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Thin-Walled Structures 40 (2002) 791820

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Second-order generalised beam theory for


arbitrary orthotropic materials
N. Silvestre, D. Camotim
Department of Civil Engineering, IST, Technical University of Lisbon, Av. Rovisco Pais, 1049-001
Lisbon, Portugal
Received 26 November 2001; received in revised form 12 March 2002; accepted 15 March 2002

Abstract
The paper presents the formulation of a second-order Generalised Beam Theory (GBT)
developed to analyse the buckling behaviour of composite thin-walled members made of laminated plates and displaying arbitrary orthotropy. The derived second-order GBT equations are
compared with the Vlassov-type ones obtained by Bauld and Tzeng and a few remarks are
made concerning the cross-section mechanical properties appearing in the non-linear terms.
Next, a few ambiguous aspects related to the structural meaning of the results yielded by
member linear stability analyses are discussed and clarified. Finally, the application and capabilities of the formulated second-order GBT are illustrated by means of an investigation of
the buckling behaviour of thin-walled orthotropic columns and beams, which takes into account
both local and global deformation modes. 2002 Elsevier Science Ltd. All rights reserved.
Keywords: Thin-walled composite members; Second-order generalised beam theory (GBT); Asymmetric
orthotropy; Linear stability analysis; Local-plate modes; Distortional modes; Mixed modes

1. Introduction
As already mentioned in the companion paper [1], the mechanical properties exhibited by most composite (laminated plate) thin-walled members clearly indicate a
high susceptibility to instability (buckling) phenomena, which may be classified and
characterised as follows:

Corresponding author. Tel.: +351-21-8418403; fax: +351-21-8497650.


E-mail address: dcamotim@civil.ist.utl.pt (D. Camotim).

0263-8231/02/$ - see front matter 2002 Elsevier Science Ltd. All rights reserved.
PII: S 0 2 6 3 - 8 2 3 1 ( 0 2 ) 0 0 0 2 6 - 5

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Nomenclature
ij], [Bij] membrane, bending, membranebending laminate stiffness
[Aij], [D
matrices
[Bik], [Cik], [Dik] GBT basic matrices
[Fik], [Hik] GBT coupling matrices
[Xkij] GBT non-linear stiffness matrix associated to Wk
b, t
plate element width and thickness
G, S cross-section centroid and shear centre
L
member length
M, P applied bending moment and axial compressive load
x, s, z plate coordinate axes
X, Y, Z cross-section centroidal principal coordinate axes
elementary warping functions
uk(s)
u, v, w displacement field components
U, V, W, cross-section rigid-body degrees of freedom
pre-buckling internal force or moment
Wk
f
displacement amplitude function

load parameter
components written in the eigenvector coordinate system
(~)
critical bifurcation loads and buckling mode shapes
()cr
limit applied load (stress) values and deformed configurations
()lim

(i) Global buckling phenomena, which involve the deformation of the member
axis and are associated to cross-section in-plane rigid-body motions. Examples
of such phenomena are (i1) flexural or flexuraltorsional buckling of compressed members (columns) and (i2) lateraltorsional buckling of members
under bending (beams)see Fig. 1(a).

Fig. 1. Instability phenomena: (a) beam (global) lateraltorsional buckling, (b) column local-plate buckling and (c) beam distortional buckling.

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(ii) Local buckling phenomena, which involve in-plane cross-section deformations,


while the member axis remains undeformed. It is still possible to distinguish
between (ii1) local-plate buckling (plate bending without fold line displacementssee Fig. 1(b)) and (ii2) distortional buckling (fold line membrane displacementssee Fig. 1(c))1.
Therefore, in order to adequately assess the structural efficiency of thin-walled
laminated plate members, it is essential to know their buckling behaviour, namely
to identify the relevant buckling modes and to determine the corresponding bifurcation stress values. This requires the performance of accurate linear stability analyses, which must account, simultaneously, for the possible occurrence of both local
(local-plate and distortional) and global buckling.
Although there exists a considerable amount of research work, both analytical and
experimental, concerning the global buckling behaviour of thin-walled composite
members (e.g., [38]), only relatively few studies have been devoted to the local
buckling behaviour of such members. However, the numerical and experimental
investigations carried out, for instance, by Barbero et al. [9], Tomblin and Barbero
[10], Bank et al. [11] and Pecce and Cosenza [12] have provided clear evidence that
local buckling phenomena2 play a fundamental role in the structural behaviour of
composite thin-walled members, namely on their load-carrying capacity. Moreover,
the numerical results reported in these studies were invariably obtained by means
of the finite element method and it has been shown that the adequate modelling of
both local and global buckling effects, indispensable to obtain accurate estimates of
the member overall behaviour, requires the performance of rather sophisticated and
time-consuming analyses.
Quite recently and in the context of isotropic thin-walled members (e.g., coldformed steel members), the Generalised Beam Theory (GBT) was shown to be a
general and very elegant approach to accurately solve a wide range of structural
problems involving prismatic members and, moreover, to be a valid and often advantageous alternative to fully numerical analyses [13,14]. In the case of linear stability
analyses, Davies et al. (e.g., [2,15,16]) and Schardt [17] applied a second-order GBT
to investigate the (local and global) buckling behaviour of thin-walled cold-formed
steel members. In particular, Davies and his co-workers studied extensively the distortional buckling behaviour and their investigations, combined with the ones carried
out by Hancock et al. (e.g., [1820]), significantly contributed to (i) a better understanding of this phenomenon and also (ii) the development of efficient design formulae accounting for it.
The objective of this paper is to present the formulation and illustrate the application of a second-order orthotropic GBT, thus completing the task defined and
initiated in [1]. The issues addressed here are specifically related to geometrically
1
Some authors classify the instability phenomena as global, distortional and local (plate), i.e., they
do not group together local-plate and distortional buckling under the common designation local buckling
(e.g., [2]).
2
The aforementioned investigations deal exclusively with local-plate buckling.

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non-linear aspects and their incorporation in the previously reported (first-order) GBT
makes it possible to perform linear stability analyses of prismatic composite
(laminated plate) thin-walled members displaying arbitrary orthotropy. In order to
fully understand the concepts and procedures involved in this work, the reader should
become acquainted with the fundamentals of the orthotropic GBT, which are
described and discussed in the companion paper [1].
Initially, the principle of virtual work is employed to derive the additional equilibrium equation and boundary condition terms required to perform buckling (linear
stability) analyses of laminated plate thin-walled members, i.e., the terms accounting
for the geometrically non-linear effects associated to the deformed configuration
adjacent to the member fundamental equilibrium path. These additional terms are
also physically interpreted, i.e., related to the interaction between the applied loads
(stresses) and the deformations characterising the bifurcated path. Next, the secondorder GBT equations are compared with the ones obtained by Bauld and Tzeng [21],
who developed, in 1984, a Vlassov-type beam theory (including warping effects) to
analyse fibre-reinforced members displaying thin-walled open cross-sections. Since
this theory only deals with global deformations (extension, bending and torsion), the
comparison can only involve the GBT rigid-body deformation modes. Besides
showing that there exists a perfect agreement between the two sets of equilibrium
equations, the paper also includes a few remarks regarding the cross-section mechanical properties.
Then, before addressing aspects directly related to the application and numerical
implementation of the second-order GBT equations, some attention is devoted to
identifying and characterising the different types of member second-order analyses
that can be performed by means of such equations, an issue that has often been a
source of ambiguity or misunderstanding (e.g., [21]). In particular, a systematic way
to unveil the nature of the primary equilibrium path (pre-buckling or non-linear) is
outlined and illustrated, which provides a methodology to investigate whether the
results yielded by linear stability analyses constitute true bifurcation loads or simply limit load values. In addition, the main steps involved in performing a GBT
linear stability analysis are also briefly described.
Finally, the paper concludes with an illustration of the use of the second-order
GBT to determine the buckling (linear stability) behaviour of fibre-reinforced plastic
(FRP) members, taking into account both local (local-plate and distortional) and
global modes. Lipped channel members displaying several laminated plate material
behaviours are considered and the analyses performed lead to (i) the identification
and characterisation (classification) of the relevant buckling modes and (ii) the evaluation of the corresponding bifurcation stress values. In particular, it is investigated
how these results are influenced by (i) the applied stress distribution (e.g., uniform
compression or pure bending) and (ii) the member orthotropy (laminated plate layer
configuration and fibre orientation).

