A failure criterion for fillet welds

  • J.D. Higgs

Student thesis: Doctoral ThesisDoctor of Philosophy


The work constitutes a study of the strength of mild steel fillet welds subject to static loading, and the behaviour of flange welded beam-column connections under combined bending and shear. Tests are conducted on short welds in the as-welded and stress relieved conditions, and also on full-size beam-column connections. It is shown that welds under compression have a lower strength than when under tension. Failure of the fillet weld is initiated at the weld root, the important factor controlling the initiation being weld ductility. The greater the residual stress, the lower the weld ductility and ultimate strength. Thermal stress relieving increases strength by as much as 30%. Weld failure plane is rarely at the throat and varies from 0° to 45° depending upon loading condition. Failure plane average stresses are related by a circular function which is expressed in terms of externally applied forces at limit state.
The tension weld of a flange-welded beam-column connection always fails
before the compression weld. The shear load sharing between the welds is a
complex function of elastic compression of the web, elastic/plastic deformation of the flanges, load/deformation characteristics, and the type of load application. Bearing forces between the compression flange and column face produce low level bearing stresses and frictional forces which make a negligible contribution to shear load resistance. Three modes of connection failure are possible; 'end mode', 'bending mode' and 'shear mode', with a sudden change taking place between the two latter.
Date of AwardJan 1981
Original languageEnglish
SupervisorL.H. Martin (Supervisor)


  • weld
  • strength
  • criterion
  • beam-column
  • failure

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