Choosing A Shear Connector For A Specific Application

In building bridges, decking, balconies and other types of structures where there is the combination of two different materials, usually concrete and steel, the choice of the correct size and diameter of the shear connector will be critical.

The role of these connectors is essential in preventing the impact of shear force on composition types of materials in construction. The connectors are used to hold the two very different materials together and to limit the ability of the two to move or slip over or under one another as forces act on the two materials independently. The patterns of the placement of the connectors will also vary based on the specifics of the design as well as the forces that will be exerted on the structure.

Through the use of these shear connectors, which are positioned in specific patterns and in pre-set distances apart from each other, twisting and sagging of even heavy items such as bridge decks can be eliminated. Not only is this important for the safety of the structure, but they are also essential to the long life cycle of these very costly infrastructure components.


For the use of all types of applications requiring shear connector attachment of the two composite materials, extensive and specific calculations are used to determine the placement, length, and diameter of connectors required.

These connectors, which may also be called headed studs or shear studs, are the most commonly used option. There are other types of connectors that can also be used, particularly on bridges, including the channel or block and hoop connects. The two alternatives are often used when the design of the structure would call for the shear connector placement to be too close together for practical installation proposes.

This is typically provided by the American Society of Civil Engineers (ASCE) or, in international types of construction, through the regulatory body for construction with jurisdiction over the project.

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