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RE: Side Plate Systems - Eureka Moment

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Title: RE: Side Plate Systems - Eureka Moment

>Side Plate System....uses steel plates on either
>side in a reinforced beam-to-column connection, to
>transfer the load from the beam to the column. The
>beams are not in contact with the columns eliminating
>stress concentrations.   The side plates use fillet
>welds and the forces would be distributed to the plates,
>which would remain connected, enabling the floor of
>a structure to remain standing even if an entire
>column was taken out during an earthquake or say
>during a blast from a bomb, etc.
>I would like hear the PROs and CONs of this relatively
>new method (i.e. since 1995 when the first prototype
>testing was performed).

From my perspective, the Side Plate connection tends to get built like a tank. The testing I've seen shows robust performance and the utility of the concept is broad. Those are good things. The plates can get thick and the welds large, which can impact cost. I've seen some discussion that the sideplate connection can be used to reduce member sizes, but pounds of steel shed have no labor cost leaving with them, so that balance is not compelling to me. Also, the system is proprietary, so there is a subcontract design and/or patent cost involved.

Other options like dogbones, end-plates, etc. should also be considered. The AISC Seismic Provisions and FEMA 350 (and the companion documents) are the best sources of information on what's available.