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CIE 428 Module B Instructor: Andrew Whittaker

This module of CIE 428 covers the following subjects

Introduction

Design strength

Net area

Staggered fasteners

Block shear

INTRODUCTION

Tension members are structural elements that are subjected to axial

tensile forces. Examples include:

Members in trusses

Bracing in frames to resist lateral forces from blast, wind,

and earthquake

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CIE 428 Module B Instructor: Andrew Whittaker
Stresses (f) in axially loaded members are calculated using the
following equation

P
f =
A

Gusset plate at support

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CIE 428 Module B Instructor: Andrew Whittaker
What are the gross and net areas for the bar?

Gross area:

Net area:

The design of tension members and their connections is covered by

Section B (Design Requirements), D (Tension Members), and J
(Connections) of the AISC LRFD Specification, 3rd Edition.

DESIGN STRENGTH

Excessive deformation (yielding under gravity loads)

Fracture

limiting stresses on the gross section to less than the yield stress.
For yielding on the gross section, the nominal strength is:

Pn = Fy Ag

Fracture is avoided by limiting stresses on the net section to less

than the ultimate tensile strength. For fracture on the net section,
the nominal strength is:

Pn = Fu An

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CIE 428 Module B Instructor: Andrew Whittaker
Resistance (or phi) factors are applied to these nominal strengths

to calculate design strengths. The smaller of the two calculated

strengths:

0.9 Fy Ag ; 0.75 Fu An

is taken as the design strength.

Consider the example from the text that is reproduced below. The
of 35 and 15 kips, respectively. Steel is A36. Bolts are 0.875-inch
in diameter. Assume that the effective net area is 85% of the
computed net area.

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CIE 428 Module B Instructor: Andrew Whittaker

NET AREA

The performance of a tension member is often governed by the

response of its connections. The LRFD Specification introduces a
measure of connection performance known as joint efficiency,
which is a function of

Material properties (ductility)

Fastener spacing

Stress concentrations

Shear lag

Addressed specifically by the LRFD Specification

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CIE 428 Module B Instructor: Andrew Whittaker
The LRFD Specification introduces the concept of effective net
area to account for shear lag effects.

Ae = UAg

Ae = UAn

where

x
U = 1
L

and x is the distance from the plane of the connection to the

centroid of the connected member and L is the length of the
connection in the direction of the load. Figures from the text are
reproduced below to illustrate these definitions.

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CIE 428 Module B Instructor: Andrew Whittaker

For welded connections, the commentary to the LRFD

Specification (Section B.3) gives values for U that can be used in
lieu of detailed calculation. Different values are given depending
on whether there are more or less than two fasteners per line in the

1. For W, M, and S shapes that have a width-to-depth ratio of

0.67 or more and are connected through the flanges with at
least three fasteners per line in the direction of the applied

2. For other shapes with at least three fasteners per line, U =

0.85.

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CIE 428 Module B Instructor: Andrew Whittaker
3. For all members with only two fasteners per line, U = 0.75.

1. For W, M, and S shapes that have a width-to-depth ratio of

0.67 or more and are connected through the flanges, U = 0.9.

2. For all other shapes, U = 0.85.

The figure below from the textbook illustrates the calculation for
bolted connections.

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CIE 428 Module B Instructor: Andrew Whittaker

The effective net area will only be less than the net area if some
elements of the cross-section are not connected. For tension
members such as single plates and bars connected by longitudinal
fillet welds,

the LRFD Specification writes that Ae = UAg , where U = 1.0, 0.87,

and 0.75 for l 2 w, 1.5w l 2 w, w l 1.5w, respectively.

For transverse welds, the LRFD Specification writes that the

effective net area is equal to the area of the connected element of
the cross section.

Calculations for effective net area are presented in the two

examples from the textbook that are reproduced on the following
two pages.

Bolted connection

Welded connection

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CIE 428 Module B Instructor: Andrew Whittaker

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CIE 428 Module B Instructor: Andrew Whittaker

STAGGERED FASTENERS

The presentation to date has focused on regular, non-staggered

fastener geometries.

line.

Often, for reasons of connection geometry, fasteners must be

placed in more than one line

Staggered fasteners

See F3.13 from the textbook that is reproduced below for

examples of staggered connections

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CIE 428 Module B Instructor: Andrew Whittaker

Consider part (c) of the figure above. One cross-section to be

considered for calculation of the effective net area is shown in red;
another is given by line abcd. For fracture plane abcd, the equation
f=P/A does not apply because stresses on bc are a combination of
normal and shearing stresses.

