types of beam connections

In general, all types of beam connections are classified as either framed or seated. In the framed type, the beam is connected to the supporting member with fittings (short angles are common) attached to the beam web. With seated connections, the ends of the beam rest on a ledge or seat, in much the same manner as if the beam rested on a wall.

Bolted Framed Connections

When a beam is connected to a support, a column or a girder, with web connection angles, the joint is termed ‘‘framed.’’ Each connection should be designed for the end reaction of the beam, and type, size and strength of the fasteners, and bearing strength of base materials should be taken into account. To speed design, the AISC Manual lists a complete range of suitable connections with capacities depending on these variables. Typical connections for beam or channels ranging in depth from 3 to 30 in are shown in below Figure .


To provide sufficient stability and stiffness, the length of connection angles should be at least half the clear depth of beam web.
For economy, select the minimum connection adequate for the load. For example, assume an 18-in beam is to be connected. The AISC Manual (ASD) lists three- and four-row connections in addition to the five-row type . Total shear capacity ranges from a low of 26.5 kips for 3⁄4-in-diam A307 bolts in a three-row regular connection to a high of 263.0 kips for 1-in-diam A325 bolts in a five-row heavy connection, bearing type. This wide choice does not mean that all types of fasteners should be used on a project, but simply that the tabulated data cover many possibilities, enabling an economical selection. Naturally, one type of fastener should be used throughout, if practical; but shop and field fasteners may be different.
Bearing stresses on beam webs should be checked against allowable stresses , except for slip-critical connections, in which bearing is not a factor. Sometimes, the shear capacity of the field fasteners in bearing-type connections may be limited by bearing on thin webs, particularly where beams frame into opposite sides of a web. This could occur where beams frame into column or girder webs.
One side of a framed connection usually is shop connected, the other side field connected. The capacity of the connection is the smaller of the capacities of the shop or field group of fasteners.
In the absence of specific instructions in the bidding information, the fabricator should select the most economical connection. Deeper and stiffer connections, if desired by the designer, should be clearly specified as types of beam connections.

Bolted Seated Connections

Sizes, capacities, and other data for seated connections for beams, shown in below , are tabulated in the AISC Manual. Two types are available, stiffened seats and unstiffened seats .

Unstiffened Seats. Capacity is limited by the bending strength of the outstanding horizontal leg of the seat angle. A 4-in leg 1 in thick generally is the practical limit. In ASD, an angle of A36 steel with these dimensions has a top capacity of 60.5 kips for beams of A36 steel, and 78.4 kips whenFy 50 ksi for the beam steel. Therefore, for larger end reactions, stiffened seats are recommended.
The actual capacity of an unstiffened connection will be the lesser of the bending strength of the seat angle, the shear resistance of the fasteners in the vertical leg, or the bearing strength of the beam web. (See also Art. 7.22 for web crippling stresses.) Data in the AISC Manual make unnecessary the tedious computations of balancing the seat-angle bending strength and beam-web bearing. The nominal setback from the support of the beam to be seated is 1⁄2 in. But tables for seated connections assume 3⁄4 in to allow for mill underrun of beam length.

Stiffened Seats. These may be obtained with either one or two stiffener angles, depending on the load to be supported. As a rule, stiffeners with outstanding legs having a width less than 5 in are not connected together; in fact, they may be separated, to line up the angle gage line (recommended centerline of fasteners) with that of the column.
The capacity of a stiffened seat is the lesser of the bearing strength of the fitted angle stiffeners or the shear resistance of the fasteners in the vertical legs. Crippling strength of the beam web usually is not the deciding factor, because of ample seat area. When legs larger than 5 in wide are required, eccentricity should be considered, The center of the beam reaction may be taken at the midpoint of the outstanding leg.

Advantages of Seated Connections. For economical fabrication, the beams merely are punched and are free from shop-fastened details. They pass from the punching machine to the paint shed, after which they are ready for delivery. In erection, the seat provides an immediate support for the beam while the erector aligns the connection hole. The top angle is used to prevent accidental rotation of the beam. For framing into column webs, seated connections allow more erection clearance for entering the trough formed by column flanges than do framed connections.
A framed beam usually is detailed to whim 1⁄16 in of the column web. This provides about 1⁄8 in total clearance, whereas a seated beam is cut about 1⁄2 in short of the column web, yielding a total clearance of about 1 in. Then, too, each seated connection is wholly independent, whereas for framed beams on opposite sides of a web, there is the problem of aligning the holes common to each connection. Frequently, the angles for framed connections are shop attached to columns.
Sometimes, one angle may be shipped loose to permit erection. This detail, however, cannot be used for connecting to column webs, because the column flanges may obstruct entering or tightening of bolts. In this case, a seated connection has a distinct advantage for types of beam connections.

Welded Framed Connections

The AISC Manual tabulates sizes and capacities of angle connections for beams for three conditions: all welded, both legs ; web leg shop welded, outstanding leg for hole-type fastener; and web leg for hole-type fastener installed in shop, outstanding leg field welded. Tables are based on E70 electrodes. Thus, the connections made with A36 steel are suitable for beams of both carbon and highstrength structural steels.

Eccentricity of load with respect to the weld patterns causes stresses in the welds that must be considered in addition to direct shear. Assumed forces, eccentricities, and induced stresses are shown in above Fig b. , based on vector analysis that characterizes elastic design. The capacity of welds A or B that is smaller will govern design.

If ultimate strength (plastic design) of such connections is considered, many of the tabulated ‘‘elastic’’ capacities are more conservative than necessary. Although AISC deemed it prudent to retain the ‘‘elastic’’ values for the weld patterns, recognition was given to research results on plastic behavior by reducing the minimum beam-web thickness required when welds A are on opposite sides of the web. As a result, welded framed connections are now applicable to a larger range of rolled beams than strict elastic design would permit as types of beam connections .


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