The Virtual Steel Sculpture - Limit State Analysis and Applications of Steel Connections

  • Karen C. Chou Northwestern University
  • Saeed Moaveni Minnesota State University, Mankato
  • James D. Sapp ATMI Precast, formerly Northwestern University
Keywords: steel, connection design, steel sculpture, limit state analysis


The integrity of a structural system depends on the strength of materials, shape of the individual member and the elements used to hold the members together. In most undergraduate civil engineering curricula, a structural steel and/or reinforced concrete design course is required. Usually, the main focus of these courses is on member selection (size and shape) for a given material. Moreover, the time available for connection design is usually limited. To provide a 24/7 access to students who are interested in learning more about steel connection design, with the support from the National Science Foundation, a Virtual Steel Sculpture was developed. The Virtual Steel Sculpture not only provides a 360-degree view of different type of connections, but also provides information on their limit states, field examples, and finite element models showing stress distributions. In this paper, the discussion is focused solely on the content of the sample design calculation for each connection shown in the Virtual Steel Sculpture. These sample calculations were created as additional examples that could supplement class lecture to enhance students' learning.

Author Biographies

Karen C. Chou, Northwestern University
Assistant Chair & Clinical Professor Department of Civil and Environmental Engineering
Saeed Moaveni, Minnesota State University, Mankato
Professor of Mechanical Engineering Department of Mechanical and Civil Engineering
James D. Sapp, ATMI Precast, formerly Northwestern University
Engineer and formerly graduate assistant