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technical note: columns

Serviceability design of
columns
self weight deflection exceeds 1/1000th
Dr John Eyre and Prof. James Croll at the Department of Civil and the length. It seems that similar limits
Environmental Engineering, University College London question the were removed from the Australian code
well before their recent removal from the
wisdom of removing the slenderness limits from the codes of practice British codes. As Professor Trahair
in column design and ask whether serviceability limits should actually observes2 these limits are unnecessary
for the purpose of strength design since
be extended and improved the codified design rules based as they
are on the quite rational predictions of
the well trusted Ayrton–Perry–
Robertson formula, ‘cater quite

S
lenderness limits for the design of came to setting any restrictions on possi- adequately for the reduced strengths of
columns have recently been ble levels of non-sway deformation are at even very slender struts.’ But surpris-
removed from many codes of prac- clause 4.7.3 that set limits on slender- ingly, Professor Trahair also suggests
tice. The following asks whether it has ness ratios at 180 ‘for members resisting that even though ‘there may be a need
been entirely wise to remove these loads other than wind load’, at 250 for for a slenderness limit in the serviceabil-
requirements which had as their implicit ‘members resisting self weight and wind ity design of struts … precise serviceabil-
objective the limitation of lateral defor- loads only’, and at 350 ‘for any member ity rules are difficult to formulate’ so that
mations. Indeed, it is suggested that far normally acting as a tie but subject to the ‘code writers of the (Australian) codes
from removing slenderness limits code the reversal of stress from the action of … preferr(ed) instead to allow designers
drafters might have been better advised wind’. However, these restrictions on to use other sources such as their own
to actually extend and improve the impo- slenderness ratio were, if at all, very experience.’ Given the seeming impor-
sition of serviceability limits within implicit attempts to restrict the bowing tance of serviceability requirements and
codes of practice. In the following, simple deflections. Even the requirement that the likely limits to the experience of
generalised expressions which ensure ‘members whose slenderness exceeds 180 many designers we wonder if such a
that deformations are limited to accept- should be checked for self weight deflec- practice is entirely wise.
able levels are derived for columns tion’ and if this ‘exceeds length/1000 the It appears to us that the need to
constructed from any material, with or effect of bending should be taken into provide clear guidance to designers on
without lateral loading. Rewriting these account in design’, is more to do with the importance of serviceability limit
generalised expressions in a form limiting the initial loading imperfection states, and associated codified rules to
compatible with current steel design than it is an attempt to restrict any non- assist them impose such constraints, are
codes, it is shown that over significant linear bowing that might occur during Fig 1. Typical as great in the design of columns as they
ranges of moderate to high slenderness the axial loading of the column. non-linear, are for beams. Possibly even more so, in
ratio, serviceability limits may provide It was surprising to learn from the imperfect, elastic that increasingly slender columns, made
the critical design condition. These limits interesting exchanges within Verulam2 paths reaching from often high strength materials are
on deformations if routinely incorporated that for the design of columns even these either a first being used in for example atria and
into the design process would help to restrictions on slenderness limits have yield, strength, curtain wall support structures, often
ensure that damage to non-structural been removed from the redrafted BS limits at points ‘a’ supporting vast areas of deformation
components does not occur, and that 59503. So too has the requirement at or a deformation, sensitive glass cladding. Excessive defor-
unacceptable visual distortions are clause 4.7.3 of BS 59501 to check the serviceability, mations of columns in these circum-
avoided. effects of bending for members whose limits at points stances not only run the risk of
slenderness limits exceed 180 and whose ‘b’ non-structural damage, including glass
Background fracture, but, of course, could result in
In contrast with the design of beams visible and psychologically disturbing
serviceability requirements that seek to deformations for the occupants. Although
limit the maximum levels of lateral it is not an issue we had previously spent
deformation occurring in columns are a great deal of time considering, it
rather poorly covered in most codes of seemed on reflection that the previous
practice. BS 59501 for example, at clause crude slenderness limit was perhaps a
2.5.1 refers to Table 5 that requires ‘hori- rather inadequate instrument for
zontal deflection of columns other than meeting this need. For this reason we
portal frames due to unfactored imposed were motivated to rediscover what might
and wind loads’ to be restricted to the have been the thinking behind the previ-
‘height/300’ for the ‘tops of columns in ous slenderness limits and to explore
single storied buildings’ and ‘in each whether it might not be possible to
storey of a building with more than one provide even more comprehensive, but
storey’. This is generally regarded as a suitably simple, rules that could be
restriction on the level of sway, or rela- added to rather than removed from our
tive deformation between the top and present codes. The following are the
bottom of a column. It makes no refer- results of these deliberations which we
ence to the levels of bowing, or relative thought might be worthy of sharing with
deformation between the centre of the a rather wider audience.
column and its ends, associated with the
development of non-sway buckling The Ayrton-Perry strength formula
modes. The nearest that the British code Because it forms the basis of most

