**Did you know that you could use Consteel to determine the optimum number of shear connectors for composite beams?**

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**Did you know that you could use Consteel to** **determine automatically the second order moment effects for slender reinforced concrete columns?**

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**Did you know that you could use Consteel to** **perform local and distortional buckling checks for cold-formed members?**

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**Did you know that you could use Consteel to** **calculate effective cross-section properties for Class 4 sections?**

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The practical use of the ‘General method’ of EN 1993-1-1 6.3.4 for the buckling design of global structural models is still a challenging issue requiring several problems to solve. In this paper we propose a fully developed methodology presenting solutions for the application topics such as the suitable FE model, specific modeling issues to capture the true 3D behavior of the members and the whole model and the final evaluation of the design parameters. The presented methodology consistently uses a unique model for the evaluation of all analysis and design parameters and results and yields a fully automatic design process controlled solely by the properly created structural model.

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gate## Introduction

Beam with welded I sections are often executed with slender webs. This is mainly due to the recognition that the main contributors to bending stiffness of a beam are the flanges. The web plate’s main role is to safely keep these flanges away from each other and carry the shear stresses which might be present. Significant weight saving can be achieved with the use of slender webs, but there are some aspects to take care about.

When slender web plates are exposed to longitudinal, uniform normal stresses, above a certain stress level its distribution will no longer remain uniform. A compressed region of a plate distant from its lateral supports may buckle in a direction perpendicular to the acting external normal stresses, causing a subsequent transfer of stresses from the affected region to other neighbouring regions remaining in their unbuckled position.

This buckling remains limited to a part of the plate keeping other parts intact and therefore is called as local buckling. Local buckling usually does not result an immediate collapse of the structure, due to possibility of the stresses to redistribute and often even a substantial amount of further load increases are possible.

The tendency of a compressed plate to suffer local buckling is characterized by its slenderness value defined by the following formula

where σ_{cr} is the critical stress level above of which the stress redistribution and local buckling starts to appear. A higher critical stress will result in lower slenderness value which indicates that the plate can carry higher compressive stresses without the initiation of local buckling.

## Analysis of cross-sections with beam finite elements

The well-known beam finite elements used by usual structural design software do not “see” the internal composition of the cross-section. During structural analysis the sections are represented by certain integrated cross-sections properties assuming the validity of several assumptions including the Bernoulli-Navier Hypothesis and the non-deformability of the cross-section. A local buckling of any of its internal plates would violate these assumptions making hard to create the equivalent cross-sections properties.

In the modern design practice followed by Eurocode the phenomenon of local buckling is handled by the use of effective section properties. Regions subject to possible local buckling of compressed plates of a cross-sections are “eliminated” and the section properties are calculated based on the remaining parts of the cross-sections.

Design verifications use these effective cross-section properties to calculate the resistance of cross-sections exposed compressive forces. When required by Eurocode, the effect of appearance of local buckling can also be reflected in a structural analysis using beam finite elements with the use of effective cross-section properties, instead of the original gross section properties. This is mainly required to prove serviceability criteria.

## Analysis of cross-sections with Consteel Superbeam

The Consteel Superbeam function makes possible to confirm directly the presence of local buckling using the same beam element based model, but using a mixed beam and shell finite element modelling and analysis approach. Using the Superbeam tool, complete structural members or parts of them can be alternatively modelled with shell elements and the rest can still be modelled with beam finite elements. Using this technique, the total degrees of freedom of the model can be kept as low as possible. When using Superbeam, the designer has the choice whether to use beam or shell finite elements, as appropriate.

Contrary to beam finite elements, modelling with shell finite elements doesn’t have the previously mentioned limitations. This approach can fully consider the shape and location of the cross-section’s internal components instead of the use of an integrated overall section property. When a linear buckling analysis (LBA) is performed, the critical stress multipliers corresponding to the actual stress distribution can be obtained. Additionally to the load multipliers, the corresponding buckling shapes are also available, giving direct indication on the location, shape and appearance of local buckling within the compressed parts of the cross-section.

The use of effective cross-section concept is very convenient but there might be cases when more insight view is desired. The following example gives an idea where the Superbeam function can be helpful.

## Demonstrative example

Let’s consider a 12 m long simple supported welded beam with the following parameters

The beam is laterally restrained at third points at the level of its upper flange. The beam is loaded with its self-weight plus a uniformly distributed load of 10 kN/m acting at the level of upper flange.

When the beam is analysed with 7DOF beam finite elements, one can obtain the critical load multiplier of 5.2 of the global buckling mode, which is lateral-torsional buckling (LTB) in this case.

