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Strong Frame® Special Moment Frame Introduction

Strong Frame Special Moment Frame

Simpson Strong-Tie® Strong Frame special moment frames provide optimal moment transfer solutions for both new and retrofit projects. Our Yield-Link® structural fuse technology ensures the resilience of the frame during seismic events.

History of Special Moment Frame Development

Traditionally, special steel moment frames are designed so that the beam will yield under large displacement. The yielding of the beam section provides energy dissipation and is designed to ensure the beam-to-column connection is not compromised. The current design philosophy is the product of extensive testing of SMF connections from the findings of the 1994 Northridge and 1989 Loma Prieta earthquakes in California. Figure 1, 2 and 3 are test specimens showing yielding at designated areas of the beam.

SMF Introduction: Figure 1 — Formation of Plastic Hinge at RBS Connection

Figure 1 — Formation of Plastic Hinge at RBS Connection
(Reference: Gilton, Chi and Uang, UCSD SSRP-2000/03)

Diagram of Steel Beam Designated Yeild Area
SMF Introduction: Figure 2 — Fracture of Beam Flange Plate Moment Connection

Figure 2 — Fracture of Beam Flange Plate Moment Connection
(Reference: Sato, Newell and Uang, UCSD SSRP-2007)

SMF Introduction: Figure 3 — End Plate Specimen at Failure

Figure 3 — End Plate Specimen at Failure
(Reference: Sumner et al. 2000)

Simpson Strong-Tie Strong Frame Special Moment Frames

Traditional prequalified moment frames most often require a welded connection with either a weakened beam or a stiffened connection in order to allow the beam to yield as necessary during a seismic event so as to dissipate energy. These types of connections require that the beam be braced to resist the lateral torsional buckling per code. However, it is difficult to meet the bracing stiffness requirements with the use of light-framed wood members. Because of concerns about beam bracing and welding in wood structures, Simpson Strong-Tie designed the Strong Frame special moment frame (SMF) with a field-bolted moment connection that is a partially restrained (Type PR) connection that uses the Yield-Link® structural fuse for moment transfer.

The yielding during a seismic event has been moved from the beams to the Yield-Links, and the connection follows a capacity-based design approach. This allows the connection to remain elastic under factored load combinations, and seismic inelastic rotation demand is confined within the connection. With the yielding confined predominantly to the replaceable Yield-Link connection, inelastic behavior is not expected from the members and no lateral beam buckling braces are required.

SMF Introduction: Figure 3 — End Plate Specimen at Failure

The highlighted green section illustrates the yielding area on the Strong Frame special moment frame connection, which is a patented system designed to yield in a seismic event.
(Protected by U.S. and foreign patents and other pending and granted foreign patents.)

SMF Introduction: Figure 3 — End Plate Specimen at Failure

Sample Yield-Link Compression and Elongation from Testing

Special Moment Frame Applications

There are several benefits to using the Simpson Strong-Tie Strong Frame SMF for new and retrofit projects. In new construction, the frame can be incorporated into the early stages of design. Simpson Strong-Tie can provide design options for the customer without charge. The field-bolted connections allow for quicker frame erection and installation. In retrofit designs, the bolted connection means the frame can be erected in the interior conditions of light-frame construction without the risk of fire. The beam and columns can be erected in parts, making the SMF much easier to handle than a fully welded frame.

Prequalified Connections

Prequalified moment connections are structural steel moment connection configurations and details that have been reviewed by the AISC Connection Prequalification Review Panel (CPRP) and incorporated into the AISC 358 standard. The criteria for prequalification are spelled out in the AISC seismic provisions, AISC 341. In short, AISC 341 contains performance and testing requirements that have been shown to produce robust moment connections, and AISC 358 includes connection details that meet those criteria. AISC 358-16 Prequalified Connections include the Simpson Strong-Tie moment connection in Chapter 12.

Strong Frame Yield-Link

The Strong Frame Yield-Link connection is listed in ANSI/AISC 358-16, Chapter 12.

Read ANSI/AISC 358-16