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re: alum welds

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Thor,
I think I understand Conrad and agree. I understand you have a
handrail post welded to a plate with an all-around weld, examining the
post in bending from lateral load applied to the handrail/top of post.
How we have analyzed it in the past is max bending stress in the post
will equal your worse case tensile stress in your weld.

 I would not be surprised if you have problems making 200lb lateral
load working, we have had lots of issues with this in the past, both
with the weld and the post itself in bending. There are details where
you can use a steel sleeve (with material separation) on the outside
or inside of the aluminum post to make the weld work, and the
cantilevered sleeve will reduce the bending in your aluminum as well
as get it outside of the weld zone with the reduced stress.If this
mounts to concrete then you can core drill and grout it. I may have
even seen an aluminum post grouted into a steel sleeve.

For us it all stems from some architect thinking aluminum handrails
are so much better than galvanized steel. I guess powder coated
aluminum has its look but at what expense and hassle... Most of these
projects for us are schools, in which you'd think galv steel would be
the best to put up with the abuse of kids...

I hope some of this makes sense, I cannot attach a sketch and don't
have my aluminum spec.

Regards,
Andrew

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