So, What’s Behind A Screw’s Allowable Load?

This is Part 2 of a four-part series I’ll be doing on how connectors, fasteners, anchors and cold-formed steel systems are load rated. Read Part 1 and Part 1A.

These loads just can’t be right! Occasionally, I get this statement from engineers. This happens when they have been specifying commodity fasteners based on NDS load values and they get their first look at our higher screw values. Then the call comes in. They want to talk to someone to confirm what they are seeing is correct. I assure them the loads are right and give them this brief overview of how we got here:

Our first structural screw, the Simpson Strong-Tie(R) Strong-Drive(R) SDS, was originally load rated by plugging the bending yield strength and diameter into the NDS yield limit equations and using the load value from the governing failure mode. As later editions of the NDS modified the calculations and we did more testing, we found that the tested ultimate load of the SDS screw could be as much as ten times greater than the allowable load generated from the NDS equations.

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Designing Steel Roof Deck Attachment for Combined Tension and Shear

In last week’s post I made a reference to California’s golden sunshine. Californians may have to deal with wildfires, earthquakes, and wearing sunscreen year round, but we generally don’t have high wind to worry about. In a previous blog post, Roof Deck Design Considerations for High Wind Events, I discussed some of the general challenges in designing for wind uplift. This week, I wanted to get a little more specific and discuss the standards applicable to steel roof deck attachments.

Historically, procedures for design of structural connections that utilize fasteners recognize the importance of combined loading effects on structural performance. Whether bolts or screws are the connector choice, the metallic structure of steel alloys includes transverse slip planes of relatively low resistance. This results in yield criteria (function that defines the onset of yielding or fracture) that are often limited by load-deformation performance along transverse planes.

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