard@citg.tudelft.nl

ABSTRACT This paper deals about the design aspects of joints based on Eurocode 3 and in particular on Part 1-8 Design of Joints". An overview is given of design philosophies named as "traditional" and "modern" design and the various design rules by which the structural behaviour in terms of stiffness, strength and deformation capacity can be predicted, with the aim of reducing the integral costs of steel structures. Emphasis is given on the need of reliable software tools to make the use of the Eurocode information easier for the designer. INTRODUCTION Cost optimisation is one of the most important items in steel construction in order to be competitive in the market of buildings. The joints determine almost 50% of the total costs of a steel structure. The cost of joints can decrease substantially when stiffeners between flanges can be avoided. Consequences of detailing of joints for distribution of forces and moments in joints and requirements with respect to stiffness, strength and rotation capacity for joints The distribution of forces and moments in the structure due to the loading is a result of the strength and stiffness distribution in the structure. So the structural properties of the joints such as stiffness, strength and rotation capacity, together with those of the structural components like beams and columns, produce these forces in the joints. This means that the choices made by the designer in designing the joints including the connecting parts are of direct influence on the level of forces and moments in these joints. In fact, construction is joining components such as columns and beams together while designing is making choices for components taking the structural properties such as strength and stiffness into account.

Traditional design In traditional design it is assumed that the joints are stiff and strong and that the forces and moments in the structure are determined using the linear-elastic theory. Because it was assumed that the joints were stiff, it needs to be checked weather the joints are really stiff. In many cases in practice this is neglected. The strength of the joints is adjusted to the level needed. As a result most joints have low deformation or rotation capacity. Last but not least, the fabrication costs are very high because of the necessity of applying stiffeners between the flanges. Modern design In modern design the joints are considered as structural components such as columns and beams with properties as stiffness, strength and deformation capacity. These structural properties of the joints are incorporated into the design on the same level as those of columns and beams. The joint layout should only be influenced by fabrication considerations and considerations for easy and safe construction on-site. The structural safety verification of all components including that of the joints is dependent on the design method used to determine the distribution of forces and moment in the structure. a. In case that the elastic theory is used, the beams need to be checked for strength and for lateral torsional buckling, the columns need to be checked for strength and for beam-column stability (incl. lateral torsional buckling) and the connecting parts of the joints need to be checked to have sufficient strength to transfer bending moments, shear forces and tensile forces. b. In case that the plastic theory is used, the beams need to be checked for lateral torsional buckling only, the columns need to be checked for beam-column stability (incl. lateral torsional buckling) only and the joints need to be checked to have sufficient deformation (in fact rotation) capacity. c. In case that the elastic-plastic-non linear theory is used, the beams and columns need to be checked for lateral torsional buckling only and the joints need to be checked to have sufficient deformation (in fact rotation) capacity. The Eurocode 3 "Common unified rules for steel structures" contains performancebased requirements to carry out these checks. In fact the Eurocode 3 Part 1-8 "Joints" (see [1]) provides rules to determine the structural behaviour of joints in terms of Strength (moment capacity), Stiffness (rotational stiffness) and Deformation capacity (rotation capacity). The extend to which all types of joints can be checked using Eurocode 3 depends on the creativity of the designer to recognise components in the connecting parts of these joints that are similar to the components given in the chapters for joints in Eurocode 3 Part 1-8 "Joints". If necessary, because the designed joints are out of the scope of Eurocode 3, experiments on these types of joints have to be carried out and the results have to be evaluated statistically, in order to obtain reliable design values for the stiffness, strength and rotation capacity of these joints, to be equivalent to the safety level based on the Eurocode 3. In next chapters a few important aspects about joints out of Eurocode 3 Part 1-8 "Joints" are mentioned and discussed. SCOPE, TERMS AND DEFINITIONS AND DESIGN ASSUMPTIONS