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2. Derivation of the equilibrium equations and end conditions


2.1. Determination of the geometrically non-linear (second-order) terms
First of all, it should be mentioned that the GBT simplifying assumptions,
described in [1], remain valid, which implies that the only first-order kinematic
relation that needs to be changed is the one concerning the membrane longitudinal
extension (eM
xx). In fact, it now must incorporate the relevant non-linear terms, i.e.,
those associated to the mid-plane transverse displacement components (v and w),
thus leading to
2
2
M
M
eM
xx u,x (v,x w,x) / 2 (exx)L (exx)NL

(1)

Since the linear term was already accounted for in the first-order theory [1], only
the determination of the equilibrium equation and boundary condition terms originating from the non-linear term are dealt with from here on.
By taking into consideration the displacement representation defined in [1] (see
Eq. (4)) , the first variation of exx must now include the additional terms
(dexx)NL (vivj wiwj)fj,xdfi,x

(2)

which affect the member strain energy variation related to the work done by the
longitudinal normal stresses (sxx), i.e.,
dU

sxxdexxdzdsdx

(3)

L b t

Incorporating (2) into (3), recalling the expression of sxx (Eq. (7) of [1]) and
performing the cross-section integration (coordinates s and z), one is led to
(dUxx)NL

sxx(dexx)NLdzdsdx [(X1kijX2kij)(W1k fj,x),x

L b t

X (W f ) ]dxdfi[((X X ) W1k X3kijW2k)fj,xdfi]L0


3
kij

2
k j,x ,x

(4)

1
kij

2
kij

where (i) the first-order tensors (vectors) W1k (x) ( W1k ) and W2k(x) ( W2k ) are associated to the pre-buckling internal forces and moments due to the applied loads
(stresses) and (ii) the third-order tensors appearing in the right-hand side of this
expression stem from the cross-section integration of products involving the displacement functions uk(s) (elementary warping functions), vk(s), wk(s) and derivatives of
wk(s).
2.2. Member equilibrium equations and boundary conditions
Following the usual application of the principle of virtual work (dfi are kinematically admissible and otherwise arbitrary functions) and taking into account the firstorder terms already derived in the companion paper [1], one can establish the member

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system of equilibrium equations and boundary conditions. In the coordinate system


formed by n 1 orthogonal and normalised warping functions u k(s)3, determined
in the context of the first-order theory, such equilibrium equations and boundary
conditions are expressed respectively as
ikf k,xxxD
ikf k,xx F ikf k,x B ikf k (X 1kijX 2kij)(W
1kf j,x),x
(5)
C ikf k,xxxx H
X3kij(W2k fj,x),x q i
,
which are designated as GBT second-order equation(s), and
ikf k,xx(D
1ikD
2ik D
3ik)f k,xF 1kif k ((X 1kijX 2kij)W
1k
{C ikf k,xxx H
2k )f j,x q uu i}df i|L0 0,
X 3kijW
(6)
1
2
2
3
L
ikH
ik)f k,x (D
ikD
ik)f k}df i,x|0 0
{C ikf k,xx (H
.

Matrices Cik, Hik, Dik, Fik and Bik correspond to first-order terms of the GBT equations and, as seen in [1], their components are the cross-section mechanical properties associated to the different deformation modes. As for the pre-buckling internal
k, they are assumed to depend linearly on a single load (stress)
forces and moments W
k0, with W
k0 standing for the internal forces and
k lW
parameter l, i.e., one has W
moments associated to the member reference loading profile. Moreover, they are
given by
1k W
2k ; W
1k C klf l,xx; W
2k H
klf l,x
kW
(7)
W
1
2
k are normal stress (sxx) resultants, arising respectively from
k and W
where both W
F
(i) the longitudinal strains (eM
xx exx) and from (ii) the bendingtwisting curvature
F
(gxs) due to coupling effects (the latter is absent in either isotropic, special orthotropic
ik is a null tensorsee Table 1 of [1]). Since
or cross-ply orthotropic materials, as H
1k may be
C ik are components of a diagonalised tensor (see Eq. (21) of [1]), vector W
also expressed as [13,15]
1k C kkf k,xx
.
(8)
W
1
2
3

Finally, matrices Xkij, Xkij and Xkij provide the second-order terms of the GBT
equation, i.e., stand for the geometrically non-linear effects associated to the equilibrium in the member (adjacent) deformed configuration. They read

1
X 1kij
Ckk

b t

1
X 2kij
Ckk

b t

1
X 3kij
Hkl

1
11w k(v iv j w iw j)dzds

zQ
Ckk B11w k(v iv j w iw j)ds,
b

1
13w l,s(v iv j w iw j)dzds
2zQ
2B 13w l,s(v iv j w iw j)ds

Hkl

b t

11u k(v iv j w iw j)dzds


Q
Ckk A11u k(v iv j w iw j)ds,

If there are intermediate nodes, the set of orthogonal functions also includes w k(s).

(9)

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and it is important to recall, at this point, that, following the GBT simplifying
assumptions, v k(s) and w k(s) are expressed in terms of u k(s)4. Moreover, it should be
noticed that, for the sake of consistency with the classical thin-walled beam theory,
kl were incorporated in the definition of the tensors X 1kij,
the components C kk and H
k.
X 2kij, X 3kij and W
Concerning the physical interpretation and characterisation of the components of
k0 and matrices X 1kij, X 2kij and X 3kij, it is worth mentioning that:
vector W
k0 is a reference modal internal force and moment vector (W
k0 W
1k0
(i) W
2k0), obtained from the applied loads (stresses) by means of a linear preW
k0 is associated to a specific
buckling analysis5. Since each component of W
deformation mode, the corresponding physical meaning can be identified
accordingly. Therefore, one has that:
10 is associated to deformation mode
(axial extensionu 1 0 and
(i.1) W
w 1 0), i.e., it represents the (compressive) axial force.
20 is associated to deformation mode
(major axis bendingu 2 0
(i.2) W
and w 2 0), i.e., it represents the major axis bending moment.
30 is associated to deformation mode
(minor axis bendingu 3 0
(i.3) W
and w 3 0), i.e., it represents the minor axis bending moment.
40 is associated to deformation mode
(torsionu 4 0 and w 4 0
(i.4) W
), i.e., it represents the bi-moment.
k0 (k5) are associated to distortional modes (u k 0, w k 0) or
(i.5) W
local-plate modes (u k 0, w k 0), which means that they correspond
to less usual stress resultants, with no straightforward physical meaning.
k0, which,
(ii) [X 1k ], [X 2k ] and [X 3k ] are non-linear (stiffness) matrices associated to W
in general (arbitrary orthotropy), depend on (ii1) the cross-section material
geometrical properties and (ii2) the applied load (stress) nature. However, it
should be pointed out that:
(ii.1) For members made of symmetric laminated plates, matrices [X 2k ] and
[X 3k ] are null, due to the linear dependence on the thickness coordinate
z6, and, therefore, [X 1k ] is the sole non-linear matrix involved.

