Seismic design and test of gusset connections for buckling-restrained braced frames



The corner gusset plates in a steel braced frame can be subjected to forces not only from the brace but also from the effects of the frame actions. In this study, several finite element models are constructed to analyze the gusset-to-beam and gusset-to-column interface forces. It is found that the frame actions affect the gusset interface force distributions significantly. A simplified strut model to represent the gusset plate is adopted to evaluate the frame action forces. In addition, the generalized uniform force method is adopted as it provides more freedom for designers to configure the gusset plate shapes than using the uniform force method. In this paper, a performance-based design method is proposed. The gusset interface force demands take into account the combined effect of the brace maximum axial force capacity and the peak beam shear possibly developed in the frame. The specimen design and key results of a series of full-scale three-story buckling-restrained braced frame (BRBF) hybrid tests are discussed. The gusset interface cracks observed at inter-story drift greater than 0.03 radians can be well predicted by using the proposed design method. The BRBF tests and analyses confirm that the proposed design method is reasonable. The effectiveness of varying the width of gusset edge stiffeners in reducing the gusset tip stress concentrations is also investigated. This paper concludes with recommendations for the seismic design of BRBF corner gusset plates. Copyright © 2013 John Wiley & Sons, Ltd.