Weld stud connectors, or shear connectors, are most commonly used in bridge construction or building construction where there are two different construction materials being used together. This combination or composite is typically steel in the form of girder or beams that are attached to concrete.
The use of repetitive patterns of stud connectors across the beam, frame or girder forms a continual connection between the two very different materials. Without this continual connection or attachment, the two materials experience a shear force that will allow them to slip across each other.
On long spans such as in bridges with floors or ceilings, the two materials would be able to bend, creating a concave shape that would become increasingly more pronounced until failure. With the use of the shear connectors the two materials, the concrete on top of the steel is held together, preventing slippage and keeping both stiff and stronger than they would be on their own.
Factors to Consider
The specific patterns, sizes, and spacing of the shear connectors are dependent on several factors. These factors include the strength of the stud, the location of the stud in the design and the shear flow, resistance and elasticity of the material in the composite.
Additionally, the pattern and placement of the shear connectors will repeat, but it doesn’t stay identical. As there is more shear closer to supports, the pattern will change in these locations to account for the additional force.
This is calculated based on specific equations with the unique factors for each application, resulting in the choice of the appropriate stud connectors. There are also specific standards used in the construction of bridges and buildings that provide information to architects and designers to ensure the correct choice of shear connectors based on these same factors.