28|The Structural Engineer – 6 February 2007


technical note: columns

ably higher than the out-of-straightness subject to any form of loading and
of L/1000 achieved by most suppliers. For supported with most practical forms of
the strength design of universal steel end constraint. For this reason eqn (2), or
columns, in for example BS 59503, the a close relative, forms the basis of the
equivalent initial imperfection is taken great majority of codes of practice
to be closer to L/330. It requires these dealing with column buckling.
levels of total equivalent imperfection for
the strength design formula to reproduce Serviceability limit state:
the experimental buckling loads that Clearly the non-linear elastic responses
form the basis of BS 59503. governed by eqn (1) and shown in Fig 1
For various levels of initial imperfec- could reach levels of deformation prior to
tion, Fig 1 shows the nature of the non- the point ‘a’ that may be unacceptably
linear paths described by eqn (1). With high. This could either be a limit on the
the maximum moment able to be total deformation w, which in analogy
expressed as P.w the value of the with beams might be sufficient to be
normalised load p = P/ Py, which detectable to the naked eye when reach-
modern codes of practice for column Fig 2. Design ensures that the maximum stress is ing normalised levels of the order of, say,
design, it will be useful to rehearse what curves for limited to the yield stress, is found from w/L = 1/200. Alternatively, the limits
are the assumptions underlying the strength and the solution of the quadratic expression may be the changes in deformation (w –
Ayrton–Perry–Robertson formula. Our serviceability w0) about the initial imperfection w0,
summary will be just enough to provide design for _ p e - p i : _1 - p i = h : p : p e ...(2) which if exceeding say (w – w0) / L =
the equations needed for our later deri- columns, 1/350 could cause non-structural damage
vation of expressions for imposing serv- expressed in in which normalised elastic critical to sensitive building finishes or cladding.
iceability limits. Consider a simply terms of the load pe = Pe/Py, is also introduced, the Whatever is the most sensitive criterion
supported column of length L under the generalised imperfection parameter, sometimes suppose that the limiting deformation is
action of an axial load P, shown inset in imperfection, η, referred to as the ‘Perry’ factor, is defined wmax. A rearrangement of eqn (1) predicts
Fig 1. For the idealised straight column, and the ratio of as η = w0A/Z, where A is the area and Z that the loads at which this upper limit
sometimes perhaps confusingly referred elastic critical to the elastic modulus for the column to deformations will occur is given by
to as a perfect column, the geometric squash load, pe = section, and the ‘squash load’ is defined
w0 /L
stability will be lost at the elastic critical Pe/Py as Py = σy.A, where σy is the yield stress p = pe d1 - n = pe _1 - R i ...(3)
w max /L
(or Euler) load, here denoted Pe, through or more generally the failure stress for
which a secondary post-buckling path the column material. Although expressed in which R = (w0/L)/(wmax/L) = (w0/
passes. For practical levels of deforma- in a somewhat different form, eqn (2) is wmax) represents the ratio of the chosen
tion, the post buckling path can be effectively the equation derived by maximum permitted imperfection to the
regarded as allowing increasing levels of Ayrton and Perry4 to represent a lower maximum tolerable buckling deforma-
lateral deformation into the critical mode bound to the strength limitation of an tion. The initial imperfection w0 would be
at levels of load P that remain essen- imperfect column*. The solution for the the combined effects of the initial out-of
tially constant and equal to the critical load Pfy at which first material yield straightness together with subsequent
load, Pe. On the basis of this simplified occurs, as obtained from eqn (2), repre- distortions caused by fabrication. It
model a column that in the unloaded, as- sents a reliable lower bound estimate of would also include the effects of axial
built, state has an ‘equivalent initial the maximum load, or buckling strength, misalignment and eccentricity in the
imperfection’ of amplitude w0 having the Pb, as suggested by the points ‘a’ in Fig 1. application of the axial load, as well as
same form as the critical buckling mode, Provided the equivalent imperfection w0 any linear deformations caused by initial
that itself has an amplitude of w, will is interpreted as representing a gener- flexural loading, as in for example a
exhibit a non-linear response described alised imperfection, not just a geometric beam column. These serviceability limit