Provided that no intermediate nodes are involved (if this is the case, the corresponding wk(s) functions
are defined independentlysee [1]).
5
ik 0, one must evaluate both W
1k0 and W
2k0 by means of a pre-buckling (linear) analysis, since
If H
they are associated to distinct second-order effects, i.e., to different non-linear matrices (X 1kijX 2kij and
X 3kij, respectively).
6
When secondary warping effects are deemed relevant and taken into account (e.g., in angle, cruciform
or T sections) [22,23], [X 2k ] is no longer linear in z for the torsional deformation mode (the warping
displacements also vary across the wall thickness). In such case, one must adopt the first definition of
[X 2k] presented in (9), i.e., the one explicitly showing the integration over the wall thickness.

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(ii.2) Moreover, for isotropic or special orthotropic members, [X 1k ] depends


only on the cross-section geometrical characteristics and applied load
nature, which justifies the designation of geometric matrix, commonly
adopted in the context of isotropic member stability.
(iii) Concerning the effect of the applied load nature on matrices [X 1k ], [X 2k ] and
[X 3k ], it is worth mentioning that:
10) only influences matrix [X 1k ].
(iii.1) A compressive axial force (W
30) influences both matrix [X 1k ] and matrix
20 or W
(iii.2) A bending moment (W
[X 2k ].
k0 (k4) influences all matrices [X 1k ],
(iii.3) Any other modal component W
2
3
[X k ] and [X k].
3. GBT vs. theory of Bauld and Tzeng (1984)
Although several plate theory aspects are involved in its fundamentals, it is
important not to forget that GBT is aimed at analysing the structural behaviour of
prismatic members, in much the same way as Vlassovs classical thin-walled member
theory for isotropic members. In the context of thin-walled member linear stability
analyses, Bauld and Tzeng [21] extended Vlassovs theory to members formed by
arbitrary symmetric laminated plates and, moreover, included secondary warping
effects [22,23]. However, these authors did not take into account the in-plane crosssection deformation (i.e., distortional or local-plate modes).
In order to compare the developed GBT with the theory of Bauld and Tzeng, let
us consider a member with the arbitrary thin-walled open cross-section depicted in
Fig. 2(a). This figure also shows (i) the global coordinate system (X, Y, Z), with the

Fig. 2. (a) Coordinates, degrees of freedom and displacements of an arbitrary cross-section. (b) Coordinates of an arbitrary point P with respect to the cross-section shear centre S.

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origin located at the cross-section centroid G and where Y and Z are principal axes7
and, for a given wall (plate) element, the corresponding (ii) local coordinate system
(x, s, z) and displacement field (u, v, w). Furthermore, it is assumed that (i) the crosssection shear centre S is the cross-section pole and that (ii) the origin of coordinate
s (cross-section mid-line) is located at point O (arbitrarily chosen). Then, the crosssection kinematics may be expressed in terms of the following quantities (degrees
of freedom), all of which depend exclusively on the longitudinal coordinate x [24]:
(i) Udisplacement of point O in the longitudinal direction X.
(ii) V and Wdisplacements of point S in the Y and Z directions, respectively.
(iii) rotation about the longitudinal axis (X) passing through S.
Each cross-section mid-line point Q (see Fig. 2(a)) is associated to three geometric
quantities, namely (i) its coordinates q and r, with respect to S and measured along
the mid-line tangent (q) and the wall thickness (r) directions and (ii) the mid-line
orientation, expressed by the angle a, which is the angle formed by the mid-line
tangent and the horizontal direction (Z axis). Obviously, q, r and a only depend on
the cross-section mid-line coordinate s.
Prior to the establishment of the GBT differential adjacent equilibrium equations
(deformed configuration in the immediate vicinity of the fundamental equilibrium
path), required to perform a linear stability analysis, it is necessary to express the
displacement field components u(x, s), v(x, s) and w(x, s) in terms of the cross-section
degrees of freedom U(x), V(x), W(x) and (x), each corresponding to a GBT rigid
body deformation mode [1,13]. From the observation of Fig. 2(a) and (b), it
becomes a straightforward matter to obtain the transversal displacement components
of any given cross-section point P in terms of the above degrees of freedom, by
means of the expressions
v(x,s,z) V(x)sina(s) W(x)cosa(s) (x)(r(s)z),

w(x,s) V(x)cosa(s) W(x)sina(s)(x)q(s)

(10)

where z is the coordinate of P with respect to the corresponding mid-line point Q


(i.e., measured along the wall thicknesssee Fig. 2(b)).
Concerning the determination of the axial displacement component of an arbitrary
cross-section mid-line point Q (u(x, s)), it is necessary to adopt the simplifying
assumption of null membrane shear strains, i.e., gxs 0 [1]. Then, taking into account
that gxs u,s v,x and using (10), one is led to
u(x,s)
V(x)sina(s)W(x)cosa(s)(x)r(s)
s

(11)

7
In principle, the location of the origin and the directions of the in-plane axes of the coordinate system
may be arbitrarily chosen. In this particular case, because it is intended to obtain a diagonalised system
of equilibrium equations, it is indispensable that (i) such coordinate system originates at the centroid G
and also that (ii) Y and Z are principal axes.

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Integrating (11), with respect to s and between s 0 and s sQ, further yields
u(x,s) U(x)Y(s)V(x)Z(s)W(x)w(s)(x)

(12)

where V(x), W(x) and (x) are derivatives with respect to x and

sQ

Y(s)

sQ

sina(s)ds; Z(s)

sQ

cosa(s)ds; w(s)

r(s)ds

(13)

stand, respectively, for the differences between the values of (i) the coordinates Y,
Z and (ii) the sectorial coordinate w associated to points Q (s sQ) and O (s 0).
Moreover, it should be stressed that the terms on the right-hand side of (12) correspond to the individual contributions of each cross-section degree of freedom to the
axial displacement of point Q.
Fig. 3 shows the cross-section (rigid-body) motions associated to each degree of
freedom (classical deformation modes), as well as the corresponding axial displacement fields u k(s).
On the other hand, the representation of the displacement field components provided by GBT, for 1k4, reads [1]
u u 1f 1,x u 2f 2,x u 3f 3,x u 4f 4,x,
v v 1f 1 v 2f 2 v 3f 3 v 4f 4,
w w 1f 1 w 2f 2 w 3f 3 w 4f 4

(14)
.