Part 1-8 of EN 1993 gives design methods for the design of joints subject to predominantly static loading using steel grades S235, S275, S355 and S460. Part 1-12 provides additional information to what extend the rules of Part 1-8 is applicable for steel grades up to S700. It appears that, due to lack of sufficient research results, in this case only elastic design is allowed. In this context it is worthwhile mentioning that in particular young bright researchers are looking into the subject of deformation and rotation capacity of joints with end-plate connections in steel grade S690. As an example see (Giro Coelho, 2004). With respect to the wording "joint" and "connection", to avoid misunderstanding, Eurocode 3 Part 1-8 gives the following definitions:

basic component (of a joint): Part of a joint that makes a contribution to one or more of its structural properties. connection: Location at which two or more elements meet. For design purposes it is the assembly of the basic components required to represent the behaviour during the transfer of the relevant internal forces and moments at the connection. connected member: Any member that is joined to a supporting member or element. joint: Zone where two or more members are interconnected. For design purposes it is the assembly of all the basic components required to represent the behaviour during the transfer of the relevant internal forces and moments between the connected members. A beam-to-column joint consists of a web panel and either one connection (single sided joint configuration) or two connections (double sided joint configuration), see Figure 1. joint configuration: Type or layout of the joint or joints in a zone within which the axes of two or more inter-connected members intersect, see Figure 2.

2 2

3 3

Joint

## a) Single-sided joint configuration

Left joint = web panel in shear + left connection Right joint= web panel in shear + right connection b) Double-sided joint configuration

## Figure 1: Parts of a beam-to-column joint configuration

3 2

1 2 4 3 4 5 5

Single-sided beam-to-column joint configuration; Double-sided beam-to-column joint configuration; Beam splice; Column splice; Column base.

5
a) Major-axis joint configurations

## Double-sided beam-to-beam joint configuration

b) Minor-axis joint configurations (to be used only for balanced moments Mb1,Ed = Mb2,Ed )

## Figure 2: Joint configurations

About resistance of joints it is stated: (1) (2) (3) The resistance of a joint should be determined on the basis of the resistances of its basic components. Linear-elastic or elastic-plastic analysis may be used in the design of joints. Where fasteners with different stiffness are used to carry a shear load the fasteners with the highest stiffness should be designed to carry the design load. An exception to this rule is allowed only in case that preloaded class 8.8 and 10.9 bolts in connections, designed as slip-resistant at the ultimate limit state, may be assumed to share the load with welds, provided that the final tightening of the bolts is carried out after the welding is complete.

Design assumptions for joints are: Joints should be designed on the basis of a realistic assumption of the distribution of internal forces and moments. The following assumptions should be used to determine the distribution of forces: (a) (b) (c) (d) (e) the internal forces and moments assumed in the analysis are in equilibrium with the forces and moments applied to the joints, each element in the joint is capable of resisting the internal forces and moments, the deformations implied by this distribution do not exceed the deformation capacity of the fasteners or welds and the connected parts, the assumed distribution of internal forces should be realistic with regard to relative stiffness within the joint, the deformations assumed in any design model based on elastic-plastic analysis are based on rigid body rotations and/or in-plane deformations which are physically possible, and any model used is in compliance with the evaluation of test results (see EN 1990).

(f)

The application rules given in Eurocode 3 Part 1-8 "Joints" satisfy this design assumptions CONNECTIONS MADE WITH BOLTS As a help to the designer Eurocode 3-1-8 provides a classification of connections in categories, such that if the designer chooses a certain connection, he is confronted with the consequences of his choice. Bolted connections loaded in shear should be designed as one of the following: a) Category A: Bearing type In this category bolts from class 4.6 up to and including class 10.9 should be used. No preloading and special provisions for contact surfaces are required. The design ultimate shear load should not exceed the design shear resistance, nor the design bearing resistance. b) Category B: Slip-resistant at serviceability limit state Slip should not occur at the serviceability limit state. The design serviceability shear load should not exceed the design slip resistance. The design ultimate shear load should not exceed the design shear resistance, nor the design bearing resistance. c) Category C: Slip-resistant at ultimate limit state In this category preloaded bolts should be used. Slip should not occur at the ultimate limit state. The design ultimate shear load should not exceed the design slip resistance, nor the design bearing resistance. In addition for a connection in tension, the design plastic resistance of the net cross-section at bolt holes Nnet,Rd should be checked at the ultimate limit state.

