2020 H.A Krentz Research Award
Robert Driver,
Ph.D., P.Eng., F.CSCE, F.SEI
Professor of Structural Engineering
Department of Civil and Environmental Engineering
University of Alberta

Artificial Intelligence Applications for Advancing the Canadian Steel Construction Industry

During the last 20 years, ground-breaking advancements in computer hardware, data science, and artificial intelligence technologies, such as artificial neural networks, genetic algorithms, machine learning, big data and data mining, and optimization algorithms have made possible huge advances for many industries, helping them become more efficient and competitive. In industries like finance, transportation, and logistics, artificial intelligence has revolutionized procedures and allowed […]



Aikaterini Genikomsou
Queen’s University

John Gales
York University

Enhancing the Design of Connections for Fire Resiliency

Within CSA S16 Annex K, there exists flexibility for a designer to consider more advanced computational practices. This includes methods that optimize the fire protection of a steel structure with robust steel connectors, allowing for the dissipation of the resulting forces from thermal expansions. The benefit to the sustainable design of steel structures is clear since appropriate optimization can lead to a reduction of fire protecting materials. Such a design, however, involves the […]


2019 H.A Krentz Research Award
Dr. Kyle Tousignant
Assistant Professor
Department of Civil and Resource Engineering, Dalhousie University

Design of Single-Sided Fillet Welds in Tension

In North America, fillet welds connecting structural elements can be designed using a “directional strength- increase” factor (1.00+0.5sin1.5θ) that permits engineers to take advantage of a 50% “strength increase” when load is applied perpendicular (i.e. at θ = 90°) to the weld axis. This factor is included in CSA S16-14, AISC 360-16, and AWS D1.1-15. The directional strength-increase (or “sinθ”) factor is based on testing of lapped splice and […]


Dr. Ali Imanpour
Department of Civil and Environmental Engineering, University of Alberta

Innovative Modular Structural System for Steel Framed Structures

Steel moment-resisting frames (MRFs) are one of the most desirable load resisting systems for the construction of building structures under gravity and lateral loads such as the wind and earthquake because of high architectural versatility, use of long span beams and significant ductility capacity. A low perception of construction cost and ingrained building practices lead building stakeholders to often select alternative systems and materials.

This research project investigates […]


Dr. Muntasir Billah
Department of Civil Engineering, Lakehead University

Design of Exposed Column Base Connections Subjected to Axial Load and Bi-Axial Bending

In steel moment-resisting frames, column base connections are one of the most critical structural components that transfer axial forces, shear forces, and moments from the entire building into the foundation. Under dynamic loading, such as earthquake and wind, the dynamic effects are transferred to the structure through these base plates and failure of these base plate connections have resulted in the collapse of entire frames […]


Dr. Scott Walbridge
Department of Civil and Environmental Engineering, University of Waterloo

Improved Evaluation Methods for Fatigue Life and Toughness Assessment of Steel Bridges

The occurrence of brittle fractures in steel highway bridges is relatively rare, thanks to prescriptive requirements for steel toughness that have been around in one form or another since the 70s and the more recent provisions added to the North American bridge design codes requiring that fracture critical members be identified and treated with particular attention in the design of new bridges. Brittle fracture remains a significant concern for steel […]


Dr. Lydell Wiebe
Department of Civil Engineering, McMaster University

Application of Artificial Intelligence to Performance-Based Earthquake Engineering of Steel Buildings

Advances in computational power, the rapidly developing field of Artificial Intelligence (AI) and the maturation of performance-based earthquake engineering (PBEE) provides a framework for the use of advanced analysis in the design of structures or retrofits to achieve specified performance objectives in future earthquakes.

Current seismic design methods produce acceptable solutions, but not necessarily optimal solutions. The development of Artificial Intelligence creates an opportunity to identify these […]


Dr. Ali Imanpour et al.
Department of Civil and Environmental Engineering, University of Alberta

Test-based Design Method for Steel Cantilever Beams

The main purpose of this research is to perform a large-scale experimental testing program to evaluate the stability response of overhanging cantilevered beams to achieve more reliable, efficient design guidelines and potentially reduce construction costs. This will complement the lateral–torsional buckling testing program currently underway at the University of Alberta, which investigates the stability response of welded steel bridge girders with doubly- and singly-symmetric sections. The experimental investigation will be complemented with extensive numerical simulations. […]


Dr. Lydell Wiebe
Assistant Professor
Department of Civil Engineering, McMaster University

Experimental Validation of Seismically Resilient Concentrically Braced Frames with Replaceable Brace Modules.