A comparison between expressions (10), (12) and (14) leads to the following conclusions concerning the quantities involved in the application of GBT:

Fig. 3. Classical deformation modes and corresponding axial displacement fields u k(s): (a) extension,
(b) bending about Z, (c) bending about Y and (d) torsion.

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(i) The deformation mode amplitudes f k(s) are given by


f 1,x U; f 2 V; f 3 W; f 4

(15)

thus becoming clear that the displacement representation adopted by GBT is


consistent with the theories of Vlassov (isotropic members) and of Bauld and
Tzeng (orthotropic members). In particular, notice that the axial displacements
u are obtained from the values of U and the derivatives of the remaining
degrees of freedom (V, W and ).
(ii) The displacement field components are given by
u 1 1; u 2 Y; u 3 Z; u 4 w
v 1 0; v 2 sina; v 3 cosa; v 4 rz

(16)

w 1 0; w 2 cosa; w 3 sina; w 4 q
where it should be observed that the torsion mode is the only one associated
to cross-section in-plane flexural rotations (w 1,s w 2,s w 3,s 0 and
w 4,s 1). Moreover, it should be noticed that the secondary warping effects
are accounted for in GBT by means of the plate flexural extension (eFxx
zw,xx) contribution to the member strain energy, which is responsible for the
presence of tensorial quantities depending on z and w k (e.g., C 2ik) [1].
The incorporation of expressions (15) into (7) leads to the GBT second-order
system of differential equilibrium equations

C 11 0 0 0
0 C 22 0 0
0 0 C 33 0
0 0 0 C 44
0 0 0 0

iv

iv

iv

0 0

0 0

0 0

43
0 H
43 0
H

24
0 H

0 0
0
V
0 X 122 0

W
0 0
X 133

0 X 124 X 134

0 0 0 0

0 0 0 0
44
0 0 0 D
0 0 0

0 0 0

0
X 234

0 0 0
0 0 X 234 X 244

2U
W
2V
W

2W
W
2
W

0 0

0 0

0
24
H

0
X 124

1U
W
1V
W

X 134
X 144

1W
W
1
W

0 0
0 X 324

0 0
0 0
0 X 324 0 X 344

3U
W
3V
W

3W
W
3
W

(17)

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N. Silvestre, D. Camotim / Thin-Walled Structures 40 (2002) 791820


0 0 0 0

4U
W
4V
W

0 0 0 0
0 0 0 X 444

4W
W
4
W

0 0 0 0

where X kij X 1kijX 2kij. By further introducing (16) into the components of matrices
] and [D
] (see [1]) and (ii) [X 1] and [X 2] (see (9)), one obtains
(i) [C ], [H

11(cosa)2ds,
C 11 A 11ds, C 22 A 11Y2ds D
b

11(sina)2ds, C 44 A 11w2ds D
11q2ds,
C 33 A 11Z2ds D
b

(18)

43 2 D
24 2 D
13cosads, H
13sinads,
H
b

44 4 D
33ds,
D
b

and also the components X kij, which fully define system (17) and are given by

1
1
144
11)ds,
(A 11(r2 q2) D
X 122 X 133 A 11ds 1, X
C11
C 11

1
1
X 124 A 11Zds, X 134 A 11Yds,
C11
C11
b

1
11(cosa)2)ds 1,
X 234 (A 11Y2 D
C22
b

X 244

1
11(Y 2rcosa))ds,
(A 11Y(r2 q2) D
C22

1
11(sina)2)ds 1,
X 324 (A 11Z2 D
C33
b

1
11(Z2rsina))ds,
X 344 (A 11Z(r2 q2) D
C33
b

(19)

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803

1
11(w 2rq))ds
X 444 (A 11w(r2 q2) D
C44
b

.
Assuming the member subjected to a combination of (i) a compressive axial force
N, (ii) major and minor axis bending moments MZ and MY and (iii) a bi-moment B,
let us look now at the system of differential equilibrium equations provided by the
theory developed by Bauld and Tzeng [21], which can be written, in matrix form, as





A 0 0 0

I 0 0

0 I 0

0 0

iv

0 0
0 0

0 0 0 0

0 0 0 0

0 0 0 0

0 0 0 J

H 0

0 0

NU

0 1

ZS

N V

0 0

YS

N W

0 ZS YS r2
S

0 0 0

MZU

0 0 0

MZV

0 0 0

MZW

0 0 1 b

0 H

iv

0 0

iv

0 0 0 0

BU

0 0 0 0

B V

0 0 0 0

B W

0 0 0 bw

0 0 0 0

MYU

0 0 0 1

MYV

0 0 0 0

MYW

(20)

0 1 0 b

MZ

MY

0
0

This system can be directly (i.e., term by term) compared with system (17), yielded
by the application of GBT, thus providing the means to physically interpret its matrix
components. In fact, from such a comparison it is possible to draw the following conclusions:
(i) The GBT matrix components associated to the four deformation modes
depicted in Fig. 3 are related to the cross-section mechanical properties, namely:
(i.1) C 11 A is the axial stiffness.

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N. Silvestre, D. Camotim / Thin-Walled Structures 40 (2002) 791820

C 22 IZ is the bending stiffness about the Z axis.


C 33 IY is the bending stiffness about the Y axis.
44 J are, respectively, the (primary and secondary)
C 44 and D
warping and torsional (St. Venant) stiffness values.
43 HY are stiffness values concerning the coupling
24 HZ and H
(i.5) H
effects between major/minor axis bending and twisting (torsion).

(i.2)
(i.3)
(i.4)

(ii) The generalised internal forces associated to the four (rigid body) deformation
modes are:
1 N (mode
(ii.1) W

axial force).

2 MZ (mode
(ii.2) W

bending moment about the Z axis).

3 MY (mode
(ii.3) W

bending moment about the Y axis).

4 B (mode
(ii.4) W

bi-moment).

(iii) Matrices [X k] (see (19)) incorporate the material elastic properties and the
cross-section geometrical characteristics, two aspects that, in general, cannot
be separated, as happens for isotropic materials. In particular, it should be
mentioned that:
(iii.1) Matrix [X 1] corresponds to a uniform normal stress diagram (associated
to mode ), with non-null components X 122 X 133 1, X 144 rS2,
X 124 ZS and X 134 YS (YS and ZS are the shear centre S coordinates
and rS is the cross-section polar radius of gyration with respect to S).
(iii.2) Matrix [X 2] corresponds to a linear (in Y) normal stress diagram
(associated to mode ), with non-null components X244 bZ and
X234 1 (bZ is a parameter accounting for the lack of antisymmetry
of u2(s)8).
(iii.3) Matrix [X 3] corresponds to a linear (in Z) normal stress diagram
(associated to mode ), with non-null components X344 bY and
X324 1 (bY accounts for the lack of antisymmetry of u3(s)8).
(iii.4) Matrix [X 4] corresponds to a linear (in w) normal stress diagram
(associated to mode ), with a single non-null component X444
bw (bw accounts for the lack of antisymmetry of u4(s)).
(iv) In the expressions (19), the secondary warping effects are taken into account
11. However, in
by means of the terms involving the plate bending stiffness D
cross-sections exhibiting primary warping, such effects are (comparatively)
very small and, therefore, may be safely neglected.

