INTRODUCTION In 1968 the American Iron and Steel Institute published the first edition of the "Specification for the Design of Light Gage Cold-Formed Stainless Steel Structural Members"(1)8, , based largely on research sponsored by AISI at Cornell University. (2) That Specification covers the design of members cold-formed from six common types of austenitic stainless steel in the annealed and strain flattened condition. Additional research has been underway at Cornell on austenitic Type 301 stainless steel in the 1/4 and 1/2 hard tempers, to determine the structural behavior of these higher strength materials(3), including the behavior of structural connections. The properties of cold-rolled austenitic stainless steel are attractive for potential use in cold-formed construction. These properties include excellent corrosion resistance, exceptionally high strength, and good ductility associated with this high strength. Furthermore, all types of austenitic stainless steel, except the free machining grades, exhibit excellent weldability which greatly enhances their usefulness. This report will discuss the behavior of structural connections in Type 301 quarter and half hard stainless steel. An earlier report(3) summarizes all other phases of the Cornell investigation. A survey of industry practice in joining methods for stainless steel was conducted by AISI. The percentages of production using a particular joining method as estimated by each of the sixteen companies responding to the survey are given in Table 1. The table indicates that fusion welds are the most popular joining method, followed by resistance welds, bolted connections, and other techniques. According to the survey, fusion arc welding, resistance spot welding and bolted connections account for 90% or more of the connections currently used in stainless steel fabrication. The minimum shear strength for spot welds in 1/4 and 1/2 hard Type 301 Stainless steel has been tabulated by the American Welding Society(4). The AWS recommendations will be discussed briefly later in this report; there seems to be no need for further investigation of spot welds at this time. Therefore, the investigation described herein was limited primarily to bolted connections and to fusion welded connections using butt welds, longitudinal fillet welds and transverse fillet welds. Information on these joining methods, together with the existing AWS data, can provide the basis for design of a large majority of the structural connections in Type 301 1/4 and 1/2 hard stainless steel. * Superscripts in parentheses refer to corresponding items in References.


Civil, Architectural and Environmental Engineering

Research Center/Laboratory(s)

Wei-Wen Yu Center for Cold-Formed Steel Structures


American Iron and Steel Institute



Publication Date


Document Version

Final Version

Document Type

Report - Technical

File Type




Technical Report Number

Report No. 335