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Block shear failure of gusset plates with welded connections

The mechanics of block shear failure in bolted connections has been studied extensively in the past. Current literature, however, lacks experimental evidence of the possibility of block shear failure in welded connection details. This study reports on the experimental testing of 11 welded gusset plate specimens which are subjected to tension. In the experimental program, the effects of connection geometry and weld group configuration were investigated. Test results revealed that block shear is a potential failure mode for welded connection details. The accuracy of the resistance equations provided by the design specifications were assessed on the basis of experimental findings. The experimental work is supplemented by nonlinear finite element analysis to predict the failure load of tested specimens. The load capacities obtained from the resistance equations and finite element analysis were all found to be conservative. The discrepancy between the test results and the predictions is explained in light of the presence of stress triaxiality. Finally, design recommendations are given based on the experimental and numerical findings.