8
Because they are also associated to the lack of (geometrical) symmetry of the cross-section, parameters by and bz are often designated as asymmetry parameters [23].

N. Silvestre, D. Camotim / Thin-Walled Structures 40 (2002) 791820

805

4. Member second-order analyses


The GBT system of equilibrium equations developed earlier (see (5)) is used to
perform member (geometrically non-linear) second-order analyses which account
for the behaviour associated to rigid-body and/or in-plane cross-section deformation modes. Before addressing aspects directly concerning the implementation of
such analyses, some attention should be paid to their nature, an issue that has often
been a source of ambiguity or misunderstanding (e.g., [21]). In fact, the next few
paragraphs will be devoted to a further attempt to shed some light on this matter,
i.e., they deal with the identification, characterisation and significance of the different
member second-order analyses yielded by the solution of the above system of equilibrium equations.
First, it is convenient to recall and/or notice that:
(i) Given the (limited) geometrical non-linear effects taken into account, the
second-order GBT theory developed earlier is mostly intended to perform
member linear stability analyses, which are intrinsically related to bifurcation
phenomena, thus involving the determination of (i1) bifurcation load
(parameter) values and (i2) buckling mode shapes.
(ii) The proper analysis of a bifurcation phenomenon requires knowing the corresponding fundamental (equilibrium) path, which depends on the applied load
profile and material properties and describes the member (linear or non-linear)
pre-buckling behaviour.
(iii) In order to detect the occurrence of a bifurcation point along the fundamental
path, it is necessary to investigate the nature of the member adjacent deformed
configurations, i.e., configurations located in the immediate vicinity of the
fundamental path, at the same load level, and obtained by means of small
displacement (deformation mode amplitude) increments. In particular, one
must find out whether such deformed configurations are equilibrium ones,
which requires the solution of an eigenvalue problem.
(iv) A bifurcation point is associated to a bifurcation load (parameter value) and
a bifurcated equilibrium path, initially displaying deformed configurations in
the associated buckling mode shape. The lowest bifurcation load and corresponding buckling mode shape, often designated as critical, are of particular importance.
(v) The deformation modes participating in a fundamental path deformed configuration are never present in the member buckling mode shapes, i.e., a bifurcation point is always associated to a sudden and complete deformation
mode change.
(vi) This work deals only with critical bifurcations from linear pre-buckling equilibrium paths, a feature which is displayed by quite a large number of member
bifurcation phenomena with practical interest. However, one should mention
that, in some problems, the accurate evaluation of bifurcation load values
requires the consideration of non-linear pre-buckling effects (bifurcation from
a non-linear pre-buckling equilibrium paths).

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N. Silvestre, D. Camotim / Thin-Walled Structures 40 (2002) 791820

Taking into account the previous remarks, it is now possible to address, in a


systematic way, the identification and characterisation of the member second-order
analyses obtained by means of the developed GBT theory. The following tasks must
be sequentially undertaken:
(i) Once the member applied loads and material behaviour are known, the first
step consists of determining the first-order (linear) equilibrium path generated
by those loads, designated here as primary equilibrium path, involving a number of deformation modes. Depending on the particular problem, the primary
equilibrium path may either be (i1) a pre-buckling (fundamental) path, from
which a critical bifurcated path emerges, or (i2) the linear approximation of
a non-linear equilibrium path without a critical bifurcation point. In the latter
case, one should remember that the second-order GBT, as developed up to
now, only accounts for limited geometrical non-linear effects, which means
that it does not remain valid in the presence of large displacements.
(ii) Next, it is necessary to investigate whether a critical bifurcation is possible or
not, i.e., to find out the nature of the primary equilibrium path (pre-buckling
or not). In order to perform this task, one must recall that the presence of a
particular deformation mode in the pre-buckling path automatically precludes
its participation in the critical buckling mode. This implies that the adjacent
configurations to be considered in the linear stability analysis (eigenvalue
problem) should only involve the deformation modes absent from the member
fundamental path. However, the fact that it is always possible to define and
solve eigenvalue problems involving an arbitrary number of deformation
modes (whether they appear in the pre-buckling path or not) has often been
a source of misinterpretations. Therefore, the procedure outlined next has the
twofold purpose of (ii1) clarifying this issue and (ii2) providing a systematic
way to unveil the character of the primary equilibrium path:
(ii.1) To perform a linear stability analysis involving all the deformation
modes relevant for the member structural behaviour and to determine
the corresponding critical bifurcation load and associated buckling
mode shape.
(ii.2) To identify the deformation modes participating in the above buckling
mode shape and to check whether any of them also appears in the primary equilibrium path.
(ii.3) If the answer to the previous question is affirmative, the second-order
GBT analysis yields a non-linear equilibrium path tending asymptotically to the critical bifurcation load value determined in (ii.1), which
may then be viewed as a limit load (llim)9. This situation is depicted

9
Obviously, such non-linear equilibrium path can only be obtained through the (incremental-iterative)
numerical solution of the second-order GBT equations.

N. Silvestre, D. Camotim / Thin-Walled Structures 40 (2002) 791820

807

in Fig. 4(a), where it can be also observed that the primary path is just
the first-order approximation of the non-linear one.
(ii.4) If the answer to the previous question is negative, the primary equilibrium path is a pre-buckling (fundamental) path from which a bifurcation
takes place at the critical load value (lcr) and with the buckling mode
shape determined in (ii.1). This situation is illustrated in Fig. 4(b).
In order to provide a better grasp and illustrate the application of the procedure
just described, let us consider the geometrically non-linear behaviour of the isotropic
channel column depicted in Fig. 5, which is simply supported and subjected to an
eccentric compressive load P.
For the sake of simplicity, only the cross-section rigid-body deformation modes
are taken into account, namely axial extension (U), major and minor axis bending
(V and W) and torsion (). An exact (analytical) solution of the corresponding system
of second-order differential equations (20) (single half-wave sinusoidal buckling
mode) leads to the eigenvalue problem defined by

p2EIZ
P 0
L2

P(ZSeZ)

p2EIY
P PeY
L2

P(ZSeZ) PeY

Fig. 4.

Fig. 5.

p2E
GJP(r2SbYeZ)
L2

a
0
V

aW 0


a
0

Linear stability results: (a) limit loads; (b) critical bifurcation loads.

Eccentrically compressed simply supported isotropic channel column.

