First Advisor

Peter Dusicka

Date of Publication


Document Type


Degree Name

Master of Science (M.S.) in Civil & Environmental Engineering


Civil and Environmental Engineering




Gusset plates, Iron and steel bridges -- Design and construction, Finite element method



Physical Description

1 online resource (ix, 134 p.) : ill. (chiefly col.)


Gusset plate connections are commonly used in steel truss bridges to connect individual members together at a node. Many of these bridges are classified as non-load-path-redundant bridges, meaning a failure of a single truss member or connection could lead to collapse. Current gusset plated design philosophy is based upon experimental work from simplified, small-scale connections which are seldom representative of bridge connections. This makes development of a refined methodology for conducting high-fidelity strength capacity evaluations for existing bridge connections a highly desirable goal. The primary goal of this research effort is to develop an analytical model capable of evaluating gusset plate stresses and ultimate strength limit states. A connection-level gusset connection model was developed in parallel with an experimental testing program at Oregon State University. Data was collected on elastic stress distributions and ultimate buckling capacity. The analytical model compared different bolt modeling techniques on their effectiveness in predicting buckling loads and stress distributions. Analytical tensile capacity was compared to the current bridge gusset plate design equations for block shear. Results from the elastic stress analysis showed no significant differences between the bolt modeling techniques examined, and moderate correlation between analytical and experimental values. Results from the analytical model predicted experimental buckling capacity within 10% for most of the bolt modeling techniques examined. Tensile capacity was within 7% of the calculated tensile nominal capacity for all bolt modeling techniques examined. A preliminary parametric study was conducted to investigate the effects of member flexural stiffness and length on gusset plate buckling capacity, and showed an increase in member length or decrease in member flexural stiffness resulted in diminished gusset plate buckling capacity.


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Portland State University. Dept. of Civil & Environmental Engineering

Persistent Identifier