Katy Saadé1, Bernard Espion2 (Member ASCE) and Guy Warzée3
ABSTRACT This paper presents an advanced finite element formulation of the torsional behavior of thin walled beams with arbitrary asymmetrical open or closed cross sections. The warping includes two terms to describe the warping along the midline (global warping) and across the thickness (local warping) of the thin walls and is able to model the effects of non-uniform torsion. An updated corotational Lagrangian formulation is presented in order to study the flexural-torsional buckling problem. To solve the nonlinear problem, an incremental-iterative technique combines the Newton Raphson method with the constant arc length of incremental displacements. Numerical examples are presented to show the performance, accuracy and efficiency of the proposed warping function for Eulerian stability of thin walled beams and columns. Keywords: Thin-walled beams, Finite element method, Flexural-Torsional Buckling.

INTRODUCTION The carrying capacity of thin-walled beams and columns is often governed by instability. Thin walled beams may fail in a flexural or/and torsional buckling mode: the beam suddenly deflects laterally or twists out of the plane of loading. In beam geometrical nonlinearities, strains remain small and the large movements are mostly due to rigid body motions. In this paper, an updated corotational lagrangian formulation is thus used. The reference is the last known configuration. The corotational formulation eliminates the rigid body rotations from the incremental solution. High order terms of nodal parameters in the element beam model are neglected and rigid body motions are separated from local deformations. The large displacement/rotation problem is solved step by step with moderate rotations. Results presented in this paper are limited to Eulerian stability analysis. The criterion to determine the buckling state is the singularity of the tangent stiffness matrix of the structure. Geometric buckling is analyzed for thin walled beams with asymmetrical cross sections, where centroïd and shear center do not coincide. The study, deriving from Proki work (Proki , uses a single warping function which is valid for either open or closed cross sections.

Department of Continuum Mechanics, University of Brussels (ULB), C.P. 194/5, Av. F. D. Roosevelt 50, 1050 Brussels. Email : ksaade@smc.ulb.ac.be 2 Department of Civil Engineering, University of Brussels (ULB). Email : bespion@ulb.ac.be 3 Department of Continuum Mechanics, University of Brussels (ULB). Email : gwarzee@smc.ulb.ac.be

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They represent the warping but they must induce no global elongation of the cross section neither global rotation of the section along flexural axis y and z.e ¦ n i ( y.x i 1  vq wq 0 0 ¾  ® 0 w ¾  ® v 0 ¾  ® ( z  z C )T x ( y  y C )T x The additional parameters (ui) are only related to the out of plane displacement due to the torsional behavior. The second term describes the global warping and is measured by a linear combination of displacement parameters at selected nodes (ui) of the cross section. z s q hn e C y G Figure 1.x . on the distance to the shear center hn and on the distance to the midline e (Fig.1). z)u i ( x )   (1) (2) 3 4 ½ ° ° ° ° ¾ ° ° ° ° ¿ (3) . The displacements at a point q are: ­ ° ° ° ° ® ° ° ° ° ¯ ½ ° ° ° ¾ ° ° ° ° ¿ ° ° ° ® ° ° ° ° ¯ ° ° ° ° ° ° ° ¿ ° ° ° ° ° ° ° ¯ ° ° ° ° ° ° ° ¿ ° ° ° ° ° ° ° ¯ z ° ° ° ° ° ° ° ¿ ° ° ° ° ° ° ° ¯ x. So. from the 6+n degrees of freedom. The displacements (ui) are not independent. z ) u i ( x ) 1 2 : (x.z)=hn(s). Cross-section of a thin walled beam The functions i describe the mode of deformation between adjacent transversal nodes of the cross section.x where Z (y. The cross section remains plane when subjected to normal force or bending. The first term describes the local warping and depends on the derivative of the torsional rotation angle x.KINEMATIC MODEL The warping displacement is described by two terms.y)=1 i ( y. they cannot take arbitrary values. only 6+n-3 are 2 © uq ° ­ ° u0 ° ½ ­ ° z T y° ½ ­ ° y T ½ ° ­ ° ZT  ¦: n  ¦ ¨ u glob warping i 1 § ¢ £¡ ¤ ¥ § u loc warping x.

