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Historic Shape Producer Catalogs Added to AISC ePubs
Posted by Tasha Weiss on October 31, 2013 at 10:17 AM.

AISC has added more historic documents to its online ePubs collection for AISC members. The latest addition is a collection of shape producer catalogs dating back to 1885. The collection is available at in the historic shape producer section. This collection is part of AISC’s effort to preserve unique industry documents before they are lost to age-related deterioration.


The historic shape producer catalog collection is the basis of most of the shape information contained in AISC Design Guide 15, Rehabilitation and Retrofit Guide. The design guide — also available free to members online at — includes reference data for wrought iron and steel shapes that have been discontinued, beginning with shapes produced in 1873. The design guide includes a review of ASTM material standards beginning in 1900 and describes how existing structural systems can be enhanced for increased strength and stiffness.


Members must be logged-in to access ePubs files. The collection features free technical information, including AISC’s latest standards and specifications, available to AISC members as part of their ePubs member benefit. Learn more about AISC membership and ePubs at


AISC welcomes your feedback on its ePubs collection. Send your comments to the AISC Steel Solutions Center at or email Keith Grubb at

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Cast Connex Introduces Architectural Tapers for AESS
Posted by Tasha Weiss on October 30, 2013 at 5:29 PM.

Cast Connex (an AISC member) recently introduced its new Architectural Tapers, which are hollowed, cast structural steel conical tapers designed to connect hollow structural section (HSS) elements for use in architecturally exposed structural steel (AESS) applications.


Introduced in response to demand from architects and engineers alike, the specification of Cast Connex Architectural Tapers provides a solution for incorporating tapering elements to enable lighter-looking AESS framing.


architectural-taper-at-column-end.jpgThe design drawing at left shows one of the Architectural Tapers at column end. 


The product can be used on its own as well as in conjunction with the company’s Universal Pin Connectors.


You can read more about the new Architectural Tapers on the Cast Connex blog.

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Engineering Journal Q4 Now Available Online
Posted by Tasha Weiss on October 29, 2013 at 9:19 AM.

ej-q4-2013.jpgThe fourth quarter 2013 issue of Engineering Journal is now available online. You can view, print and share the current digital edition at


Papers in EJ Q4 include:


  • “Torsional and Constrained-Axis Flexural-Torsional Buckling Tables for Steel W-Shapes in Compression” by Di Liu, Brad Davis, Leigh Arber and Rafael Sabelli
  • “Experimental Investigation of Mechanical Properties of ASTM A992 Steel at Elevated Temperatures” by Jinwoo Lee, Mohammed A. Morovat, Guanyu Hu, Michael D. Engelhardt and Eric M. Taleff
  • “Structural Fire Engineering: Overview and Application Examples of Appendix 4 of the AISC Specification” by John Gross, Nestor Iwankiw and Matthew Johann
  • “Current Steel Structures Research No. 34” by Reidar Bjorhovde


Article searches for the complete collection of EJ remain available at Downloads of current and past articles in PDF format are free to AISC members and ePubs subscribers. Non-AISC members may subscribe to EJ at the AISC bookstore.
Is there a steel design topic that you would like to see addressed in more detail? EJ is always looking for your ideas. E-mail them to Keith Grubb, editor, at

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Steel Structure Trivia: Chicago Loop Bridge Turns 50
Posted by Tasha Weiss on October 25, 2013 at 12:01 PM.


Here’s MSC’s October Steel Structure Trivia question! The steel bascule bridge pictured above, as it was being raised during a spring boat run to Lake Michigan, is one of four “modern” (post-1950) bascule bridges in downtown Chicago and celebrates its 50th anniversary on Sunday. (The first movable bridge in the city was also built at this location in 1834.) What is the name of this Chicago Loop bridge? Photo: Courtesy of Jim Phillips



The name of this Chicago Loop bridge is the Dearborn Street Bridge. Congratulations to our winner: Christopher Cichon, a structural associate with Sargent & Lundy in Chicago.


The current bridge at N. Dearborn Street marked 50 years of service last Sunday, October 27.


In 1963, then Mayor Richard J. Daley presided over the ceremony marking the opening of the bridge. According to the Chicago Tribune report of the event, no speeches were given; only a hand signal from the Mayor. The bridge was lowered into place and a procession consisting of a single Cadillac followed by about 20 cyclists crossed the bridge. Seventeen minutes later, regular traffic started flowing across the bridge.


dearborn-street-bridge-plaque.jpgThe steel bascule bridge was a replacement for a Scherzer rolling-lift bascule removed in 1959. The first movable bridge in Chicago was also built at this location in 1834 (see the plaque pictured left which is located on the northeast corner of the present bridge). That bridge was a double-leaf bridge similar to today’s bridge, but with the limitations of technology at the time.


The current Dearborn Street Bridge is the fourth at this location and one of four “modern” (post 1950) bascule bridges in downtown Chicago. These bridges are most easily identified by their single bridgehouse. As with several other downtown bridges, the bridge received a Merit award by AISC when it was completed.


