Secret formulas of EN 1993-1-3 – Part 2

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Distortional buckling - Further secret formulas of EN 1993-1-3. Check our article for the first secret formula if you hadn't read it yet.

In our series we continue with the second „secret” formula of EN 1993-1-3.

This formula (5.11) is used when the ability of an intermediate stiffener to stabilize a compressed web plate is studied. 

When the intermediate stiffener is rigid enough, it divides efficiently the longer web plate into shorter plates. During buckling a rigid stiffener will not displace and the plate will buckle between the ends (stabilized by flanges) and this stiffener:

If the stiffener is not rigid enough, already at a much lower stress level the distortional buckling will appear which is characterized by a displacement of the stiffener and by the web plate buckling with a half-wave equal to the plate length:

In such a case Eurocode still accepts that web plate buckling will occur between ends and intermediate stiffener, but reduces the thickness of the intermediate stiffener zone, to compensate for the less than ideal rigidity. This compensation will depend on the buckling resistance of the stiffener when subject to compression.

The simplified model used by Eurocode in the procedure can be seen below. As a simplification it is assumed that the web plate is connected to the rest of the section with hinges. It means that it’s buckling shape is not influenced by the stiffness of connected parts, they do not encaster its ends, its ends can freely rotate. The ends of the plate are supported and there the plate can provide an elastic bedding to the stiffener, which will be considered as a „help” when its buckling resistance will be determined. This bedding is represented by the K spring stiffness:

The spring value which represents in this model the bedding provided by the plate is calculated as the ratio of the displacement obtained from the application of a unit load at the center of gravity of the stiffneer. In this case the unit load is applied perpendicularly to the web plate. Formula (5.11) gives the deflection (δ) from such unit load (u).

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