While concentrically braced frames are among the most popular lateral load-resisting systems in North America for medium- to low-rise steel structures, many such frames featuring hollow structural section (HSS) brace members have been shown to be prone to unexpected connection failure in the event of an earthquake.
This paper presents the use of a cast steel connector as an improvement over the reinforced, fabricated HSS bracing connections that are commonly used in seismic load-resisting braced frames. The cast connector developed was shaped using solid modeling software, verified by finite element analysis, and cast to ASTM A958 standards. The connector concept was subsequently validated through cyclic inelastic and monotonic tensile testing of concentrically loaded HSS brace-connector assemblies. Since the completion of this research, this technology has been commercialized and may herald a new era of connection design for seismic-resistant HSS bracing.