, (21)

808

N. Silvestre, D. Camotim / Thin-Walled Structures 40 (2002) 791820

where (i) eY (eZ) is the load eccentricity, with respect to the centroid G and measured
along the Y (Z) axis (Y and Z are the centroidal principal axes), (ii) IY (IZ) is the
minor (major) moment of inertia, (iii) and J are the warping and St. Venants
constants, (iv) ZS is the coordinate of the shear centre S, (v) rS is the polar radius
of gyration with respect to S and (vi) bY is the cross-section asymmetry parameter
related to minor axis bending. Four different load cases are dealt with and, for each
of them, one (i) determines the primary (equilibrium) path deformation mode participation and (ii) performs a linear stability analysis involving all the (four) deformation
modes taken into account. Next, the load cases considered are identified and the
corresponding results are presented and discussed:
(I) Concentrically loaded column (eY eZ 0). The primary path is associated
only to axial extension (U) and, depending on the column length, the critical
buckling mode may involve either minor axis bending (W), for the longer
columns, or major axis bending and torsion (V ), for the shorter columns.
Regardless of the column length, the primary path is always a pre-buckling
one. However, the critical buckling mode shape depends on which of the two
bifurcation load values (PIcr.W and PIcr.V ) is smaller.
(II) Z-eccentrically loaded column (eZ 0, eY 0). The primary path is associated
to axial extension and minor axis bending (U W). If the critical buckling
mode involves minor axis bending (W), the primary path is a non-linear one
and tends to Plim PIcr.W. If the critical buckling mode involves major axis
bending and torsion (V ), the primary path is a pre-buckling one and bifurcation occurs for PIIcr.V ( PIcr.V ).
(III) Y-eccentrically loaded column (eY 0, eZ 0). Since the primary path is
associated to axial extension, major axis bending and torsion (U V )
and the critical buckling mode involves major and minor axis bending and
torsion (V W ), no bifurcation occurs and one has Plim PIII
cr.V W
I
III
I
(notice that PIII
cr.V W Pcr.W and Pcr.V W Pcr.V ).
(IV) Z+Y-eccentrically loaded column (eZ 0, eY 0). The primary path is now
associated to all four deformation modes (U V W ), which means
that it is a non-linear equilibrium path tending to Plim
III
PIV
cr.V W ( Pcr.V W ).
It is still worth pointing out that a correct interpretation of the results provided
by a member linear stability analysis is even more important in the presence of either
local deformation modes and/or a more complex (orthotropic) material behaviour
(e.g., laminated plate members). For instance, members made of asymmetric laminated plates exhibit no bifurcations, even when subjected to uniform concentric compression. This fact, which is due to the occurrence of stretchingtwisting and bendingtwisting coupling effects [25,26], implies that the primary paths are always nonlinear equilibrium paths tending to limit load values obtained by means of linear
stability analyses.

N. Silvestre, D. Camotim / Thin-Walled Structures 40 (2002) 791820

809

4.1. Linear stability analysis


As mentioned earlier, the second-order GBT developed is used to perform member
linear stability analyses, i.e., to characterise the bifurcations occurring along (linear)
pre-buckling fundamental equilibrium paths. All types of deformation modes (global,
distortional and local-plate modes) are taken into account and a linear stability analysis comprises three distinct steps, namely:
(i) Evaluating all the matrices appearing in the GBT equilibrium equations (5)
and boundary conditions (6). This requires a quite lengthy sequence of procedures, the main steps of which were described in [1], in the context of the
first-order GBT.
(ii) Solving the eigenvalue problem defined by (5), subjected to the boundary conditions (6), in order to determine the eigenvalues li and the associated eigenfunction vectors {f k(x)}i, the components of which provide the longitudinal
variation of the deformation mode amplitudes. Depending on the primary path
nature, the smallest eigenvalue obtained (l1) stands for (ii1) a critical bifur k (bifurcation analysis) or (ii2) a limit load llimW
k (approximate
cation load lcrW
non-linear analysis). Then, the corresponding eigenvector {f k(x)}1 provides
the member (ii1) critical buckling mode shape {f k(x)}cr (bifurcation analysis)
or (ii2) limit deformed configuration {f k(x)}lim (approximate non-linear
analysis).
(iii) Evaluating the member buckling response, i.e., the buckling mode configurations and corresponding stress distributions. This step involves combining the
expressions previously obtained for u k(s), v k(s) and w k(s) (see [1]) with the
appropriate eigenfunction vector coefficients.
Finally, it should be noticed that, with a few exceptions (e.g., simply supported
members under uniform compression and not displaying material couplings effects),
step (ii) invariably requires resorting to approximate numerical methods, which
always involve discretisation procedures (e.g., finite differences, finite elements, etc.).
Then, the system of differential equilibrium equations is transformed into a system
of algebraic equations, meaning that each eigenvalue becomes associated with an
eigenvector vector (instead of an eigenfunction vector). Therefore, the eigenfunction
vector mentioned in step (iii) is replaced by a linear combination of the shape
functions adopted to implement the discretisation procedure, the coefficients of
which are the eigenvector components.

5. Illustrative examples
In order to provide a better grasp of the concepts and procedures just presented,
the GBT is employed to investigate the buckling behaviour of thin-walled channel
members, namely columns (concentrically compressed members) and beams
(members under uniform major axis bending). The column and beam material proper-

810

N. Silvestre, D. Camotim / Thin-Walled Structures 40 (2002) 791820

ties and cross-section mid-line dimensions are identical and were described in the
companion paper [1]. However, different plate thickness values are dealt with,
namely (i) t 0.3 cm (three 0.1 cm layers), for the columns (as in [1]), and (ii)
t 0.6 cm (three 0.2 cm layers), for the beams. Notice that, by choosing this new
(larger) thickness value, it becomes possible to illustrate the critical distortional buckling behaviour, a phenomenon which does not occur for the column cross-section
10 P (axial
geometry. As for the applied stress resultants, they read W
20 MZ (major axis bending), for the beams.
compression), for the columns, and W
The associated column and beam bifurcation/limit loads (recall Section 4) are given,
1.lim llimP Plim and by (ii) W
2.cr
1.cr lcrP or W
respectively, by (i) W
2.lim llimMZ MZ.lim (l is the stress or load parameter).
lcrMZ MZ.cr or W
5.1. Columns (concentrically compressed members)
The column first-order mechanical properties may be found in [1] (Tables 24)
and the non-linear (stiffness) matrices [X 1] are displayed in Tables 1 to 3. Such
matrices correspond to the different plate mechanical behaviours dealt with here,
namely (i) isotropy (Table 1), (ii) (symmetric) cross-ply orthotropy (Table 2) and
(iii) asymmetric orthotropy (Table 3)10.
Since the deformation modes display either symmetric or antisymmetric configurations (see Fig. 14 of [1]), the column non-linear matrices [X 1ij] have null offdiagonal even-to-odd-number components (see Tables 1 and 2), which means that,
in isotropic or cross-ply orthotropic columns, no coupling is liable to occur between
ik] and [F ik] are null).
symmetric and antisymmetric modes (recall that matrices [H
On the other hand, in asymmetric orthotropic columns, the off-diagonal even-to ik] and [F ik] are non-null (see Table 4 in
odd-number components of matrices [H
[1]), thus indicating that coupling may occur between all the modes. However, it
should be noticed that, in spite of the distinct mechanical behaviours, the three columns exhibit relatively similar non-linear (stiffness) matrices, which stems from the
kl
fact that their components are normalised by the mechanical quantities C kk and H
(see (9)).
By (i) incorporating the values displayed in Tables 1 to 3 in the GBT system of
equations (5) and (ii) discretising the member (f k(x) are approximated by third-order
Hermitian polynomials), one is led to a system of algebraic equations defining an
eigenvalue problem. The smallest root of the corresponding characteristic equation
provides the value of the column (i) critical bifurcation load Pcr (isotropy and symmetric cross-ply orthotropy) or (ii) limit load Plim (asymmetric orthotropy). Fig. 6(a)
depicts the variation with the length L of either Pcr (isotropic and cross-ply orthotropic columnssolid and dotted curves, respectively) or Plim (asymmetric orthotropic
columnsdashed curve). As for Figs. 6(b1), (b2) and (b3), they show the degree of

