Dr. Robert G. Driver, P.Eng.
Department of Civil and Environmental Engineering, University of Alberta

The Increasingly Common Case of Weak-axis End Moments – Eliminating Unnecessary Joint Stiffeners

The proposed research program targets a very common detail, most prevalent in industrial structures, where connection design forces include weak-axis moments from the adjoining member that most often necessitate the addition of stiffeners to the frame joint. The overarching objective of this research project is to provide a simple and widely-applicable method for optimising the design of joints where the loading includes biaxial flexural demands at the ends of contiguous members, by accounting for the flexibility of the supporting member.

To achieve the research objectives, a combination of full-scale frame–joint sub-assemblage tests and comprehensive numerical frame simulations will be conducted that include a variety of frame and connection geometries and loading conditions. Based on these complementary components of the research, design recommendations will be made with a generalised format to address a broad range of possible design scenarios. Finally, a case study based on an existing industrial structure will be developed that demonstrates the application of the design recommendations.


After a six year career as a structural engineer in industry, Dr. Robert Driver, P.Eng. earned a Ph.D. from the University of Alberta in 1996. Thereafter, he joined the faculty at Lafayette College in Easton, PA. He returned to the University of Alberta in 2000 where he is currently a professor in the Department of Civil and Environmental Engineering. His primary research interests pertain to the design and behaviour of steel structures, including topics such as bolted and welded connections, plate walls, high performance steel, rehabilitation, composite columns, and behaviour under extreme loading.

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