Experimental study of intermeshed steel connections manufactured using advanced cutting techniques

Mohammad E. Shemshadian, Ramzi Labbane, Arturo E. Schultz, Jia Liang Le, Debra F. Laefer, Salam Al-Sabah, Patrick McGetrick

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review


Advanced manufacturing techniques, such as plasma, waterjet, and laser can facilitate field assembly and disassembly of steel structural components, and therefore potentially transform how steel structures are designed and constructed. These techniques have opened up an opportunity to create a new class of steel connections that rely on intermeshed (i.e. interlocked) components in lieu of traditional connectors such as weld and bolt. This paper presents an experimental investigation on the mechanics of such intermeshed steel connections manufactured by high-definition plasma and waterjet cutting. Four full-scale specimens with an intermeshed connection were designed to resist gravity loading in steel frames. The experimental testing program focused on the behavior of intermeshed connections under vertical loads including pure flexural and combined flexural-shear loading. Both global load-deflection response and local deformation were measured to provide insights into the complex load transfer mechanisms. The experiments demonstrated ample load carrying capacity, approaching the beam plastic moment, and ample ductility, approaching a deflection over span length ratio of 1/60 to 1/40, through the interaction of individual components. Analysis of the test data also raises important questions that must be addressed for the practical design of these connections.

Original languageEnglish (US)
Article number106169
JournalJournal of Constructional Steel Research
StatePublished - Sep 2020


  • Construction
  • Experiment
  • Intermeshed
  • Plasma
  • Steel connections
  • Waterjet

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • Civil and Structural Engineering
  • Building and Construction
  • Mechanics of Materials
  • Metals and Alloys


Dive into the research topics of 'Experimental study of intermeshed steel connections manufactured using advanced cutting techniques'. Together they form a unique fingerprint.

Cite this