For Category B and C only bolt assemblies of classes 8.8 and 10.9 with controlled tightening may be used as preloaded bolts. Bolted connection loaded in tension should be designed as one of the following: a) Category D: non-preloaded In this category bolts from class 4.6 up to and including class 10.9 should be used. No preloading is required. This category should not be used where the connections are frequently subjected to variations of tensile loading. However, they may be used in connections designed to resist normal wind loads. b) Category E: preloaded In this category preloaded 8.8 and 10.9 bolts with controlled tightening should be used. Eurocode 3 part 1-8 provides requirements for the positioning of holes for bolts like spacing between bolt holes as well as for end and edge distances dependent on the question whether the steel structure is under weather or corrosive conditions or not. The code provides formulae for determining the design resistances of individual bolts with respect to tension, shear and bearing. The situation of combined shear and tension is treated too. For groups of bolts the following is stated. The design resistance of a group of fasteners may be taken as the sum of the design bearing resistances Fb,Rd of the individual fasteners provided that the design shear resistance Fv,Rd of each individual fastener is greater than or equal to the design bearing resistance Fb,Rd . Otherwise the design resistance of a group of fasteners should be taken as the number of fasteners multiplied by the smallest design resistance of any of the individual fasteners. This statement is meant to persuade the designer to choose a balanced bolt pattern and to avoid having a relative small end distance in combination with a relative large pitch. A wrong design may lead to premature failure of the end bolts before the inner bolts reached their capacities. The capacity of the group of bolts will be over estimated in such cases. Without going into detail, the code pays attention to subjects as long joints, deduction for fastener holes where aspects are treated like block tearing, angles connected by one leg. Attention is given to the presence of prying forces. About the distribution of forces between fasteners at the ultimate limit state (ULS) the following is said: (1) When a moment is applied to a joint, the distribution of internal forces may be either linear (i.e. proportional to the distance from the centre of rotation) or plastic, (i.e. any distribution that is in equilibrium is acceptable provided that the resistances of the components are not exceeded and the ductility of the components is sufficient). (2) The elastic linear distribution of internal forces should be used for the following:

## when bolts are used creating a category C slip-resistant connection,

in shear connections where the design shear resistance Fv,Rd of a fastener is less than the design bearing resistance Fb,Rd,

where connections are subjected to impact, vibration or load reversal (except wind loads). (3) When a joint is loaded by a concentric shear only, the load may be assumed to be uniformly distributed amongst the fasteners, provided that the size and the class of fasteners is the same.

WELDED CONNECTIONS Out of all information on welded connections in this context attention will be focussed on the design resistance of fillet welds. The design resistance of a fillet weld should be determined using either the Directional method or the Simplified method. Directional method (1) In this method, the forces transmitted by a unit length of weld are resolved into components parallel and transverse to the longitudinal axis of the weld and normal and transverse to the plane of its throat. (2) The design throat area Aw should be taken as Aw = a eff where eff is the effective length of the weld. (3) The location of the design throat area should be assumed to be concentrated in the root. (4) A uniform distribution of stress is assumed on the throat section of the weld, leading to the normal stresses and shear stresses shown in Figure 3, as follows:

is is

the normal stress perpendicular to the throat the normal stress parallel to the axis of the weld

is the shear stress (in the plane of the throat) perpendicular to the axis of the weld is weld. the shear stress (in the plane of the throat) parallel to the axis of the

Figure 3: Stresses on the throat section of a fillet weld (5) The normal stress parallel to the axis is not considered when verifying the design resistance of the weld.

(6)

The design resistance of the fillet weld will be sufficient if the following are both satisfied:
[2 + 3 (2 + 2)] 0,5 fu / (w M2 ) and fu / M2

where: fu is the nominal ultimate tensile strength of the weaker part joined; the appropriate correlation factor taken from Table 1. w is (7)

Welds between parts with different material strength grades should be designed using the properties of the material with the lower strength grade. Table 1: Correlation factor w for fillet welds Standard and steel grade EN 10025 S 235 S 235 W S 275 S 275 N/NL S 275 M/ML S 355 S 355 N/NL S 355 M/ML S 355 W S 420 N/NL S 420 M/ML S 460 N/NL S 460 M/ML S 460 Q/QL/QL1 EN 10210 S 235 H S 275 H S 275 NH/NLH S 355 H S 355 NH/NLH EN 10219 S 235 H S 275 H S 275 NH/NLH S 275 MH/MLH S 355 H S 355 NH/NLH S 355 MH/MLH S 420 MH/MLH S 460 NH/NLH S 460 NH/NLH S 460 MH/MLH Correlation factor w 0,8 0,85