by the equation. out-of-straightness, and the squash load states are shown as points ‘b’ in Fig 1 for
Py is extended to cover the additional the case of wmax/L = 1/200. Depending
Pe
w= : w0 ...(1) effects of any initial bending moments, upon the particular circumstance, it is
_ Pe - P i eqn (2) can be extended to represent the evident that the loads at the serviceabil-
The elastic critical load for the column behaviour of columns made from virtu- ity limit states, points ‘b’ in Fig 1, could
Pe =cEI/L2 where EI is the bending stiff- ally every form of structural material, be above or below the strength limit
ness and c a constant that will depend states, points ‘a’. The following design
*Ayrton had been instructed in mechanics at
upon the boundary conditions for the the University of London by Eaton methodology would allow both these
column; for the simply supported bound- Hodgkinson from whose experiments early potentially critical limit states to be
design rules had been developed for struts
ary c = π2. The equivalent initial imper- whose strengths were dominated by checked. Just as for the strength limits
fection is here, as it is in most codes of material failure. These rules took little from eqn (2) the serviceability limits
account of the work of ‘Mr Euler’ dealing
practice3, meant to include all the contri- with the loss of geometric stability. It was in predicted from eqn (3) would be relevant
butions likely to be present in the as- the process of trying to provide for their to columns constructed from any
built column. It will include the element students a more rational basis for the common structural material and loaded
prediction of the strength of struts, that
of geometric, out-of-straightness, distor- Ayrton and Perry derived the formula and supported in virtually any conceiv-
tion of the column section as delivered by (published in the above reference) which able manner.
remains the basis for most codes of practice
the material supplier. But it will also dealing with the design of columns. The
include any subsequent distortions asso- paper is a classic that is worthy of reading. A design method
They recognised the importance of
ciated with cutting, fitting and possibly imperfections and introduced the notion of a Fig 2 summarises typical design
welding the component into the building generalised imperfection covering what envelopes provided by the strength
frame. Add to this an allowance for the today would be referred to as loading and limits of eqn (2) shown by the heavy
geometric imperfections. They described the
unavoidable misalignment and eccentric- non-linear elastic response of an imperfect broken lines and the serviceability limits
ity of the load transfer into the column, column and provided the expression for the of eqn (3) by the heavy continuous lines.
loads at which first material failure would
and total equivalent imperfection can be occur. They even outlined a graphical To allow meaningful comparisons of the
considerably greater than say the L/1000 method for determining the magnitude of two design criteria the strength curves
the generalised imperfection and the elastic
usually guaranteed by steel suppliers. As critical load from experimental results from eqn (2) have been reduced by divid-
will be further discussed in a later which some 50 years later was to be picked- ing by the load factor taken for the
section, the total equivalent imperfection up by Richard Southwell and henceforth purposes of illustration to be γ =1.4. By
become known as the ‘Southwell Plot’.
that underpins most codes is consider- including into the definition of η the

6 February 2007 – The Structural Engineer|29


technical note: columns

Fig 3. Design ter pe is unpacked and rewritten as


curves for 2
Pe
strength and pe = = c : d vEy n : d r n ...(5)
Py L
serviceability
design for steel In this form there are two independ-
columns, ent parameters involved: material stiff-
expressed in ness to strength (E/σy), and the
terms of the slenderness ratio (L/r). It is for this
code reason that tables in BS 5950 require
parameters of separate safe load tables for each grade
slenderness of steel. The imperfection parameter η is
ration, L/r, for likewise expressed in a somewhat differ-
Robertson ent form.
parameter equal It was more than 40 years after its
to (a) α = 0.001 publication that the Ayrton–Perry4
and (b) α = column strength eqn (2) was reconsid-
0.003. Curves ered by Robertson7 who, making use of
show the the relationships Z = I/ymax and I = Ar2,
transitions from suggested that the imperfection parame-
strength to ter would be more practically expressed
serviceability and more conveniently reflect test result
occurring within if written in the form
w0 L y max
practical h = w0 y max /r 2 = d nd r nf r p
L
slenderness ...(6)
regimes = a d Lr n