This project is part of a multi-year effort to develop a new replaceable brace module for seismically resilient concentrically braced frames. The overall objectives of this design concept are to: (1) replace field welding with field bolting, (2) avoid out-of-plane buckling that can cause dangerous damage, and (3) simplify post-earthquake repairs. In this phase of the study, the aim is to conduct large-scale system-level experimental testing to capture the interaction of the replaceable brace […]


Dr. Scott Walbridge
Department of Civil and Environmental Engineering, University of Waterloo

Assessment of Fatigue Design
Provisions for Welded Shear Studs in Steel-Concrete Composite Bridges

The shear connection between steel girders and concrete bridge decks is most common commonly made with welded shear stud connectors, primarily due to its ease of installation. However, the detail is fatigue critical because of the presence of the welds. The fatigue design provisions, which nearly always govern for these studs, have not been significantly updated in over fifty years. The aim of this research will be to establish a new endurance […]


2018 H.A Krentz Research Award
Dr. Jeffrey Packer
Department of Civil and Mineral Engineering, University of Toronto

HSS Joint Welding

This research project will clarify options available for the fabrication of welded rectangular Hollow Structural Section (HSS) K-connections, and their implications for design. The aim is to liberalize current constraints applied to: member geometric parameters, the relative positions of branches (with regard to gap size, zero gap, or amount of overlap), miter cutting and required welding. The study will focus on truss K- and N-connections with a wide range of eccentricities, gaps and overlaps, with […]


Dr. Shahria Alam
School of Engineering, University of British Columbia, Okanagan

Dr. Robert Tremblay
Department of Civil, Geological and Mining Engineering, École Polytechnique de Montréal

Performance Based Seismic Design of Innovative Damage Free Rocking Steel Bridge Piers

The objective of this research is to investigate, through experimental and numerical studies, the concept of self-centering mechanism in steel bridge piers. Since any damage to a transportation system could have significant impacts on society and economy, the need for the design and development of new bridge components and systems with damage avoidance mechanisms has been increasingly highlighted over the recent […]


Dr. Nicolas Boissonnade
Department of Civil and Water Engineering, Laval University

Design of Beams with Overhanging Segments Against Lateral Torsional Buckling

This research is to investigate the lateral torsional buckling of beams with overhanging segments (commonly known as the Gerber girder system).  Such structural elements are quite popular in Canada, and used widely for multi-bay arrangements.  It has the advantages of maintaining a statically determinate system with an effective and economic balance of hogging and sagging bending moments and reduced deflections, while avoiding complex and costly moment connections. Currently there is a lack of clear, practical […]


Dr. Nathalie Roy
Department of Civil Engineering, Université de Sherbrooke

Analysis of Concentrically Loaded Braced Frame Using Continuous End Plate

The purpose of this research is to examine the behaviour and design of continuous end-plate connections in concentrically braced frames.  This type of connection is not explicitly addressed by the current design standards, thus resulting in designs that are often too conservative. Furthermore, although this connection is usually assumed conceptually to be pinned, the effect of the continuous end plate may qualify this type of connection as semi-rigid resulting in an actual load-resisting system behaviour […]


2017 H.A Krentz Research Award
Dr. Ali Imanpour
Department of Civil and Environmental Engineering, University of Alberta

Simplified Design Methods for Steel Multi-Tiered Braced Frames in Regions of Low and Moderate Seismicity

Steel multi-tiered braced frames are commonly used in tall single-storey buildings such as airplane hangars, sports facilities or industrial plants to provide lateral bracing when it becomes impractical to use braces that extend the full storey height. Although the multi-tiered configuration offers significant advantages in high seismic areas, it is also the most common […]


Dr. Michael Bartlett
Department of Civil and Environmental Engineering, University of Western Ontario

Design of Partial-Length Cover Plates to Strengthen Steel Columns

This research project will investigate the inelastic behavior, strength and design of steel columns reinforced with partial-length cover plates (see Figures 1 and 2 above, courtesy of Morgan Herrell, M.E.Sc. candidate and assistant researcher on this project). The specific objectives of this research are:
(1) To develop a numerical analysis model to determine the capacity of a short, intermediate or long steel column strengthened with partial-length reinforcement plates;
(2) To validate the numerical analysis model experimentally […]


Dr. Anjan Bhowmick
Department of Building, Civil and Environmental Engineering, Concordia University

Lateral Torsional Buckling of Welded Wide Flange Beams

Lateral torsional-buckling (LTB) is a limit state that can control the flexural capacity of steel beams. The current CSA S16-09 does not make any distinction between welded and rolled shapes when dealing with the flexural strength of the beam. However, welded wide flange (WWF) shapes have significantly higher residual stress than that of rolled shapes, which can affect the flexural behavior of the beam.

