Ultimate Load Testing of Space Trusses

by Lewis C. Schmidt, (M.ASCE), Reader; Dept. of Civ. Engrg., Univ. of Melbourne, Parkville, Victoria, Australia,
Peter R. Morgan, (M.ASCE), Sr. Lect.; Dept. of Civ. Engrg., Univ. of Melbourne, Parkville, Victoria, Australia,
Ariel Hanaor, Research Asst.; Dept. of Civ. Engrg., Imperial College, London, United Kingdom,

Serial Information: Journal of the Structural Division, 1982, Vol. 108, Issue 6, Pg. 1324-1335

Document Type: Journal Paper


The results of tests to destruction of twelve space trusses are reviewed. The results cover model tests of 3' to 8' span and larger scale tests of 24' and 31' span. The trusses are all double-layer plate-like space structures. Both aluminum and steel members, and welded, bolted or commercial (proprietary) jointing systems are used. Attention is drawn to the significance of factors not normally considered in the analysis and design of such structures. The effects of joint slip, initial force systems caused by lack of fit or welding, combined with the inherent scatter of peak load capacities of the brittle-type compressive elements, furnish reductions of the experimentally derived ultimate loads when compared with theoretical predictions. It appears that the greater the degree of indeterminacy the greater the theoretical overestimate of the experimental value. Load capacities between 3 and 37 percent below those expected were observed.

Subject Headings: Load tests | Load bearing capacity | Ultimate loads | Load factors | Space truss | Welded connections | Scale models | Plates

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