HSS connections have often been a source of mystery for even the most experienced engineers. For many years, there were not many resources here in the US that engineers could turn to for guidance on HSS connections. In the mid to late 1990s, this started to change, and over the past 20 years, many excellent resources have evolved, especially with the inclusion of Chapter K in AISC 360.
The responsibility of connection design is often delegated to the project’s fabricator. While this can be a good way to get cost-effective connections, the Engineer of Record (EOR) often provides member designs that make it challenging for the fabricator’s engineer to get the connections to work for the loads given without reinforcing the members or choosing a costly connection type. This is especially true for connections that involve Hollow Structural Sections (HSS).
This presentation attempts to de-mystify HSS connections. While this is not a “how-to” guide, we will highlight areas of HSS connection design that are often overlooked or misunderstood. Connection types that are addressed include tension, bracing, shear, moment, and truss connections. Attendees will gain an appreciation of the similarities and the subtle differences between HSS connections and other types of connections, as well as the effects that certain design decisions have on fabrication and the costs of connections.