## 0,9 1,0 1,0

Simplified method for design resistance of fillet weld (1) Alternatively to the directional method, the design resistance of a fillet weld may be assumed to be adequate if, at every point along its length, the resultant of all the forces per unit length transmitted by the weld satisfy the following criterion:
Fw,Ed Fw,Rd

where: Fw,Ed is the design value of the weld force per unit length; Fw,Rd is the design weld resistance per unit length. (2) Independent of the orientation of the weld throat plane to the applied force, the design resistance per unit length Fw,Rd should be determined from:
Fw,Rd = fvw.d a

where:

fvw.d is the design shear strength of the weld. (3) The design shear strength fvw.d of the weld should be determined from:
fvw.d =

w M 2

fu /

where: fu is the nominal ultimate tensile strength of the weaker part joined; the appropriate correlation factor taken from Table 1. w is

ANALYSIS, CLASSIFICATION AND MODELLING Global analysis The effects of the behaviour of the joints on the distribution of internal forces and moments within a structure and on the overall deformations of the structure, should generally be taken into account, but where these effects are sufficiently small they may be neglected. To identify whether the effects of joint behaviour on the analysis need be taken into account, a distinction may be made between three simplified joint models as follows:

simple, in which the joint may be assumed not to transmit bending moments; continuous, in which the behaviour of the joint may be assumed to have no effect on the analysis;

semi-continuous, in which the behaviour of the joint needs to be taken into account in the analysis. The appropriate type of joint model should be determined from Table 2, depending on the classification of the joint and on the chosen method of analysis. The design moment-rotation characteristic of a joint used in the analysis may be simplified by adopting any appropriate curve, including a linearised approximation (e.g. bi-linear or tri-linear), provided that the approximate curve lies wholly below the design moment-rotation characteristic.

Table 2: Type of joint model Method of global analysis Elastic Rigid-Plastic Elastic-Plastic Type of joint model Classification of joint Nominally pinned Nominally pinned Nominally pinned Simple Rigid Full-strength Rigid and strength Continuous Semi-rigid Partial-strength Semi-rigid and partial-strength fullSemi-rigid and full-strength Rigid and partial-strength Semi-continuous

Classification of joints Classification of joints is a help to the designer, not an obligation. The designer makes choices about the type and geometrical layout of joint he wants to make. The behaviour of that joint in terms of moment-capacity, rotational stiffness and rotation capacity follows from the design and can be determined using the rules of this Eurocode part. These structural properties of all the joints, together with the structural properties of the beams and columns form the basis for the calculation of the structural response of the structure to the loading working on it. The joints than always need to be modelled as a set of (rotational) non-linear springs. The question whether or not the joints have influence on the response of the structure to loading working on it, just follow from the calculation. If a joint is rigid and strong its behaviour needs not to modelled other than by assuming a rigid and strong attachment of the jointed members to each other. If a joint behaves like a hinge, this behaviour needs not be modelled other than by assuming a hinged attachment between the jointed members. It can be of help to the designer to make use of a classification system in determining the behaviour (structural properties such as rotational stiffness, moment capacity and rotation capacity) of the joints just by knowing the type and layout of the joint alone. The classification as given in Eurocede 3 Part 1-8 is based on the following criteria: a) A joint is classified as rotationally stiff if the Euler buckling load of the structure is not less that 95% of the Euler buckling load of that structure using full rigid attachment of the members jointed together. In this analysis it is assumed that the span-height-ratio of the beams is about 20. In terms of ultimate capacity of the frame, this will lead to a reduction of not more than 2% because most steel framed structures are in the slenderness range where the influence of instability and plasticity is of almost equal importance. b) A joint is classified as full strength if the moment capacity is not less than the moment capacity of the cross section of the attached beam. Joints not fulfilling these criteria are called semi-rigid and partial strength and their structural behaviour need to be taken into account in the calculation of the response of the structure. Any other system of classification can be used as long as the designer takes the consequences into account in his design. The starting points of the classification of joints in Eurocode 3 Part 1-8 are: (1) The details of all joints should fulfil the assumptions made in the relevant design method, without adversely affecting any other part of the structure. (2) Joints may be classified by their stiffness and by their strength and lead to the following criteria: CLASSIFICATION BY STIFFNESS (1) A joint may be classified as rigid, nominally pinned or semi-rigid according to its rotational stiffness, by comparing its initial rotational stiffness Sj,ini with the classification boundaries. (2) A joint may be classified on the basis of experimental evidence, experience of previous satisfactory performance in similar cases or by calculations based on test evidence.

