The Role of Prying Force in Steel-to-Steel Connections

When it comes to steel-to-steel connections, it might visually appear that the bolts are doing all the work, but the invisible hands of gravity and their ability to add “prying force” to the structure’s connections play a large role in assuring the structural integrity of any steel-to-steel connection.

Prying force refers to the tension between bolts and the two or more objects they affix together. This tension is created by the connection’s tightness combined with gravity’s influence.

When two objects are bolted together, the weight of the bottom-most object is constantly being pushed downward, exerting itself on the bolt and the top-most object due to gravity. This creates a sort of “prying sensation” that adds tension between the objects, as their weight pulls them apart enough to reinforce their steel-to-steel connection without separating the objects.


Prying force occurs in bolted connections of all kinds, and due to the tension constantly at play between two bolted components, it’s essential to ensure your bolts are durable enough to withstand the downward pushing force of the objects they’re designed to attach. It’s vitally important to account for prying force when considering how your construction project will come together and what implements to use; neglecting to do so could easily result in the failure of a connection.

Prying Force is defined as flexibility between connected parts that, when activated by weight bearing down on connected components, causes them to flex at the connection. Too much force could cause tearing or lead to the parts separating over time. However, with just the correct amount, prying force creates tension that strengthens and reinforces connections, increasing the durability of steel-to-steel components.

Prying Force is sometimes conflated with “prying action,” but they aren’t necessarily the same. In fact, the former is usually a result of the latter. Prying Action refers more specifically to the aspect of this relationship where gravity or other weight pushes down on an object, causing the opposite side to pull up and flex. Prying force is specifically how prying action causes tension, and that tension is what influences steel-to-steel connections to become stronger.


Prying force is like the invisible mechanism that provides the tension required for steel-to-steel connections to take place. Because of its immense importance, understanding and considering its influence is vital to the structural integrity of any construction project.

When a load is imposed on a steel component, it triggers axial and bending forces. This influence generates prying forces at the connection points, exerting pressure on the connection to separate. The magnitude of the prying force depends on factors such as the geometry of the connection, the applied load, and the frictional resistance.

By incorporating features such as increased contact areas, optimized bolt arrangements, and high-strength materials, steel-to-steel connection products like BoxBolts®, and G-Clips can be meticulously designed to maximize the potential of prying force. Distributing them evenly throughout a connection can minimize stress while enhancing the overall stability of a given structure.


With the mechanics of prying force explained, as well as why the influence it exerts on any sort of connection is so important, we’ll now explain in greater detail what actually occurs in a steel-to-steel connection subjected to prying force.

Imagine one steel I-section is attached to another at 90 degrees using BoxBolts to ensure an even weight distribution. This means that one I-section is above the other and they’re running perpendicular to each other. Constantly, the influence of gravity and the weight of the I-sections themselves are pushing down on the beams. As this force is being applied, pushing the beams downward, that action pries on the bolts connecting them upwards. This puts tension on the bolts, and it is that tension which provides strength and tightness to the connection.

Although it may seem like the prying force is slowly tearing the connection apart, the strength of the steel should be greater than the influence of weight and gravity so the connection stays secure, and the prying force works to facilitate this. It should also be noted that the effectiveness of prying force at exerting tension onto the bolts and components is only as useful as the weight distribution of the bolts and steel components. If there isn’t an equal distribution of weight, or too much weight is being applied on an inadequate connection, the influence of prying force could be detrimental, tearing the connection apart and potentially weakening the components.

This is why understanding the mechanics of prying force is so integral to establishing effective, structurally-sound steel-to-steel connections; when not accounted for and accommodated properly, the results could be less than beneficial. It’s always important to consider achieving an equal distribution of BoxBolts®, when engineering your connections. This will help ensure your construction projects are engineered with an equal distribution of weight in mind. This way, prying force will work to the advantage of your connections and not to their detriment.


LNA Solutions BeamClamps® and G-Clips are specifically engineered to leverage prying force, optimizing the strength and stability of steel-to-steel connections while maintaining unparalleled ease of use and flexibility.

Prying Force is a principle inherent in every LNA Solutions product, especially in how BoxBolts®, or BeamClamps® can establish such strong connections without needing to be physically bonded to the steel components. But how is each product designed to harness the power of prying force?

BoxBolts®: While prying force can reinforce the connection of any bolt, BoxBolts’® unique blind-fitting design means they use prying force to their advantage and to a much greater effect. What makes BoxBolts® unique is its self-tightening sheathed design, which expands as the bolt is secured to the steel components. This creates a sort of anchor that holds the steel-to-steel connection and the bolt firmly in place. What this means is that a BoxBolt® connection can withstand a greater amount of prying force than your average bolted connection, as it can flex, but its anchored design means it is even less likely to break or tear.

BeamClamps®: These robust clamps are engineered to securely fasten steel beams, evenly distributing loads across connection points. By leveraging prying force, Beam Clamps mitigate the risk of connection failure, guaranteeing structural integrity. BeamClamps® are also made of Ductile steel. As opposed to the stainless steel used in products like BoxBolts®, BeamClamp’s® ductile steel construction allows for slightly more flexibility, meaning tight connections will flex instead of being too rigid and coming loose.

G-Clips: G-Clips are purpose-built to establish a strong and dependable connection for steel grating that workers or other personnel can safely walk on without fear of the flooring falling underneath them. With their unique design, G-Clips utilize prying force to create a snug and secure fit, averting slippage and preserving alignment even under substantial loads.

FloorFix: FloorFix devices are meant to secure metal flooring, similar to how G-Clips affix grating. In doing so, FloorFix fixtures are clamped to a steel beam, with a central bolt tightening its clamp-like body and the flooring above the beam, creating a secure fit. When someone walks on the floor, pressure is applied, creating a “prying force”-an adjacent effect that works to keep the connection secure.


Prying force reinforces structural integrity because it exerts a force that fortifies connections while diminishing fatigue and failure risks over time. The precise way it does this is by applying enough force to strengthen the connection, but not so much that it damages or weakens the components involved.

Prying force also facilitates the effective distribution of weight and optimized load distribution, properly enhancing the load-bearing capacity of steel-to-steel connections. Any steel-to-steel connection is only as strong as it is well-balanced, so proper distribution of weight goes a long way in properly harnessing the power of prying force. This is partially what keeps its influence from tearing apart connections instead of bolstering them.

Structures incorporating prying force exhibit greater resilience against dynamic loads and environmental factors, which ensures prolonged durability and safety. Tension keeps structures stable and connections rigid, and prying force establishes and maintains that tension for greater longevity and durability.


If you’re looking for steel-to-steel connection products that maximize the potential of prying force and provide a versatile array of solutions for any construction project, refer to LNA Solutions’ product page. There, you can find more information and detailed diagrams on BoxBolts®, G-Clips, and other products to understand their applications, functionality, and available finishes. Contact us today to learn more.



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