Resources for HSS Bolted Connections

HSS connections tend to be heavy on welded applications rather than field bolted options.  However, there are many viable options for using bolted connections in place of historically welded connections.  How many resources do you have in your arsenal for the use of bolted connections in your HSS designs?

In the January 2022 SEU session, Brad Fletcher, SE, from Atlas Tube, presented HSS Bolted Connections.  Brad identified options for bolted field connections between HSS and reviewed how the limit states for HSS bolted connections are similar to other bolted connections.  Brad also suggested several helpful resources for HSS bolted connections for the practicing engineer.

Most structural engineers are familiar with AISC 360 and Brad noted Chapter J contain the limit states necessary for HSS bolted connections. Chapter K covers additional requirements for welded HSS connections.  AISC also has published Design Guide #24 Hollow Structural Section Connections which contains guidance for bolted and welded connections, and an updated version is due out later this year.

Brad also suggested the CISC Design Guide 1997 which reads more like a textbook for the design of HSS connections.  While the code references are out-of-date at this point, the principles discussed are still valid and useful.  This resource is no longer in print, however you can download a PDF version at the CISC website by clicking here.

The CIDECT Design Guides also contain useful design examples and may address more specific concerns such as stability or fatigue of HSS members and connections.  These resources contain mostly references to the EURO design codes, however the content still translates for use in North America.

Additional guidance can be found at the Steel Tube Institutes website which includes the popular HSS CONNEX OnlineHSS CONNEX is a program that performs code checks for welded HSS connections.  Also available are design spreadsheets which can help engineers efficiently design their HSS connections.  Many additional design manuals and reference articles can be found in their Resource Library, including their HSS Design Manual Volume 3: Connections at HSS Members which has been updated to the 2016 code.

Many of these resources are available for FREE download or can be purchased at a discounted rate with membership to the various organizations that publish them.   

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