Nominally pinned joints (1) A nominally pinned joint should be capable of transmitting the internal forces, without developing significant moments which might adversely affect the members or the structure as a whole. (2) A nominally pinned joint should be capable of accepting the resulting rotations under the design loads. Rigid joints (1) Joints classified as rigid may be assumed to have sufficient rotational stiffness to justify analysis based on full continuity. Semi-rigid joints (1) A joint which does not meet the criteria for a rigid joint or a nominally pinned joint should be classified as a semi-rigid joint. NOTE: Semi-rigid joints provide a predictable degree of interaction between members, based on the design moment-rotation characteristics of the joints. (2) Semi-rigid joints should be capable of transmitting the internal forces and moments. Classification boundaries for joints other than column bases are given in Figure 4. Zone 1: rigid, if Sj,ini kb EIb / Lb where kb = 8 for frames where the bracing system reduces the horizontal displacement by at least 80 % kb = 25 for other frames, provided that in every storey Kb/Kc 0,1 *) Zone 2: semi-rigid All joints in zone 2 should be classified as semi-rigid. Joints in zones 1 or 3 may optionally also be treated as semi-rigid.

Key:
Kb Kc Ib Ic Lb Lc is is is is is is

## Zone 3: nominally pinned, if Sj,ini 0,5 EIb / Lb

*)

For frames where Kb/Kc < 0,1 the joints should be classified as semi-rigid.

the mean value of Ib/Lb for all the beams at the top of that storey; the mean value of Ic/Lc for all the columns in that storey; the second moment of area of a beam; the second moment of area of a column; the span of a beam (centre-to-centre of columns); the storey height of a column.

Figure 4: Classification of joints by stiffness CLASSIFICATION BY STRENGTH (1) A joint may be classified as full-strength, nominally pinned or partial strength by comparing its design moment resistance Mj,Rd with the design moment

resistances of the members that it connects. When classifying joints, the design resistance of a member should be taken as that member adjacent to the joint. Nominally pinned joints (1) A nominally pinned joint should be capable of transmitting the internal forces, without developing significant moments, which might adversely affect the members or the structure as a whole. (2) A nominally pinned joint should be capable of accepting the resulting rotations under the design loads. (3) A joint may be classified as nominally pinned if its design moment resistance Mj,Rd is not greater than 0,25 times the design moment resistance required for a full-strength joint, provided that it also has sufficient rotation capacity. Full-strength joints (1) The design resistance of a full strength joint should be not less than that of the connected members. (2) A joint may be classified as full-strength if it meets the criteria given in Figure 5. Partial-strength joints (1) A joint, which does not meet the criteria for a full-strength joint or a nominally pinned joint, should be classified as a partial-strength joint.
a) Top of column Either Mj,Rd Mb,p,Rd Mj,Rd Mc,p,Rd Mj,Rd Mb,p,Rd Mj,Rd 2 Mc,p,Rd

M
b) Within column height

j,S d

or Either

M
Key: Mb,p,Rd is Mc,p,Rd is

j,S d

or

the design plastic moment resistance of a beam; the design plastic moment resistance of a column.

Figure 5: Full-strength joints Modelling of beam-to-column joints For the modelling of beam-to-column joints many detailed rules are given in Eurocode 3 part 1-8 to represent the actual behaviour. Figure 6, 7 and 8 gives an impression of the complexity. Detailed rules for determining the structural properties Eurocode 3 Part 1-8 provides a complete set of detailed rules to determine the structural properties of beam-to-column joints and base-plate joints for I and H sections. These rules are based on the so-called component method, where the structural behaviour of the joint is composed out of the structural behaviour of all relevant components out of which the joint is composed. One of the main components is the equivalent T-stub, see Figure 9. In Figure 10 and 11 it is shown how the equivalent T-stub is positioned in column-side and in the beam-side of an end-plate joint.

