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Design of Bolts in Shear-Bearing Connections per AISC LRFD 3rd Edition (2001)

Jose-Miguel Albaine, M.S., P.E.

Course Outline

Every steel structure is usually assembled by connecting the individual components to each other with rivets or bolts or by welding. The structural bolts have replaced the rivets as an accepted means of connecting members in the last few decades. This course will review the basic concepts of design of bolts in shear/bearing type connections, based on the criteria specified in the latest edition of the American Institute of Steel Construction (AISC) Manual of Steel Construction, Load and Resistance Factor Design, Third Edition, November, 2001, (herein referred as LRFD).

The topics included are: general requirements for bolted joints, including the different types of structural bolts (high-strength and common bolts), layout of bolted connections, proper specification of joint type, design shear and bearing strength, and modes of failures of the connected parts. Bolts in tension (or tension with shear), slip resistance joints, and eccentric loaded connections are not in the scope of this course.

This course includes a multiple choice quiz at the end.

Learning Objective

This course is a practical guide for professional engineers, architects, detailers, fabricators, and inspectors who want to learn the latest specification regarding the design of bolted connections. After completion of course you should be able to:

Course Introduction

Failure of structural members is not common, but most structural failures are caused by poorly designed or detailed connections. In times past, the pin device most often used was the rivet. Since the 1950's, the high-strength bolts have substituted the rivet as the primary connector for structural steel connection. This course will address the design of high-strength bolts in a shear bearing-type connection. This type of connection is used in a variety of steel assemblage applications such as truss joints for bridges, buildings, and transmission towers, beam and column splices, wind bracing systems, and built-up sections.

Course Content

The course content is in a PDF file (141 KB) Design of Bolts.pdf. You need to open or download this document to study this course.

Course Summary

This course has presented the basic principles related to the design of shear bearing-type connections using the latest edition of the AISC, Manual of Steel Construction, Load Resistance Factor Design, 3rd Edition.

The items discussed in this lecture were the design shear and bearing strength of structural bolts in bearing-type connections. Other issues were covered that affect a connection: i.e., types of joints, different mode of failures, type of bolts, and geometric layout.

Finally, the design strengths of the connected parts were included to assess the design strength of a tension member connection subject to shear forces.


1. American Institute of Steel Construction, Manual of Steel Construction, Load Resistance Factor Design, 3rd Edition, November 2001

2. American Society of Civil Engineers, Minimum Design Loads for Buildings and Other Structures, ASCE 7-98

3. Charles G. Salmon and John E. Johnson, Design and Behavior of Steel Structures, 3rd Edition

4. William T. Segui,, LRFD Steel Design, 2nd Edition

5. Harry Parker and James Ambrose, Simplified Engineering for Architects and Builders, 7th Edition

Related Links

Once you finish studying the above course content you need to take a quiz to obtain the PDH credits.

Take a Quiz

DISCLAIMER: The materials contained in the online course are not intended as a representation or warranty on the part of or any other person/organization named herein. The materials are for general information only. They are not a substitute for competent professional advice. Application of this information to a specific project should be reviewed by a registered professional engineer. Anyone making use of the information set forth herein does so at their own risk and assumes any and all resulting liability arising therefrom.