10
The buckling behaviour of specially orthotropic columns and beams was investigated, using GBT,
in [27,28].

mode k

0
0
0
0
0
0
0
0
0
0

0
0
0
1
0
9.868
0
1
0
9.868
0
157.6
0
0.0834
0
0.1195 0
1.232
0
0.1795
0
0.1287
0
1.727
0
0.1469
0
0.0965 0
0.0221

Table 1
Non-linear (stiffness) matrix componentsisotropic behaviour

0
0
0.0834
0
0.0475
0
0.0367
0
0.0036
0

0
0.1195
0
1.232
0
0.0586
0
0.0003
0
0.0371

X 1
0
0
0.1795
0
0.0367
0
0.2094
0
0
0

0
0.1287
0
1.727
0
0.0003
0
0.1066
0
0

0
0
0.1469
0
0.0036
0
0
0
0.0992
0

0
0.0965
0
0.0221
0
0.0371
0
0
0
0.1512

N. Silvestre, D. Camotim / Thin-Walled Structures 40 (2002) 791820


811

mode k

0
0
0
0
0
0
0
0
0
0

0
1
0
9.867
0
0.1197
0
0.1297
0
0.0975

0
0
0
9.867
1
0
0
157.6
0.0844
0
0
1.2317
0.1795 0
0
1.727
0.1470
0
0
0.0221

0
0
0.0844
0
0.0476
0
0.0367
0
0.0036
0

Table 2
Non-linear (stiffness) matrix componentssymmetric cross-ply orthotropic behaviour

0
0.1197
0
1.2317
0
0.0589
0
0.0009
0
0.0371

X 1
0
0
0.1795
0
0.0367
0
0.2095
0
0
0

0
0.1297
0
1.727
0
0.0009
0
0.1067
0
0

0
0
0.1470
0
0.0036
0
0
0
0.0992
0

0
0.0975
0
0.0221
0
0.0371
0
0
0
0.1513

812
N. Silvestre, D. Camotim / Thin-Walled Structures 40 (2002) 791820

mode k

0
0
0
0
0
0
0
0
0
0

0
1
0
9.834
0
0.1185
0
0.1268
0
0.0720

0
0
1
0
0.0818
0
0.1771
0
0.1457
0

0
9.834
0
156.9
0
1.222
0
1.673
0
0.2943

0
0
0.0818
0
0.0467
0
0.0351
0
0.0042
0

Table 3
Non-linear (stiffness) matrix componentsasymmetric orthotropic behaviour

0
0.1185
0
1.222
0
0.0576
0
0.0007
0
0.0344

X 1
0
0
0.1771
0
0.0351
0
0.2082
0
0.0009
0

0
0.1268
0
1.673
0
0.0007
0
0.1084
0
0.0082

0
0
0.1457
0
0.0042
0
0.0009
0
0.0990
0

0
0.0720
0
0.2943
0
0.0344
0
0.0082
0
0.1417

N. Silvestre, D. Camotim / Thin-Walled Structures 40 (2002) 791820


813

814

N. Silvestre, D. Camotim / Thin-Walled Structures 40 (2002) 791820

Fig. 6. (a) Variation Pcr or Plim with L, (b) buckling mode participation: (b1) isotropy; (b2) cross-ply
orthotropy; (b3) asymmetric orthotropy and (c) buckling mode configuration: (c1) isotropy and cross-ply
orthotropy; (c2) asymmetric orthotropy.

participation11 of each individual deformation mode (see Fig. 14 in [1]) in the


column critical buckling mode, for each case. Finally, the buckling mode configurations are represented in Figs. 6(c1) (isotropic and cross-ply orthotropic columns)
and 6(c2) (asymmetric orthotropic columns).
From the observation of Figs. 6(a), (b1), (b2) and (c1), one concludes that the
buckling behaviours of isotropic and cross-ply orthotropic columns are qualitatively
similar. Notice, in particular, that:
11
The exact degree of participation of each mode k in the cross-section deformed configuration is
determined on the basis of f k and, obviously, varies along the longitudinal coordinate x. The results
reported in this work concern average degree of participation values, i.e., are determined on the basis of

the quantities |fk(x)|dx.


0

N. Silvestre, D. Camotim / Thin-Walled Structures 40 (2002) 791820

815

(i) For L 220 cm (isotropy) or L 300 cm (cross-ply orthotropy), buckling


takes place in a local-plate mode (LPM + ) with 116 half-waves
(isotropy) or 114 half-waves (cross-ply orthotropy). The minimum critical
LP
load values are PLP
cr 96.4 kN (isotropy) and Pcr 31.6 kN (cross-ply
orthotropy).
(ii) For 220 cm L 430 cm (isotropy) or 300 cm L 600 cm (cross-ply
orthotropy), the column buckles in a mixed (local+global) buckling mode,
designated as flexuraldistortional (FDM + + ).
(iii) For L 430 cm (isotropy) or L 600 cm (cross-ply orthotropy), buckling
takes place in a flexuraltorsional mode (FTM + ).
and
participate in either the FDM or the FTM,
(iv) Since the global modes
the value of Pcr continuously decreases for L 220 cm (isotropy) or L
300 cm (cross-ply orthotropy).
The buckling behaviour of asymmetric orthotropic columns differs from the previous ones, which is due to the simultaneous participation of some deformation
modes (e.g., axial extension) in the column primary path and buckling mode
deformed configurations, originated by membraneflexural coupling effects. Following the comments presented in Section 4, bifurcation does not take place and the
primary equilibrium path is a non-linear one, which tends to the limit load value
Plim yielded by the member linear stability analysis. Furthermore, by looking at Figs.
6(a), (b3) and (c2), one observes that:
(i) For L 250 cm, the column deformed configuration has a local plate mode
shape (LPM + + a bit of + + + ) with 117 half-waves and the
(minimum) primary path limit load value is PLP
lim 40.2 kN.
(ii) For L 250 cm, the column deforms in a flexuraldistortional mode shape:
(ii1) FDM1 ( + + + + a bit of ), if L 550 cm, or (ii2) FDM2
( + + + a bit of ), if L 550 cm (see Fig. 6(c2)).
(iii) A flexuraltorsional deformed configuration only occurs for longer columns
(L 1000 cm).
5.2. Beams (members under uniform major axis bending)
Next, let us apply GBT to perform linear stability analyses of beams, i.e., members
subjected to uniform major axis bending. After (i) determining again the cross-section first-order mechanical properties (recall that one has now t 0.6 cm), (ii)
incorporating them into the beam non-linear (stiffness) matrices [X 2], appearing in
the GBT system of equations (5), and (iii) discretising the member by means of
finite elements, one is led to a system of algebraic equations defining the eigenvalue
problem that must be solved. The smallest root of the corresponding characteristic
equation provides the value of the (i) critical bifurcation moment MZ.cr (isotropic
and symmetric cross-ply orthotropic beams) or (ii) limit moment MZ.lim (asymmetric
orthotropic beams).
Fig. 7(a) depicts the variation with the length L of either MZ.cr (isotropic and cross-