For more information about the Dearborn Street Bridge, contact Jim Phillips (who provided this commentary) at 312.540.0696, or visit his website, which features multimedia pages for all of the Chicago Loop bridges.
You can test your steel structure knowledge right here on our MSC website on the last Friday of each month, where a new photo will be posted to the Steel in the News section as our weekly “Steel Shot.” Your challenge is to correctly answer the trivia question provided in the news post, based on what you see in the photo. The next question will be posted at noon CST on Friday, November 22 (moved up due to the Thanksgiving holiday the following week).



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Larry Muir Named Winner of 2014 Higgins Award
Posted by Tasha Weiss on October 24, 2013 at 5:31 PM.

larry-muir.jpgLarry S. Muir, P.E., is the 2014 recipient of AISC’s T.R. Higgins Lectureship Award. Muir is being honored for his paper “Designing Compact Gussets with the Uniform Force Method,” which was published in the first quarter 2008 issue of AISC’s Engineering Journal.


Muir has been involved with structural steel in one form or another for more than 20 years and currently provides consulting services to fabricators, erectors, engineers and the AISC Steel Solutions Center. He is a member of both the AISC Specification and Manuals Committees and a member of the SEI Committee on the Design of Steel Building Structures.
Presented annually by AISC, the Higgins Award recognizes an outstanding lecturer and author whose technical paper(s) are considered an outstanding contribution to the engineering literature on fabricated structural steel. The award, which includes a $15,000 cash prize, will be presented at the 2014 NASCC: The Steel Conference in Toronto, March 26-28.


For more information on Muir, see AISC’s press release. And visit for information on the award.

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JGM Expands Pennsylvania Operations
Posted by Tasha Weiss on October 24, 2013 at 3:20 PM.

AISC member and certified fabricator JGM Welding & Fabricating Services (JGM) is expanding operations in Chester County, Penn., creating at least 44 new, high-paying jobs, as announced by Pennsylvania Governor Tom Corbett earlier this month.


The company will expand operations and lease a 75,000-sq.-ft facility located in Valley Township, Chester County. The project is expected to generate a capital investment in excess of $2.5 million in infrastructure improvement, equipment and employee training costs. In addition to job creation, the expansion is expected to retain 53 existing positions in Chester County.


“Supporting the growth of businesses like JGM is bringing the Pennsylvania economy back and creating new job opportunities for our workforce,” Corbett said. “JGM’s addition of 44 new jobs is the second jobs announcement in Chester County this year with the resulting total job creation projected to be more than 130 for the county.”


The company received a funding offer from the Department of Community and Economic Development, including a $125,000 Pennsylvania First Program grant, $44,000 in Job Creation Tax Credits and a $19,800 Guaranteed Free Training grant, to be used for training its new workforce at the project site. The company will also be eligible to apply for a $1.1 million loan from the Machine and Equipment Loan Fund to be repaid within 10 years.


“JGM applauds the state’s continued support of manufacturing businesses in Pennsylvania,” said Joe Messner, president and CEO of JGM. “With the support from the state at our new Coatesville facility, JGM will increase jobs for skilled workers and positively impact our customers, suppliers and the communities we serve.”


The project was coordinated by the Governor’s Action Team, a group of economic development professionals who work directly with businesses that are considering locating or expanding in Pennsylvania, in collaboration with the Chester County Economic Development Council and the Chester County Board of Commissioners.


For more information, see the press release issued by the Pennsylvania Department of Community and Economic Development.

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Steel Sculpture Finalists Headed to NASCC
Posted by Tasha Weiss on October 23, 2013 at 5:19 PM.

SteelDay not only gathered more than 10,000 people nationwide to learn about the structural steel industry, but also encouraged participation from AISC full and associate members to show what they can do creatively with steel. 


Fourteen sculptures were entered into this year’s SteelDay Sculpture Competition for a chance to be one of five finalists to have their creation on display at the 2014 NASCC: The Steel Conference, March 26-28, in Toronto. There, the ultimate winner will be chosen by attendees! The finalists were chosen via AISC’s Facebook page, where fans were able to view photos of the sculptures and vote for their favorites.


The top five finalists headed to The Steel Conference are (click on the images to enlarge):







Memories of Steel










 Lunch Atop a Skyscraper









Get a Grip










Reflecting the High Way














 Steve the Robot





Planning on going to The Steel Conference? Not only will you see these amazing works of steel art on display — you’ll also learn the industry’s latest techniques, see the most innovative products and network with your peers and clients.


Registration for the conference opens on November 18 and AISC members can register for just $300 during that week. But be sure to register early; the rate increases $10 every week until the conference opens, when the price becomes $480. This single registration fee gains you entry to all technical sessions, the exhibition hall, the keynote address and the T.R. Higgins Lecture. It also includes admission to all Structural Stability Research Council, Technology in Steel Construction Conference and World Steel Bridge Symposium sessions.