£¤ For the longitudinal displacements (u0.…). z) are interpolated by a quadratic function N. y.  ! ' N z. z. FINITE ELEMENT MODEL The beam finite element has three longitudinal nodes (Fig. three rotations ( x. there are 6+n degrees of freedom (u.u (6) . y.v.w Tz Ty y. The transverse displacements (v. dijkl 3 ( e *ij )dV ( ) 0 1 3 42 3 ³ (d ijkl d ³ u i df i dV 5 & T % $ "# 1 x3  $ ¡ N avec   ¢     T 1 3 2 2 4 (1 ) (1 2 ) x l Tx             ¥   5      ¦§  ©   ¨            (4) (5) x.v O. z…) exist. z) and n-3 relative longitudinal displacements. x. For each end node.independent: three translations (u.v. y.C u 01 T x1 x2 T y2 T z2 u 03 1 v1 w1 T y1 T z1 2 v2 w2 3 v3 T y3 u11u 21…u n1 Fig 2.ui.w. where n is the number of transversal nodes of a cross section. a linear interpolation function N is used. 5 degrees of freedom (v.w) and the rotations ( x. the incremental virtual work is given by: kl ij ij d v v where the volume V corresponds to the last known configuration which is taken as reference.w. For the central node. 2). y.w). The beam displacements are expressed in terms of the nodal displacements by using two functions. ui…). Finite element model w 3 T z3 u13 u23 …u n3 BUCKLING Using the updated lagrangian formulation. x.

3. already in equilibrium. The numerical value of the first critical load given by the software converges to the value given the analytical solution of Timoshenko (Pcr=652N).0% 0.1% 0. 100. Example 1: Plane frame buckling The first example illustrates the plane flexural buckling of a portal frame. ij is the linear part of the Green-Lagrange strain tensor. and iterations are performed to calculate the (t+1) equilibrium configuration by considering the equilibrium between the exterior load forces and the nodal interior forces (equivalent to stresses in the element). The difference between the finite element results and the solution given by Timoshenko (1961) is shown in Fig.04m 5m 5m 1.0% P Difference with reference solution for the first critical load P P t=0.04m 1 10 Number of elements 100 Fig. E=210GPa. critical loads for columns. fi is the external force vector. G=80GPa. ij is the Cauchy stress tensor. 4 .is an element of the Hooke matrix. 3). The equation (6) can be developed and transformed into a matrix formulation: [KT] {q} = {F} where [KT] =[KL ] + [KNL]   ¡ (7) An incremental iterative method is used to solve the nonlinear system of equations (7). EXAMPLES The above-described finite element model has been implemented into a software. Critical loads are calculated by taking into consideration that the structure.001m 10. It assumes that the solution is known at the initial discrete step (t). The criterion to determine this buckling state is the singularity of the tangent stiffness matrix [KT] of the structure. reaches instability if there is more than one equilibrium position for the same loading level.3 Stability analysis of a frame consisting of members with closed cross section Example 2: Flexural torsional buckling of a column A column with open monosymmetric cross section is submitted to an axial load (Fig. The columns and the beam of the frame are identical and the closed cross section is given below (Fig.4).0% 0. e*ij is the non linear part of it. In the following examples. beams and frames are compared with analytical values obtained with other kinematic formulations.

They are obtained from general equilibrium equations written for the deformed beam or column. 4) 5 .E+06 8. P tfs=0. E=210GPa.0% 0.0% 1. bending and axial compression. 4 Stability analysis of a column with open monosymmetric cross section Two analytical studies are used to compare the results of the software. The analytical value based on the above described warping function converge to this value with a difference of less than 0.014m C 10 Number of elements 100 Fig.2m L 0. Critical loads [N] 0 Number of elements 5 10 15 20 25 30 0.E+06 4.0001%.4.1% 1 0. The solution is given by taking into consideration the boundary conditions.01m 0.L=20m. The buckling non linear equations are developed from a state of combined torsion. The first is based on Vlassov’s theory and the second is based on the warping function described in this paper. 5 Critical loads for the centrally loaded column (Fig.0% 10.E+00 2.1m Difference with reference solution for the first critical load 100. The non coincidence of the centroïd(G) and the shear center(C) leads to a coupling between the flexural and the torsional buckling.E+07 Fig. G=80GPa. The difference between the numerical value of the first critical load obtained by the software and the reference value based on Vlassov’s theory (Pcr=102223N) is illustrated in Fig.E+06 1.E+06 6.02m tw=0.25m G Tfi=0.