The beam finite element cannot give any visible indication about possible local buckling in compressed plates of the cross-sections.

As the maximum bending moment occurs in the middle third of this beam, it seems enough to analyse this part mode deeply with the Superbeam function. An LBA with the mixed beam and shell model gives comparable critical multiplier of 5.22 with some numeric perturbances in the part modelled with shell elements.

gateEN 1993-1-3 contains 3 „secret” formulas. The first two are used to determine the effective cross section due to distortional buckling when edge or intermediate stiffeners are involved. The third is used to calculate the distortion of the whole cross section when analyzed with a connected sheeting.

The physical meaning of all three formulas can be easily shown with simple ConSteel models which helps designer to understand the underlaying mechanial model.

The first formula (5.10) is used when the ability of an edge stiffener to stabilize a compressed flange of Z or C section is studied. During distortional buckling the intersection point of flange with the lip (it is called as edge stiffener) is expected to move in a direction perpendicular to the flange. This formula gives the stiffness value provided by the Z or C section, when is assumed that during deformations the point of intersection of the web with the flange doesn’t move. This assumption corresponds to attaching supports to these nodes as seen on picture 5.6 of EN 1993-1-3.

When a compressed edge stiffener would buckle, it will be partially restrained by the section with these attached supports. Depending on the distribution of normal stresses on the section, one or two edge stiffeners might be under compression. If both stiffeners are under compression and tend to buckle, the restraining capacity of the section will have to be shared between them. This sharing requirement is reflected by the coefficent k_{f}. The spring stiffness value will be used as a distributed spring support when the buckling resistance of the edge stiffener is calculated.

Stiffness values are typically calculated as the ratio of a displacements obtained from the application of a unit load. In this case the unit loads are applied parallelly to the expected displacement of the compressed edge stiffeners.

The ConSteel model shown below reproduces the stiffness calculation for a 1 m long Zee section (as a simplification the unit loads are placed at the intersection of the flange with the lip and not at the center of the gravity of the edge zone):

Z purlin, nominal thickness = 1.30 mm, 200 mm deep, 72 mm wide symmetric flanges, 15.5 mm deep lips

in case of M_{y} bending: k_{f} = 0, b_{1} = b_{2} = 72 mm, h_{w} = 198.7 mm, t = 1.26 mm

K_{1} = 210000*1.26^3/4*(1-0.3^2)*1/(72^2*198.7+72^3+0.5*72*72*198.7*1.0) = 0.08 N/mm^{2}

The resulting vertical displacement from the point load is 12.9 mm.

gate## Introduction

In Consteel a great variety of EN National Annexes can be used for structural design. It is possible to review the existing annexes in the *Standards* menu. In case you can not find the annex you need, you are still able to define a new, custom one in an easy way.

## How it works

The following annexes are available in Consteel 14 at the moment:

Recommended, Hungarian, Dutch, Finnish, Singapore, Portuguese, Swedish, Austrian, Polish, German, Greek, Cyprian, UK, Romanian, Croatian. Spanish and Italian standards are EN-conform codes but not officially NA’s.

In Consteel 15, French national annex is added to the list of available NA’s.

By selecting a standard on the left side of the *Standards* dialog, all of the parameters, combination factors, safety factors can be checked by chapters.

If a user defined annex is necessary, it can be created by selecting the existing annex which is the most similar in parameters to our needs, and then by clicking the *New* button on the bottom left side of the dialog. With this action a user defined annex is generated having the same parameters as the selected annex before. The difference is that the parameters of the copy are editable, and so the necessary set of parameters can be used for the design.

After introducing the Eurocode standards several theses have been published on the now much-discussed phenomenon of lateral-torsional buckling of steel structural elements under pure bending. According to that, researchers are working on the development of such new design methods which can solve the problems of the design formulae given by the EN 1993-1-1. This paper gives a detailed review of the proposals for novel hand calculation procedures for the prediction of LT buckling resistance of beams. Nowadays, the application of structural design softwares in practical engineering becomes more common and widespread. Recognizing this growing interest, the main objective of our research work is the development of a novel, computer-aided design method. In this paper, the details of a general type stability design procedure for the determination of the LT buckling resistance of members under pure bending are introduced. Here, the theoretical basis of the proposed method is clarified, the calculation procedure is detailed and some results for the evaluation of the appropriateness of the method are also presented. Based on the evaluations it can be stated that the new, general type design method is properly accurate and has several advantages on the stability check of beams under bending

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gateIn the second article of this series, Dr József Szalai of ConSteel Solutions demonstrates practical examples where the “General Method” of EN 1993-1-1 shows advantages compared to the conventional approaches.

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gate