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Purdue University

Connections in Steel Structures

Purdue University via edX


Connection design is a critical component of structural design. Understanding how to design steel connections for any combination of axial, shear, and moment loads is fundamental to effective building design.

This course will cover the design of steel connections with an emphasis on eccentrically loaded bolted and welded connections, moment connections, and connections transferring concentrated forces.

Students will leave this course with an in-depth knowledge of relevant limit states as well as a familiarity with the AISC360 (American Institute of Steel Construction) provisions for simple and moment connections. This course is best suited for students with an undergraduate civil engineering background including a basic steel design course and will build on these concepts.

Students will learn from a top researcher with over 20 years of experience in the field. Professor Varma focuses on teaching through exploring example problems and applications of fundamental concepts, encouraging his students to both understand the principles of composite behavior and be able to apply these concepts in realistic design scenarios.

This course is available to practicing engineers for 1.5 CEUs for learners completing the course on the verified track.


Week 1: Connection Design Review - Bolted Connections

Review bolted connection basics including force transfer mechanisms, bolt shear and bearing, and slip critical connections.

Week 2: Connection Design Review – Welded Connections

Review welded connection basics including types of welding, AISC360 provisions for fillet welds, and weld limit states.

Week 3: Eccentrically Loaded Bolts – Elastic Method

Introduce eccentrically loaded connections and detail the elastic design method for eccentrically loaded bolt groups.

Week 4: Eccentrically Loaded Bolts – Ultimate Strength Methods

Introduce the ultimate strength method for eccentric design and contrast it to the elastic method. Develop design tools to calculate the strength of an eccentrically loaded bolted connection.

Week 5: Eccentrically Loaded Welds – Elastic Method

Discuss applying the elastic method to weld design and develop design tools to calculate the capacity of an eccentrically loaded weld group.

Week 6: Eccentrically Loaded Welds – Ultimate Strength Method

Apply the ultimate strength method to eccentrically loaded weld design and develop a design tool to evaluate the capacity of a weld group using this method.

Week 7: Moment Connections and Concentrated Forces

Introduce moment connections and applicable limit states. Discuss designing for concentrated forces and appropriate stiffener design.

Week 8: Exam Review

Taught by

Amit Varma, Sahaas Bhardwaj and Morgan Broberg


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