Connections are a vital part of steel structures so proper connection design is essential for a safe and economic structure. Steel connections (or steel-steel connections) are structural elements that serve to join together different steel members (beams, columns, etc.). There are two common ways to connect structural steel members – by way of bolts or welds.
Connection design usually starts by determining internal forces and making a preliminary layout. The connection should be designed in such a way that there is minimal interference with equipment, utilities, handling or access. Then the aim is to find the most efficient load path (the internal force distribution) through the connection, to establish the strength, stability and stiffness requirements for all connections to accommodate all the loads, sizes and geometry requirements, and finally to make sure that such connection can be economically fabricated and installed.