Seismic capacity quantification of gusset-plate connections to fracture for ductility-based design

Konstantinos Skalomenos, Masayoshi Nakashima, Masahiro Kurata

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

3 Citations (Scopus)


This paper presents an experimental study on the seismic performance up to fracture of gusset-plate brace connections. During the inelastic behavior of a bracing member (e.g., buckling), weak-axis bending in the gusset is induced by brace-end rotation and a plastic hinge is formed in a predefined inelastic zone (clearance distance) of the gusset. Five gusset-plate connections that can develop restraint-free plastic rotations to accommodate the brace-end rotation demands are tested. The test parameters include the plate thickness, length of clearance distance, and several inelastic rotation demands. The connections are tested using an innovative substructure-based hybrid test method that simulates the complex boundary and load conditions that exist between the gusset-plate connections and brace member. The tests quantify the maximum rotation ductility and strength capacity of the gusset-plate connections under actual cyclic inelastic rotations and varying axial loading. The test results also provide a basis for developing a ductility-based design methodology that determines the rotation ductility of gusset-plate connections using the brace-end rotation demand at a given axial deformation capacity of the brace. A design application example demonstrates the necessity of considering explicitly in the seismic design of steel braced frames the gusset-plate fracture capacity.

Original languageEnglish
Article number04018195
Number of pages13
JournalJournal of Structural Engineering (United States)
Issue number10
Publication statusPublished - 3 Aug 2018


  • Ductility-based design
  • Fracture capacity
  • Gusset plates
  • Online hybrid tests
  • Steel braces

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • Civil and Structural Engineering
  • Building and Construction
  • General Materials Science
  • Mechanics of Materials


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