E=210GPa. the numerical values of buckling loads are improved and other critical loads appear and so on...01m 0. The first-order theory gives three homogeneous equations and represents an eigenvalue problem. The thickness of the walls is t=4mm.08m Difference with reference solution for the first critical load 100% 10% M M tf=0.38m tw=0. According to Vlassov’s theory. a perturbation is needed in the finite element analysis.6) L=20m. The squares in fig. When. 2. 5. E=300GPa. the equations are uncoupled and the solution gives a discrete set of buckling modes. G=80. The other sets of values corresponds to buckling loads detected by finite element analyses with increasing number of elements (1. For one element. 16 and 20 elements). each critical value converges to the reference solution with the increasing number of elements. When C and G do not coincide. The number of detected buckling modes increases because it depends on the discretization and on the interpolation functions. G=99. of practical significance. when the number of finite elements increases.In a general flexural torsional buckling of a beam-column. 7). in general. A column with a cruciform section submitted to an axial load is considered (Fig. Fig. buckling involves simultaneously torsion and bending. 7 gives the 6 . To initiate the torsional buckling of the column. L=1m. 6 Lateral torsional buckling of an I beam Example 4: Torsional buckling of a column The last example illustrates a case of pure torsional buckling. 0. For two elements. So. the number of detected critical loads increases. The lowest critical load is. Fig. the shear center (C) and the centroïd (G) coincide. this is introduced by applying a small torsional moment Mx at mid height of the column. 1961). the (xz) bending modes and the twisting modes are coupled.00375m 1% 0% 1 0. there are only three critical values when the applied load P increases from zero to 10MN.26Nm. Numerically. The critical value corresponding to the lateral torsional buckling is Mcr=6262. 5 shows the critical values obtained for the same example (fig. 4) up to 10MN.5GPa.8GPa. Example 3: Lateral torsional beam buckling An I beam is loaded by two couples at its ends and is therefore subjected to uniform bending (Fig. this kind of cross section does not warp. and the critical load is lower than if torsional effects are prevented. the (xy) bending modes. Fig. 5 represented along the horizontal axis are the reference values of the buckling loads (based on Vlassov’s theory). 10.08m 10 Number of elements 100 Fig. 6 shows how the numerical solution converges to the reference analytical solution (Timoshenko. The theoretical torsional Eulerian buckling load is 258 398N.

E+5 ™ š › 2.000 0.5 10-4 for . 5 10-7 for . The curves represent the geometrical non-linear variation of the angle of twist at mid height for different values of the ratio Mx/P: Mx/P=1.5 10-6 for . The numerical results are in excellent agreement with existing analytical solutions.003 ¦ 0.E+5 0.005 0. 7 Torsional buckling of a column with cruciform cross section SUMMARY AND CONCLUSIONS A finite element formulation has been used to study the flexural torsional buckling of elastic structures composed of arbitrary thin walled cross sections.002 0. is currently used to study the flexural torsional buckling of structures combining beams with different cross sections (open or/and closed).006 0.E+0 0. but all curves reach asymptotically the level of the elastic buckling load.001 0.5 10-5 for and 1. 7 . Some numerical examples for open and closed sections are presented. which can be easily applied to an assembly of beams and columns with all kind of profiles.relationship between the axial load and the angle of twist at mid height for increasing values of P and Mx. The horizontal line is the critical load 258398N.007 Fig. 1. The load-angle of twist relationship are obviously influenced by the magnitude of the applied torsional perturbation.5 10-7 m for the curve . P 8cm 8cm ¥ ¤ £ ¢ ¡   L 8cm 8cm 3.E+5 P[N] œ  ž 1.004 [rad] 0. 1. This model.

Bleich F. Ph. thesis.   8 . New York. L. London. Eccomas 1996. Timoshenko S. "Introduction to the theory of thin-walled structures". Wiley. Chichester. McGraw-Hill. Univ. (1993). USA. of Belgrade. Ph. USA. A. USA.REFERENCES Criesfield M. "Thin walled beams with open and closed cross section". Oxford University Press.. (1986). "Non-linear Finite Element Analysis of Solids and Structures". and Batoz J. Trahair N. Université de Liège. (1952). "L'analyse statique non linéaire par la méthode des éléments finis des poutres à section non symétrique". Volume 2. Yugoslavia (in Serbian).D. Guo Y. thesis. Belgium (in French). Murray N. S. McGraw-Hill. (1990). Gere J. Shakourzadeh H. Proki A.D. “Theory of elastic stability”. (1961). (1996).. (1989). New York. “Buckling strength of metal structures ”. Wiley. England. E & FN SPON. “Flexural-Torsional Buckling of Structures”. (1997). "On the large displacement and instability of 3D elasto-plastic thin walled beam structure".Ch. De Ville De Goyet V. New York.

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