Block shear failure of austenitic stainless steel bolted connections

Yuchen Song, Xue Mei Lin (Lead / Corresponding author), Michael C.H. Yam, Ke Ke

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

1 Citation (Scopus)


Austenitic stainless steel possesses very high ductility and ultimate-to-yield strength ratio, which could possibly affect the block shear failure mechanism and the corresponding ultimate capacity of bolted connections made of this material. In response to this concern, a comprehensive experimental and numerical study on the block shear behaviour of austenitic stainless steel bolted connections (ASSBCs) is conducted and reported in this paper. Based on the results of 15 experimental tests, it is found that the governing block shear mechanism of ASSBCs (for 14 out of the 15 tests) at the ultimate load corresponds to cracking of the shear sections prior to fracture of the tensile sections. This differs significantly from the conventionally accepted block shear mechanism of mild steel bolted connections, which is net section fracture of the tension area and yielding of the shear area. This observation was further confirmed by a numerical study based on validated finite element models, where three block shear mechanisms were identified for ASSBCs. A thorough parametric study was then carried out to clarify the effects of key design parameters on the block shear behaviour of ASSBCs. Finally, the experimental and numerical results are used to evaluate the applicability of existing design equations to predicting the block shear capacity of ASSBCs. An improved block shear equation is subsequently proposed based on the available data.

Original languageEnglish
Article number111251
Number of pages18
JournalThin-Walled Structures
Early online date6 Oct 2023
Publication statusPublished - 1 Dec 2023


  • Austenitic stainless steel
  • Block shear
  • Bolted connections
  • Design equation
  • Experimental test
  • Finite element analysis

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • Civil and Structural Engineering
  • Building and Construction
  • Mechanical Engineering


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