Steel connections are a critical part of any steel structure, and the choice between bolted and welded connections can have a significant impact on the design, construction, and performance of the structure. Here are some of the key differences and considerations:
Bolted Lap Connection:
- Ease of Assembly: Bolted connections are generally easier and faster to assemble on site, which can reduce construction time and costs.
- Inspection: It's easier to inspect bolted connections for proper installation and tightness.
- Adjustability: Bolted connections can be adjusted or disassembled if needed, which can be beneficial during construction or for future modifications.
- No Special Equipment: Bolted connections don't require special equipment or skilled labor for welding.
- Size: Bolted connections can be larger and heavier than welded connections due to the need for bolt holes and additional material for bearing stresses.
- Maintenance: Bolted connections may require periodic inspection and maintenance to ensure that the bolts remain tight.
- Aesthetics: Some people may find bolted connections less aesthetically pleasing than welded connections.
Welded Lap Connection:
- Strength: Welded connections can provide a continuous connection between elements, which can result in a stronger and more rigid connection.
- Size: Welded connections can be smaller and lighter than bolted connections, which can be beneficial in situations where space or weight is a concern.
- Aesthetics: Welded connections can provide a smoother and more seamless appearance, which may be preferred for architectural or aesthetic reasons.
- Skill and Equipment: Welding requires special equipment and skilled labor, which can increase costs.
- Inspection: Inspecting the quality of a weld can be more difficult and may require special techniques or equipment.
- Adjustability: Once a weld is made, it's difficult to adjust or disassemble, which can be a disadvantage during construction or if future modifications are needed.
In general, the choice between bolted and welded connections will depend on a variety of factors, including the specific requirements of the project, the available resources and skills, and the local building codes and standards.
Full download access to any calculation is available to users with a paid or awarded subscription (XLC Pro).
Subscriptions are free to contributors to the site, alternatively they can be purchased.
Click here for information on subscriptions.