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Technical Information

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>> SMF Design Parameter Comparison

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SidePlate connection technologies offer the only steel moment connection system to achieve:


Prequalification for IMF/SMF without additional testing in accordance with Chapter 11 of AISC 358-10, Supplement No. 2.

State of California seal

"Acceptance for Plan Review" for California Hospital (OSHPD) and School (DSA) designs (design guidelines), for any practicable combination of member sizes through a maximum beam size of W40x297, dated January 4, 2013.

Department of Defense seal

Blast and progressive collapse testing, as part of a first-ever joint civilian agency/Department of Defense Steel Frame Blast and Progressive Collapse Test Program, to investigate the behavior of conventional steel frame construction and its beam-to-column connections when subjected to high-level bomb blast and subsequent progressive collapse conditions.

SidePlate's unprecedented prequalification includes both uniaxial and biaxial dual-strong axis applications, and any combinations of wide flange, tube steel and built-up box shapes.

SidePlate has also been selected for use on projects in multiple states from many city, county, state and federal jurisdictions, including, but not limited to:

Department of Defense, GSA, US Army Corps of Engineers, State of California, Department of the Navy and the FAA
Testing & Performance

SidePlate® moment connection systems have been successfully tested for load conditions simulating:

  • Severe earthquakes
  • Actual bomb blast attack, and
  • Subsequent post-blast progressive collapse (monotonic testing)
Test of the connection

Collectively, these full-scale tests consist of eighteen (18) cyclic tests, two (2) bomb blast tests (with and without a floor system), and three (3) progressive collapse tests (two blast-damaged test articles and one non-blast-damaged test article. Detailed design criteria and patented design procedures were developed and implemented by SidePlate Systems, Inc. to design and fabricate all 23 tests. The performance of each test article was predicted by using high-fidelity physics-based (HFPB) finite element nonlinear analysis, thereby validating the same analytical tools used to predict actual performance for extrapolating performance expectations for member sizes not specifically tested.

The cyclic rotational capacity of SidePlate® moment connection systems (tested at the Charles Lee Powell Structural Research Laboratories, University of California, San Diego as well as at the ATLSS laboratory of Lehigh University in Bethlehem, Pennsylvania) exceeds all beam-to-column prequalification requirements of ANSI/AISC 341. Its double-span progressive collapse capacity (tested at the Kirtland Air Force Base by the U.S. Defense Threat Reduction Agency (DTRA), when subjected to monotonic loads simulating gravity forces, surpasses more traditional moment connection systems by as much 2- to 3½- times the gravity load carrying capacity; 2- to 2½- times the rotational ductility; 2- to 5- times the axial tension load capacity; and 4- to 5- times the external energy absorption.


SidePlate steel frame connection technologies are also highlighted in the following nationally recognized guidelines, test program reports, and design standards:

  • FEMA 267 - Interim Guidelines: Evaluation, Repair, Modification and Design of Welded Steel Moment Frame Structures; Federal Emergency Management Agency [August 1995]
  • FEMA 350 – Recommended Seismic Design Criteria for New Steel Moment-Frame Buildings [July 2000]
  • FEMA 351 - Recommended Seismic Evaluation and Upgrade Criteria for Existing Welded Steel Moment-Frame Buildings [July 2000]
  • AISC’s Facts for Steel Buildings, Number 2 - Blast and Progressive Collapse; American Institute of Steel Construction [April 2005]
  • NISTIR 7396 – Best Practices for Reducing the Potential for Progressive Collapse in Buildings; U.S. Department of Commerce, National Institute of Standards and Technology (NIST) [February 2007]
  • GSA Progressive Collapse Analysis and Design Guidelines for New Federal Office Buildings and Major Capitalization Projects; U.S. General Services Administration [June 2003]
  • GSA Steel Frame Bomb Blast & Progressive Collapse Test Program Report (2004-2007) [January 2008]
  • GSA Case Study: Impact of Steel Frame Connection Attributes on Construction Costs [February 2008]
  • UFC 4-023-03 - Unified Facilities Criteria - Design of Buildings To Resist Progressive Collapse [27 January 2010]
Critical Design Parameter Connection System
Beams SidePlate® RBS ('Dogbone') WUF-W
Depth Range W44 W36
Weight Range 400lbs/ft 300lbs/ft 150lbs/ft
Flange thickness range 2½" max 1¾" max 1" max
Wide flange depth range Unlimited W36
Built-up box columns Unlimited 24"
Blast hardened box/tube columns Ideally suited Not possible
Wide flange panel zone strength No limitation Requires simultaneous balancing of all mechanisms
Wide flange k-line vulnerability Eliminated Vulnerable
Beam-to-Column Connection
Weld type Shop & Field Fillet Shop & Field CJP
Weld backing bar & runoff tab Not Applicable Remove, Back gouge & provide reinforcing fillet
Shop Weld inspection Testing Shop Visual Shop Ultrasonic
Weld access hole Not Applicable Can affect performance
Through-thickness concerns Eliminated Reduced
Lateral Bracing
At/near plastic hinge Not Applicable Required with no concrete slab
Common-Joint Braced Dual Systems SCBF+SMF Not Possible
Progressive Collapse Mitigation Ideally suited (Unlimited) Fundamentally vulnerable (No Application)