Butt Joints - Single Shear
The video below shows how a butt joint acts in a situation of Single Shear. When the joint is pulled apart due to tensile forces acting on the primary member, the joint can fail in one of two ways. Either the bolts can shear in a single plane (indicated where they glow red during the animation), or the plate material can pull through if the amount of steel between the bolts and the edge of the plates is insufficient to resist the tensile forces. Resisting this sort of pull through shear will require that there is adequate thickness of plate material as well as distance from the edge of the plate.
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