Experimental and numerical analysis of a bolted connection in steel transmission towers

Baran E., Akis T., Sen G., Draisawi A.

JOURNAL OF CONSTRUCTIONAL STEEL RESEARCH, vol.121, pp.253-260, 2016 (Peer-Reviewed Journal) identifier identifier

  • Publication Type: Article / Article
  • Volume: 121
  • Publication Date: 2016
  • Doi Number: 10.1016/j.jcsr.2016.02.009
  • Journal Indexes: Science Citation Index Expanded, Scopus
  • Page Numbers: pp.253-260
  • Keywords: Lattice transmission tower, Topic, Bolted connection, Splice connection, Steel angle, Bolt slip, Finite element analysis, Tension member, BEHAVIOR, FAILURE, SPLICES, JOINT, PANEL


This paper presents an integrated numerical and experimental study on a bolted splice connection used in main legs of steel lattice transmission towers. At specific locations, where the number of angle sections in built-up cross section of main leg members changes, the complex geometry around the connection region results in eccentricities in the load path and indirect load transfer. Such complex configurations and uncertainties in the load path have led to overdesigned connections with increased number of bolts and redundant connection reinforcing members. The current study was conducted in an attempt to gain a better understanding of the load-flow mechanism at this specific location where the cross section of main leg members changes. The experimental part included tensile load testing of six specimens with different connection details. The main parameters used in the testing program were the number of bolts used in the connection as well as the presence of connection reinforcement angles and tie plate. For all connection configurations studied, the failure occurred due to net section fracture of upper main member angle near leading bolt holes. The calculated load capacity based on the measured material strength closely predicted the measured load capacity of specimens. The experimentally determined response of each connection configuration was better predicted by the FE model that incorporates bolt slip as compared to the model that assumes no slip. The experimental and numerical results also indicate that major differences among the investigated connection details do not cause any appreciable difference in behavior under tensile loading. (C) 2016 Elsevier Ltd. All rights reserved.