# NEW SOUTH WALES TECHNICAL AND FURTHER EDUCATION COMMISSION ________________________________________ NIRIMBA COLLEGE OF TAFE

4010A

Columns

Structures 1 2182M Created by Trevor Mullins on 20/10/2006 Version: 2

Additional Column notes Modified: 9/11/2009 Page 1 of 13

000. Recall that stress = force area Consider a column that has to resist a 2000 kilonewton load (force).04 m 2 Structures 1 2182M Created by Trevor Mullins on 20/10/2006 Version: 2 Additional Column notes Modified: 9/11/2009 Page 5 of 13 . 000 newtons = 50. Imperfections in the column and non-centroidal loads cause bending stresses as well. 000 pascals = 0. Figure 5: Combined compression and bending in a column.Figure 4: The load from your hand onto your ruler. If it is made of 50 MPa concrete. Tensile stress can occur in a column if the amount of tension caused by the bending is greater than the amount of compression caused by the compressive load. The total stress is the sum of the stress due to the compressive force and the stress due to the bending. Now you know that columns rarely experience purely compressive stresses. Design principles—design for compressive load A column must have sufficient cross-sectional area such that the compressive stress capacity of the material is not exceeded. approximately what cross-sectional area is required? area = force stress 2. Bending stresses are compressive on one face and tensile on the other. 000.

In fact. the more slender it is. slenderness is defined as: Structures 1 2182M Created by Trevor Mullins on 20/10/2006 Version: 2 Additional Column notes Modified: 9/11/2009 Page 7 of 13 . The strongest axis of bending is for bending perpendicular to the wall.Figure 7: Orientation of steel columns to allow for greatest bending. Slenderness We have discussed how slender columns are more prone to buckling failure. Figure 8: Arrangement of timber columns in domestic construction. and the smaller the cross-sectional dimensions. that is quite obvious. The longer it is. What determines whether a column is slender or not? Well actually. Have you noticed how timber studs are oriented in timber wall frames? Look at Figure 8.

We mentioned earlier that the slenderness is related to the cross-sectional dimensions. You should recall from Section 5 a discussion of second moment of area of a cross-section. That is. and r = radius of gyration Radius of gyration is a quantity that enables us to compare directly. r is like the size of an equivalent CHS* (circular hollow section). Well that’s fine. For those of you keen to conceptualise this property. but the concept can be understood in these terms. s = leff r where leff = effective length. these two section properties are combined to give us an entity called the radius of gyration. r is the radius at which you need to place all of the area of the material. and A = cross-sectional area It is not necessary for you to memorise this formula or to understand it. the same CSA can behave quite differently when subjected to bending. (* This is a simplification of the actual meaning of radius of gyration. different cross-sectional shapes and areas. In fact. for any given cross-section. r = I A where I = second moment of area. but which dimension? Figure 9: Which dimension can be used to compare the slenderness of columns with these cross-sections? Cross-sectional area (CSA) alone is not sufficient because as we have seen in Section 5.slenderness. to produce a CHS with the same bending behaviour as a given section.) Structures 1 2182M Created by Trevor Mullins on 20/10/2006 Version: 2 Additional Column notes Modified: 9/11/2009 Page 8 of 13 . radius of gyration.

but the effective length. the less the column’s tendency to buckle. Structures 1 2182M Created by Trevor Mullins on 20/10/2006 Version: 2 Additional Column notes Modified: 9/11/2009 Page 9 of 13 . You can see why this would be so as it is symmetrical about any axis. a CHS with a large diameter would be less likely to buckle than one with the same mass but a small diameter. it is not the overall length that is crucial. That is. by relating it to an equivalent CHS. It also has its material placed away from the centroid. However. A CHS is equally stiff about all axes and is the most efficient shape for a column with no intentional eccentricity of load. the greater the tendency to buckle and thus the more slender. Rigidity of supports Consider the two columns shown in Figure 11. Now you should see why the radius of gyration is so important in determining a column’s slenderness or resistance to bending.Figure 10: An approximate equivalence of sections to show the meaning of radius of gyration. the portion of the length that is prone to buckling. The larger the radius of gyration. In other words. So it is reasonable to ‘standardise’ any other cross-sectional shape in terms of its buckling or bending behaviour. Effective length Slenderness also depends on the length of a column: the longer it is. This makes the second moment of area high.

Figure 11: Two similar columns with different support rigidity subject to identical loads. Figure 12: Buckled shape of two columns with different support rigidity. It should be clear that the column on the left with the rigid end supports will be less likely to buckle under the load and will have a different buckling length. The pinned ends allow the column to rotate freely about the point at which it is held. See Figure 12. Can you guess what the buckled shape of a column with one stiff end support and one pinned support would look like? Structures 1 2182M Created by Trevor Mullins on 20/10/2006 Version: 2 Additional Column notes Modified: 9/11/2009 Page 10 of 13 . The stiff end supports hold the column firmly in position. not allowing any rotation and making the column much more difficult to buckle.

we say that it is laterally restrained.Figure 13: Buckled shape of column with one fixed end and one pinned end. Structures 1 2182M Created by Trevor Mullins on 20/10/2006 Version: 2 Additional Column notes Modified: 9/11/2009 Page 11 of 13 . the size of the load that would cause buckling would be more than that which would cause buckling in a pin ended column. See Figure 14. But the buckling load would be somewhat less than for the column with the two fixed ends. For the column in Figure 13. Lateral restraints If a column is restrained or prevented from buckling sideways by some means. A column can be laterally restrained in many different ways. given that it had the same cross-sectional shape and was made of the same material.

but restrained column are shown in Figure 15. thus increasing the load required to cause buckling. The buckled shapes of an unrestrained and a similar. Lateral restraints essentially prevent buckling of the full length of the column. Structures 1 2182M Created by Trevor Mullins on 20/10/2006 Version: 2 Additional Column notes Modified: 9/11/2009 Page 12 of 13 . they reduce the effective length. In fact.Figure 14: Various types of lateral restraint to columns. Figure 15: Buckled shapes of unrestrained and restrained column.