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QUERY: Steel Connection Design Philosophy

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Here's one to file under the "Things You Thought You Knew But Now Realize You
Might Be Wrong" category.

I had engrained in me somehow the idea that when one is designing a connection
of any kind for structural steel, one makes sure the connection is at LEAST as
strong as the member(s) being connected. In other words, regardless of the
design forces, make sure that if an overload were to occur, the connection would
NOT fail before the member did.

However, reading the applicable passage from the AISC LRFD 2nd Edition, J1.1, I
find this:

"[C]omponents shall be proportioned so that their design strength equals or
exceeds the REQUIRED STRENGTH DETERMINED BY STRUCTURAL ANALYSIS FOR FACTORED
LOADS ACTING ON THE STRUCTURE, or a specified proportion of the strength of the
connected member, whichever is appropriate." [Emphasis is mine]

Now, the latter clause seems to give you wide latitude. For instance I could say
that "I've determined to use a specified proportion of the strength of the
connected member in this structure, that proportion being 100%". So I'd not
really be WRONG. It becomes a question, then, of philosophy.

This comes up, of course, when for practical reasons you have members that are
more than adequate to handle the required loading, and a connection sized
according to that member's capacity would mean adding bolts or weld, etc., above
that required to resist the loads from analysis.

I'd like to know what others have decided in their approach to steel connection
design.

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