The objective of this research is to investigate the behaviour of welded steel […]


Dr. Anjan Bhowmick
Department of Building, Civil and Environmental Engineering, Concordia University

Behaviour of Light-Gauge Steel Shear Walls With Screwed Infill Plate Connections for Regions of Low-

This research programme involves both experimental and numerical investigations of the performance of light-gauge steel shear walls with screwed plate connections. The experimental investigation will include a quasi-static cyclic loading of a large-scale, single storey, light-gauge steel plate shear wall with cold-formed infill plate screwed to a moment resisting frame (see Figure -1 above). The experimental investigation will examine two key aspects: (1) the ductility and strength of the […]


2013 H.A Krentz Research Award
Dr. Robert G. Driver
Department of Civil and Environmental Engineering, University of Alberta

Solving the Mystery of Double-coped Beams

This research will examine the behaviour of double-coped beams and the potential limit states that can be encountered in the coped region under various loading conditions. Beyond addressing the lack of experimental verification of methods currently being used for designing double-coped beams for shear loading, the project also aims to develop a methodology for determining their capacity when subjected to combined shear and axial load, which is increasingly being asked of […]


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 […]


Dr. John Gales
Department of Civil and Environmental Engineering, Carleton University

Towards a Performance Based Fire Design Framework for Composite Steel Deck Construction in Canada

Traditional structural design for fire safety of composite steel deck construction in Canada is prescriptive. This design procedure relies on simplification with isolated building components being designed based on implicit fire relations. In light of advances in Europe, this design procedure can be viewed as restrictive, under-utilising of structural materials, wasteful of fire protection material, and even at times unsafe. The Performance Based Fire Design (PBFD) methodology relies on the fire […]


Dr. Dimitrios Lignos
Department of Civil Engineering and Applied Mechanics, McGill University

Development of Ry, Rt Factors and Probable Brace Resistance Axial Loads for the Seismic Design of Bracing Connections and Other Members

In the CSA S16-09 limit state design approach, brace connections must be designed to resist brace axial loads that correspond to the probable (expected) buckling strength and tensile yielding of the steel braces. In order to ensure that within these elements, the desired ductile mode of yielding governs and other undesirable brittle failure modes are precluded from the “capacity design” methodology, the true […]


Dr. Jeffrey A. Packer
Department of Civil Engineering, University of Toronto

Offset HSS Connections

The objective of this research is to investigate the behaviour of offset HSS connections where HSS branch members are offset from the chord centreline and where connections are offset towards an open chord end (HSS branch members near the end of an open-ended chord) (see Figure 1 above). Such “irregular” connections are not covered in current design recommendations.

In the first phase of this investigation, a set of 12-16 isolated square/rectangular HSS, T-, Y- and X-connections experiments will be tested. In a second […]


Dr. Jeffrey A. Packer
Department of Civil Engineering, University of Toronto

Effective Weld Properties for Connections of Round HSS

Currently, the design of welds in round HSS-to-HSS connections is invariably performed using a design philosophy whereby welds are proportioned to develop the capacity of the connected branch member walls, which could lead to inefficient and costly connections.

The goal of this research project is to determine the effective lengths of fillet welds in round-to-round HSS T-, Y- and X-connections under branch axial loading. A set of fillet-welded, isolated connection tests – designed to be weld-critical – will […]


Dr. Khaled Sennah
Department of Civil Engineering, Ryerson University

Promoting Steel as a Material of Choice in Bridge Infrastrucutres: Current and Future Innovations

With increased prices of steel, bridge owners and design engineers have become more reluctant to using steel in bridge superstructure, as it may be cost prohibitive. In this research, some countermeasures and innovative techniques are proposed that can be considered to (i) reduce the steel material content in bridge superstructure; (ii) enhance the constructability of steel I-girder and box-girder bridge systems in both straight and curved alignments, leading to a significant cost saving; […]