For calculation of the effective net area, the Section B2 of the

LRFD Specification makes use of the product of the plate
thickness and the net width. The net width is calculated as

s2
wn = wg d +
4g

where all terms are defined above.

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CIE 428 Module B Instructor: Andrew Whittaker
All possible failure patterns should be considered. For example,
consider the plate shown below for use with 1-inch diameter bolts.

What calculations are needed for design?

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CIE 428 Module B Instructor: Andrew Whittaker
How is the net area calculated if connections are made in both legs
of an angle?

The angle is first unfolded along the middle surface.

The gross width is the sum of the leg lengths minus the
thickness.

Gage line crossing the heel of the angle must be reduced

by the thickness of the angle.

Consider the angle connection below. The holes are for 0.875-inch
diameter bolts. Steel is A36.

Because both legs of the angle are connected, what is the

effective net area?

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CIE 428 Module B Instructor: Andrew Whittaker
What are the design strengths for:

Yielding?

Fracture?

BLOCK SHEAR

Block shear is an important consideration in the design of steel

connections. Consider the figure below that shows the connection
of a single-angle tension member. The block is shown shaded.

In this example, the block will fail in shear along ab and tension on
bc. The LRFD procedure is based on one of the two failure
surfaces yielding and the other fracturing.

Fracture on the shear surface is accompanied by yielding

on the tension surface

Fracture on the tension surface is accompanied by yielding

on the shear surface

Both surfaces contribute to the total resistance.

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CIE 428 Module B Instructor: Andrew Whittaker

The nominal strength in tension is Fu Ant for fracture and Fy Agt

for yielding where the second subscript t denotes area on the
tension surface (bc in the figure above). The yield and ultimate
stresses in shear are taken as 60% of the values in tension. The
LRFD Specification considers two failure modes:

Rn = 0.75[0.6 Fu Anv + 0.6 Fy Agt ]

Because the limit state is fracture, the equation with the larger of
the two fracture values controls. Consider the single angle in
tension shown below.

What are the shear areas?

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CIE 428 Module B Instructor: Andrew Whittaker
Agv = 0.375 (7.5); Anv = 0.375[7.5 2.5 1]

The design of a tension member involves selecting a member from

Gross area

Net area

Slenderness

L
300 to prevent vibration, etc; does not apply to
r
cables.

If the member has a bolted connection, the choice of cross section

must account for the area lost to the boltholes.

Because the section size is not known in advance, the default

values of U are generally used for preliminary design.

Detailing of connections is a critical part of structural steel design.

Connections to angles are generally problematic if there are two
lines of bolts. Consider the figure below that provides some
guidance on sizing angles and bolts.

Gage distance g1 applies when there is one line of bolts

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CIE 428 Module B Instructor: Andrew Whittaker
Gage distances g 2 and g3 apply when there are two lines

As an example, design an equal angle tension member, 12 feet

long to resist the loads shown. Use A36 steel.

Pick a section from the LRFD manual based on Ag , r, gi :

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CIE 428 Module B Instructor: Andrew Whittaker
Assume that the angle is connected through the long leg and
estimate a value of U (0.85), calculate values of An and Ae .

The nominal tensile strength of a threaded rod can be written as

Pn = As Fu  0.75 Ab Fu

where

Ab is the nominal (unthreaded area),

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CIE 428 Module B Instructor: Andrew Whittaker
and 0.75 is a lower bound (conservative) factor relating As and
Ab . See Section J3.6 of the LRFD Specification for details.

The design strength of a threaded rod is calculated as Pn = 0.75 Pn

PIN-CONNECTED MEMBERS

Pinned connections transmit no moment (ideally) and often utilize

components machined to tight tolerances (plus, minus 0.001). The
figure below from the textbook shows failure modes for pin-
connected members and each failure mode must be checked for
design.

t Pn = 0.75(2tbeff Fu ) , where beff = 2t + 0.63 b

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CIE 428 Module B Instructor: Andrew Whittaker
Shear on the effective area

d
sf Pn = 0.75(0.6 Asf Fu ) = 0.75(0.6[2t{a + }]Fu )
2

1.8 Apb Fy is based on a deformation limit state under

service loads producing stresses of 90% of yield.

Tension on the gross section

Pn = 0.90( Ag Fy )

- END OF MODULE -

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