816

N. Silvestre, D. Camotim / Thin-Walled Structures 40 (2002) 791820

Fig. 7. (a) Variation MZ.cr or MZ.lim with L, (b) buckling mode participation: (b1) isotropy; (b2) crossply orthotropy; (b3) asymmetric orthotropy and (c) buckling mode configuration: (c1) isotropy and crossply orthotropy; (c2) asymmetric orthotropy.

ply orthotropic beamssolid and dotted curves, respectively) or MZ.lim (asymmetric


orthotropic beamsdashed curve). As for Figs. 7(b1), (b2) and (b3), they correspond
to the degree of participation of each individual deformation mode (see Fig. 14
in [1]) in the beam critical buckling mode, for each case. At last, the buckling mode
configurations are represented in Figs. 7(c1) (isotropic and cross-ply orthotropic
beams) and 7(c2) (asymmetric orthotropic beams).
By looking at Figs. 7(a), (b1), (b2) and (c1), it is possible to conclude that the
isotropic and cross-ply orthotropic buckling behaviours are once again qualitatively
similar. In particular, one observes that:
(i) For L 40 cm (isotropy) or L 60 cm (cross-ply orthotropy), buckling takes
place in a local plate mode (LPM + + + ) with 13 half-waves (both
isotropy and cross-ply orthotropy). As for the minimum critical moment

N. Silvestre, D. Camotim / Thin-Walled Structures 40 (2002) 791820

(ii)

(iii)

(iv)

(v)

817

LP
values, they read MLP
Z.cr 9720 kNcm (isotropy) and MZ.cr 3075 kN cm
(cross-ply orthotropy).
For 40 cm L 150 cm (isotropy) or 60 cm L 220 cm (cross-ply
orthotropy), the column buckles in a distortional buckling mode (DM + )
with 12 half-waves (isotropy and cross-ply orthotropy). The minimum critical
moment values read now MDZ.cr 5503 kNcm (isotropy) and MDZ.cr
1954 kNcm (cross-ply orthotropy).
For 150 cm L 450 cm (isotropy) or 220 cm L 700 cm (cross-ply
orthotropy), buckling takes place in a flexuraldistortional mode
(FDM + + ).
For L 450 cm (isotropy) or L 700 cm (cross-ply orthotropy), buckling
takes place in a flexuraltorsional mode (FTM + ), commonly designated
as lateral buckling [23].
and
participate in either the FDM or the FTM,
Since the global modes
the value of MZ.cr continuously decreases for L 150 cm (isotropy) or L
220 cm (cross-ply orthotropy).

As in columns, the buckling behaviour of asymmetric orthotropic beams differs


from the isotropic and cross-ply orthotropic ones, once again due to the participation
of deformation modes (e.g., major axis bending) in both the primary path and
buckling mode deformed configurations, due to membraneflexural coupling
effects. This means that no bifurcation occurs and that the primary equilibrium path
is non-linear and tends to MZ,lim, the value which is obtained from the beam linear
stability analysis. In addition, the observation of Figs. 7(a), (b3) and (c2) shows that:
(i) For L 50 cm, the beam deformed configuration has a local-plate mode shape
(LPM + + + + a bit of + ) with 13 half-waves and the (minimum)
primary path limit moment value is MLP
Z.lim 3992 kNcm.
(ii) For 50 cm L 180 cm, the beam deforms in a distortional mode shape
(DM + + a bit of + + ) with 12 half-waves and the (minimum)
primary path limit moment value is MDZ.lim 2578 kNcm.
(iii) For 180 cm L 550 cm, the beam deforms in a flexuraldistortional
mode shape (FDM + + + a bit of + ).
(iv) For L 550 cm, the beam deforms in a flexuraltorsional mode shape
(FTM + + a bit of ).
and
participate in both the FDM and the
(v) Since the global modes ,
FT
and
M
continuously
decrease for 180 cm
FTM, the values of MFD
Z.lim
Z.lim
L 550 cm and L 550 cm, respectively.
6. Conclusion
Following the first-order Generalised Beam Theory (GBT) presented previously
[1], a second-order GBT was formulated in this paper, which makes it possible to
analyse the buckling (linear stability) behaviour of composite thin-walled members

818

N. Silvestre, D. Camotim / Thin-Walled Structures 40 (2002) 791820

made of laminated plates and displaying arbitrary orthotropy. The second-order GBT
(adjacent) equilibrium equations and corresponding boundary conditions were first
derived, by employing the principle of virtual work and accounting for the appropriate geometrically non-linear effects. Moreover, a physical interpretation was provided
for the second-order terms, i.e., the terms related to the interaction between the
applied stresses and the deformations characterising the bifurcated path. Next, the
second-order GBT equations developed were compared with the Vlassov-type ones
obtained by Bauld and Tzeng [21]. Although involving only rigid-body modes,
such a comparison revealed a quite perfect agreement between the two sets of equilibrium equations. A few remarks regarding the cross-section mechanical properties
were also included. On the basis of the formulated second-order orthotropic GBT,
the following distinctive traits were identified:
(i) Matrix [X kij], which describes the cross-section non-linear behaviour, combines both material properties and geometrical characteristics, a feature stemming directly from the orthotropy due to the laminated plate layer nature and/or
configuration. Recall that, in the isotropic GBT, the material quantities do not
appear in [X kij], which provides the justification for the commonly used designation geometric matrix.
(ii) In orthotropic members, the second-order equilibrium equations are generally
highly coupled, as there are four different coupling sources, namely the ones
ik], [F ik] and [X kij]. Recall that, in the case of
ik], [H
associated to matrices [D
isotropic members, [X kij] is the only matrix responsible for the occurrence of
coupling effects.
Then, a few paragraphs were devoted to clarifying a few aspects related to the
identification and characterisation of the different types of member second-order
analyses that can be performed by means of the developed GBT equations. In particular, a systematic methodology was proposed to investigate whether the results
yielded by linear stability analyses constitute genuine bifurcation loads or simply
limit load values. In addition, a brief description of the main steps involved in
performing a GBT linear stability analysis was presented.
Finally, in order to illustrate the application and potential of the formulated secondorder GBT, the buckling (linear stability) behaviour of thin-walled composite members was determined, taking into account both local and global deformation modes.
In particular, linear stability analyses were performed on lipped channel columns
and beams displaying three different material behaviours (laminated plate layer
configurations), namely isotropy, cross-ply orthotropy and asymmetric orthotropy.
The results obtained led to (i) the identification and characterisation of the relevant
buckling modes and to (ii) the evaluation of the corresponding bifurcation or limit
load values. In particular, it was shown that:
(i) Critical bifurcations take place for all the isotropic or cross-ply orthotropic
columns and beams considered in this work. However, asymmetric orthotropic
display no bifurcation, as their primary paths are always non-linear. They tend,

N. Silvestre, D. Camotim / Thin-Walled Structures 40 (2002) 791820

819

asymptotically, to a limit load (moment) value, which is determined by means


of a member linear stability analysis.
(ii) A mixed flexuraldistortional buckling mode may be critical in either isotropic
or (cross-ply or asymmetric) orthotropic members. However, it plays a much
more relevant role in the latter case.

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