## b) Values at intersection of member centrelines

Direction of forces and moments are considered as positive in relation to equations (5.3) and (5.4)

N b2,Ed M b2,Ed

Vb2,Ed

Vb1,Ed

N b1,Ed Mb1,Ed

## b) Connections, with forces and moments in beams

Figure 7: Forces and moments acting on the web panel at the connections

x x

1 Joint

eff

## Figure 9: Dimensions of an equivalent T-stub flange

1 2 3 4

End bolt row adjacent to a stiffener End bolt row Inner bolt row Bolt row adjacent to a stiffener

## Figure 10: Modelling a stiffened column flange as separate T-stubs

bp w ex
eff eff

eff

mx
e

The extension of the end-plate and the portion between the beam flanges are modelled as two separate equivalent T-stub flanges. For the end-plate extension, use ex and mx in place of e and m when determining the design resistance of the equivalent T-stub flange.

## Figure 11: Modelling an extended end-plate as separate T-stubs

In the rules for the determination of the strength of an equivalent T-stub the effects of prying forces are directly taken into account. Eurocode 3 part 1-8 "Joints" also provides much information to determine the Strength of Hollow Section Joints as given in Figure 12. For the designer the advantage of Eurocode 3 is that this code provides extensive information about how to calculate the structural behaviour of components like columns, beams and joints. However, many times it is said that the Eurocode is too complex for use in day-to-day practice. In the opinion of the author this is not the case but it is admitted that working with the Eurocode is a lot of work. And it is true that the designer has not much time to do his job in a commercial and competitive surrounding. Therefore it is necessary that user-friendly software is available to the designer to take the time consuming rules of the code to determine the joint behaviour out of his hands. In that situation the designer can spend his time to his profession being a designer looking for alternative structural solutions to reach a final design that reaches minimum integral costs (design + material + fabrication + erection + end-oflife + re-use) and leave the number crunching to the computer using adequate software. In that respect a warning should be made in using so-called expert-systems from the market. The designer should be very alert on the correctness of the software itself and on the correct use of that software. The term "expert-system" only means that this software should be handled by experts only. In that case we can stop saying "Simple rules sell steel" and replace that by saying "Simple TOOLS sell Steel".

K joint

KT joint

N joint

T joint

X joint

Y joint

DK joint

KK joint

X joint

TT joint

DY joint

XX joint

## Figure 12: Types of joints in hollow section lattice girders

CONCLUSIONS In order to keep a competitive position in the market, the costs of steel structures, in particular steel frames, need to be reduced as much as possible. As the costs of steel frame structures are determined for about 50% by its joints, the need to design modern joints, preferably without stiffeners, is of increasing economic importance. In this way the costs of steel structures can be reduced significantly. Although design codes like Eurocode 3 "Common unified rules for steel structures" are still based on more traditional joints with bolts and welds, in many cases the design rules can also be used for the design and verification of so-called plug and play joints, see Brekelmans and Bijlaard (2000), in which traditional components can be recognised. This is because these design rules for joints are related to the components in which almost all joints can be sub-divided and because the requirements for stiffness, strength and rotation capacity of joints are given in so-called performance based requirements and are irrespective of the type of the joint. However, where nontraditional components like clamps and hooks are used, experiments have to be carried out and the results have to be evaluated statistically, in order to obtain reliable values for the stiffness, strength and rotation capacity of these plug and play joints. REFERENCES EN 1993-1-8 : 2004 "Eurocode 3 : Design of Steel Structures, Part 1-8 : Design of Joints, CEN Central Secretariat, Rue de Stassart 36, B-1050 Brussels, BELGIUM Giro Coelho, A.M., Simes da Silva, L. and Bijlaard, F.S.K. (2004), "Ductility analysis of bolted extended end plate beam-to-column connections", The Second International Conference on Steel and Composite Structures, (ICSCS04) 2-4 September 2004, Seoul, KOREA Brekelmans, J.W.P.M. and Bijlaard, F.S.K. (2000), "Design requirements for plug and play type joints in mixed and steel-concrete composite construction", Connection-Workshop ECCS/AISC, 23-25 October 2000, Roanoke, Virginia, USA