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Frequently Asked Questions: Strong Frame® Special Moment Frame

Strong Frame Moment Frame

What is a structural fuse?

Most people are familiar with electrical fuses.  When an electrical circuit gets overloaded, an easy-to-replace fuse intentionally fails before a bigger problem is created elsewhere.  A structural fuse is very similar.  Most seismic-force resisting systems have some aspect to them that is designed to be the failure mechanism, or fuse, during an earthquake. The problem is that the damage is typically not constrained to some easy-to-replace structural element.  A structural fuse, similar to that electrical fuse, can be defined as passive energy dissipation (PED) device that has been implemented to enhance structural performance by absorbing seismically induced structural damage. This allows the primary structure to remain intact and with minimal damage.  If designed accordingly, only the fuses would need to be replaced following a severe seismic event, making repair work easier and more expedient.

The structural fuse concept can be implemented in new or existing structures using various kinds of PED elements. The Simpson Strong-Tie® Strong Frame® special moment frame Yield-Link® structural fuse fits the definition of a structural fuse. The Strong Frame special moment frame links are designed to be inexpensive, disposable and easy-to-replace structural elements that bear the brunt of inelastic (or permanent) deformation while the remainder of the steel frame remains elastic or with minor inelastic deformations.