Stiffener Design for Beam-to-Column Connections

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Virginia Tech


Stiffeners are used as a means of providing additional support to columns at beam connection locations. They are added when the strength of the column is exceeded but full moment strength of the beam section is desired. In determining the design of column stiffeners, there are no specifications for determining the distribution of load between the column web and stiffeners. The AISC Load and Resistance Factor Design Specifications provides guidelines for determining the stiffener area but no specifications are given. The actual loads taken by the stiffener and web are therefore not truly known.

In this study, experiments were done to determine the load supported by the stiffeners and web when tensile forces are applied to the specimen. The initial stiffener design for the test specimens was based on LRFD guidelines. The actual load distribution between the column web and stiffeners is determined from strain data obtained during testing. This distribution is compared with the assumed loads obtained from the initial LRFD calculations. Finite element analysis is also utilized to confirm the consistency of the results obtained from the experiments. Using this information, a new method is developed which better predicts the distribution of load between the column web and the stiffener.



Moment Connections, Column Stiffeners, Stiffener Design