Analysis of bolted moment connections in cold-formed steel beam-column sub-frames

W. K. Yu, Kwok Fai Chung, M. F. Wong

Research output: Journal article publicationJournal articleAcademic researchpeer-review

77 Citations (Scopus)


An extensive experimental investigation on bolted moment connections between cold-formed steel sections was carried out, and a total of 16 internal and external beam-column sub-frames with various connection configurations were tested under lateral loads. It is found that for those six beam-column sub-frames with large bolt pitches and thick gusset plates in the connections, flexural failure of connected sections is always critical. The moment resistances of the connections attain at least 85% of the moment capacities of the connected sections. This paper presents a theoretical investigation for predicting the structural behaviour of bolted moment connections between cold-formed steel sections. An analysis and design method for internal force distribution of the connections is presented, and hence a set of design rules for section failure of connected sections under combined bending and shear is proposed. Moreover, a non-linear finite element model of the beam-column sub-frames incorporating the effect of semi-rigid joints is also presented. On the basis of the measured moment joint rotation curves of the bolted moment connections, the overall lateral load-deflection curves of the sub-frames are predicted, and they are found to follow closely the curves obtained from tests. Furthermore, a semi-empirical formula for flexibility prediction of the bolted moment connections is also proposed after careful calibration against test data. It is demonstrated that the proposed rules are highly effective for predicting the structural performance of cold-formed steel frames with bolted moment connections. Hence, structural engineers are encouraged to design and build cold-formed steel structures with bolted moment connections to achieve practical and efficient construction.
Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)1332-1352
Number of pages21
JournalJournal of Constructional Steel Research
Issue number9
Publication statusPublished - 1 Sept 2005


  • Bolted moment connections
  • Cold-formed steel
  • Combined bending and shear
  • Connection flexibility
  • Non-linear analysis
  • Semi-rigid joints

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • Civil and Structural Engineering
  • Building and Construction
  • Mechanics of Materials
  • Metals and Alloys


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