Design of Embedded Column Base Connections

Research purpose

Column base connections are arguably the most critical connections in steel moment frames, transferring forces from the entire structure into the foundation. However, there is very little published information on their rational design, due to the lack of sufficient experimental knowledge regarding these connections. This project will conduct targeted experiments; develop design guidelines and aids, and achieve adoption and codification of these guidelines through a research program involving extensive collaboration between academia and industry.

Specific objectives of the project are –

  1. To develop and disseminate fundamental understanding of the force transfer mechanisms of commonly used embedded base connections under monotonic and cyclic loading;
  2. To demonstrate the strength, stiffness and damage characteristics of the embedded base connections for seismic design;
  3. To develop design methods/procedures and criteria for these connections that result in economical and reliable column base connections;
  4. To develop design aids, examples, software and other tools to facilitate the adoption of these new design methods by engineering practitioners, and
  5. To attain timely building code changes that adopt the products of this research.
University of California, Davis
Project Area
Structural Engineering
CPF research grant #
Award amount
Grant period
Sep 2011 - Jun 2014
Grant Status
Principal Investigator
Professor Amit Kanvinde
Industry champions

Structural Engineers Association of California (SEAOC)

CPF allies

Embedded Column Base Connections Subjected to Flexure and Axial Load: Tests and Strength Models (03-11)

David A. Grilli and Amit M. Kanvinde, University of California – Davis