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Overview of Gussets

Gussets, sometimes known as gusset plates, are metal sheets of various thicknesses used for either joining two or more components together or strengthening joints. These components include beams, girders, truss members, chords, and columns. They can also be used to retrofit older structures to improve their load bearing strength.

Gussets are most often made out of galvanized steel to provide maximum strength and to protect against rust. They can also be made out of copper or aluminum though, depending on the structure in which the gusset is being used. Those that don’t need as much support might not require steel.

The majority of gussets tend to be either squared or rectangular in shape, although those used for more specialized purposes may have different shapes, with triangular gussets being the most popular of the specially shaped gussets. In general, the greater the force on the structure, the larger the gusset size required to support it.

 

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Articles about Gussets
  • May/June 1996 Inspectioneering Journal
    By Del Underwood at Det Norske Veritas

    This final issue on gusset problems will discuss why gussets are "stiffeners" rather than "strengtheners." The effective load bearing capacity of a member of given strength is based upon how large a cross-sectional area is carrying the load. Gussets are commonly welded to tubular members to reduce their flexure under a bending load.

  • January/February 1996 Inspectioneering Journal
    By Del Underwood at Det Norske Veritas, and Tim Munsterman at Det Norske Veritas

    Last issue, in keeping with the evaluation that "gussets are stiffeners, not strengtheners," we discussed welding around the ends of the gusset plate instead of just along the sides in order to reduce the stress concentration. A further improvement in the gusset life can be obtained by welding it to a reinforcing plate and/or a fitting instead of directly to the pipe.

  • September/October 1995 Inspectioneering Journal
    By Del Underwood at Det Norske Veritas

    A key to any piping evaluation program is to understand where problems can occur. Vibrating piping can propagate a crack relatively quickly. Have you ever installed gussets to stabilize a vibrating pipe situation only to find, shortly thereafter, that the gussets have cracked the pipe? If so, you've got lots of company.

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