Investigation of block shear strength of high strength steel bolted connections

Xue Mei Lin, Michael C.H. Yam, Ke Ke, Qun He, Kwok Fai Chung

Research output: Journal article publicationJournal articleAcademic researchpeer-review

12 Citations (Scopus)


This study presents an experimental and numerical investigation of block shear strength of high strength steel (HSS) bolted connections under double shear. A total of 16 HSS (grades Q690 and Q960) and eight mild steel (MS) (grade Q345) bolted connection specimens with various geometric configurations were tested and failed in block shear failure mode. The test and finite element (FE) analysis results confirmed that the block shear failure is a combination of fracture of the net tension plane and yielding of the effective shear plane, which is located between the net and gross shear planes. The effects of material properties (such as ductility and tensile-to-yield strengths ratio (fu/fy)) of steel materials on the block shear strength were comprehensively investigated based on the validated FE models. It was found that the tensile stress across the net tension plane could be fully developed irrespective of the steel grade due to effective stress redistribution along the net tension plane and the beneficial effect of the biaxial tensile stress state. However, the shear stress magnitude along the shear plane is influenced by the ductility and fu/fy ratio of steel materials and the length of the shear plane. The low ductility and fu/fy ratio of HSS materials did not allow for effective stress redistribution along the long shear plane and the shear yielding could only partially develop along the shear plane at the ultimate state. For the HSS specimens with short shear planes, the shear stress could develop up to the shear yield strength in general. Finally, the accuracy of the existing design equations in various design codes (i.e., prEN 1993–1–8: 2021, ANSI/AISC 360–16, and CSA S16–19) and relevant literature for predicting the block shear strength of bolted connections was evaluated and design recommendations were provided.

Original languageEnglish
Article number107407
JournalJournal of Constructional Steel Research
Publication statusPublished - Sept 2022


  • Block shear strength
  • Bolted connections
  • Experimental investigation
  • Finite element analysis
  • High strength steel

ASJC Scopus subject areas

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


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