The main conference offers up to 18.5 PDHs; attendees of short courses can earn an additional 4 PDHs. This year’s keynote speaker is Neil Pasricha. His book, The Book of Awesome, is a #1 international bestseller and his lecture, “1,000 Awesome Things,” will touch upon his project of posting one awesome thing every weekday for 1,000 consecutive weekdays—and he’ll teach you how to bring awesome principles to life in your organization.


Visit to view the advance program. We’ll see you in Toronto (and don’t forget your passport)!

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Steel Shots: Rehabilitating the Heaviest Double-Deck Lift Bridge
Posted by Tasha Weiss on October 18, 2013 at 4:21 PM.


The steel Portage Lake Lift Bridge, which connects the Michigan cities of Houghton and Hancock, is the heaviest and widest double-deck bridge in the world and the only one of its kind in the state. Photo: Martin Hogan
portage-lake-lift-bridge-2.jpgBridge engineering firm Modjeski and Masters has been selected by the Michigan Department of Transportation (MDOT) for the rehabilitation design of the Portage Lake Lift Bridge, a 269-ft-long, 54-ft-wide steel lift bridge. The lift span, which can be raised up to 100 ft, features an upper and lower deck capable of carrying a total of eight lanes of US Highway 41 and M-26. Photo at left (click to enlarge): Nathan Holth


As part of the agreement, Modjeski and Masters will lead the steel replacement design as well as the electrical and mechanical design of the rehabilitation.


The project will focus primarily on the replacement of the wire ropes, a critical hoisting mechanism. To successfully accomplish this, Modjeski and Masters engineers proposed that replacement take place during winter months when the bridge can be left in the fully lowered position, with traffic maintained on the upper deck. This would also help to accommodate snowmobile traffic, which commonly uses the lower deck during the same season. The engineering team will also implement homeland security recommendations, provide structural repairs to the operator’s house, and design upgrades to the barrier gates.


Preservation of this historic structure is a high priority. The Portage Lake Lift Bridge was completed in 1959 and is the fourth bridge crossing to be built at the site. The bridge replaces two steel swing bridges before it, and supercedes the original 1875 wooden swing bridge.
“The Portage Lake Lift is no doubt an iconic structure due to its sheer size, but also its history of connecting the two communities,” says Kevin Johns, P.E., project manager and movable bridge business unit leader with Modjeski and Masters. “We’re very grateful to continue our long-term relationship with MDOT, and are thrilled to help with the rehabilitation of this monumental bridge.”


The rehabilitation design will be finished by the end of next summer and construction will take place during the first half of 2015.

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Second Supplement to AISC 358-10 Available for Public Review
Posted by Tasha Weiss on October 18, 2013 at 10:57 AM.

Supplement No. 2 to the AISC standard Prequalified Connections for Special and Intermediate Steel Moment Frames for Seismic Applications (AISC 358-10) is now available for public review. This document has been prepared by AISC’s Connection Prequalification Review Panel.


The public may submit comments on the standard using the web form at The draft standard is available for downloading at the same link. Alternately, a printout of the draft may be obtained for $15 by contact Janet Cummins at or 312.670.5411.


Questions on the public review process may be addressed to Keith Grubb, secretary to the Connection Prequalification Review Panel, at or 312.670.8318.


All comments are due by December 2, 2013.

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Autodesk Acquires Graitec Assets
Posted by Tasha Weiss on October 17, 2013 at 11:29 AM.

Autodesk, Inc., has signed a definitive agreement with the shareholders of Graitec (an AISC member) to acquire certain technology assets, including Graitec’s Advance Steel and Advance Concrete product lines and associated employees. The transaction is expected to close in the 4th quarter of fiscal year 2014 and is subject to customary closing conditions. The financial terms of the transaction were not disclosed.


“The proposed acquisition of the Graitec technology will provide our customers with a more seamless structural engineering workflow, from design to fabrication and to construction, with enhanced offerings for structural steel and concrete detailing,” said Amar Hanspal, Autodesk senior vice president of Information Modeling and Platform Products. “We look forward to welcoming Graitec employees, customers and partners to the Autodesk community.”


Graitec is a global provider of CAD and engineering software for structural engineering, civil engineering and building construction. Graitec’s Advance Steel and Advance Concrete products offer modeling, detailing, and fabrication solutions to support BIM-based steel and reinforced concrete workflows. Graitec will to continue to sell and support Advance Steel and Advance Concrete, as well as sell, support and develop its remaining products for structural engineering.


“Autodesk’s acquisition of the Advance Steel and Advance Concrete products in support of its BIM strategy is a testament to the expertise of the Graitec team and the quality of our steel and concrete detailing solutions,” said Francis Guillemard, CEO of Graitec. “Graitec continues to develop dedicated BIM software and services that are complementary to Autodesk, and together we look forward to maximizing the efficiency and performance of the global construction industry.”

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