In these expressions r is the radius of


gyration about the axis normal to the
plane of buckling, ymax is the distance
from the neutral axis to the extreme
compression fibre, and
y max w
a= e r od 0n ...(7)
L
is often referred to as the Robertson
constant, which involves the cross-
section parameter, ymax/r, and total equiv-
alent imperfection, w0/L. Setting
tolerance limits normalised with respect
concept of a generalised imperfection, been taken at a typical average value of to the column length has certain practi-
this approach allows a much more 1.4. In general the load factors would cal advantages but means that the Perry
rational treatment of columns subject to vary in accordance with the load combi- imperfection factor, η, becomes a function
the combined actions of axial loads and nations responsible for the axial load in of the slenderness ratio L/r. For a partic-
bending, within conditions involving the column. This being the case any codi- ular class of column cross-section the
either sway or non-sway frames5,6. fied treatment should separately specify section parameter ymax/r varies by a rela-
However, further elaboration of these the relevant strength and serviceability tively small amount. For hot rolled
advantages compared with the methods design curves. universal steel columns buckling about
usually adopted for design is beyond the their major axis the ratio ymax/r lies in
scope of the present note. Design specifications in terms of the range 1.1 to 1.2, so that setting an
For low values of pe it is possible that slenderness ratio equivalent imperfection level at w0/L =
serviceability limits will provide the criti- The above formulation has considerable 0.003 implies the imperfection parame-
cal design condition whereas for high advantages. For any column it is neces- ter would need to be chosen at around η
levels of pe it will be limits in strength sary to define only the imperfection = 0.0035(L/r); that is α = 0.0035.
that generally govern. Based upon the parameter, η, and the ratio of the elastic Coincidentally, Tables 23 and 24 of BS
limits to working loads shown for to squash load pe to be able to define the 59503 require that universal column
example in Fig 2, a transition between strength limit. This remains true for sections buckling about their major axis
the two criteria will occur when the columns with arbitrary boundary condi- should be designed according to curve
factored strength solution for p, from eqn tions, those being subject to combined †
Implicit in the sense that the Robertson
(2), is the same as the unfactored service- bending and axial compression where constant α is in codes of practice used to
ability solution for p, from eqn (3); it is a loading imperfections also play a major cover the effects of residual stress as well as
the geometric out-of-straightness and the
straightforward matter to show that this role, those of any cross-sectional configu- cross-section geometric properties contained
transition occurs when ration, and those constructed from any in eqn (7). It is interesting to note that the
actual geometric tolerance limits used to
9 1 - c _1 - R i C grade of steel or indeed other common
derive the appropriate curves in Table 24 of
p = ...(4) structural material. A set of curves for BS 59503 are not stated. This means the
e c _1 - R i : 9 h + 1 - c _1 - R i C
varying η, such as those shown in Fig 2, designer and the site engineer are given no
explicit guidance as to what constitutes an
For a given level of imperfection allow a universal approach to column acceptable level of equivalent imperfection.
parameter, say η = 0.2, and a specified design. A more complete discussion of It is well recognised that residual stress
caused by rolling, cold forming or welding,
ratio of equivalent geometric tolerance to the merits and use of the formulation etc have little effect upon the squash or
maximum deformation, say R = 0.5, this based upon the ratio pe and the gener- bending strengths. But it is also widely
critical value of p̄e as illustrated in Fig 2, alised imperfection parameter, η, may be acknowledged that residual stress is likely
to have much more serious impact upon the
represents the transition from a service- found in References5,6. levels of deformation experienced. If
ability to a strength limit state design However, this is not the approach serviceability limit states are to be effective
it may be necessary to consider the separate
condition. In Fig 2 and in what follows commonly adopted in most codes of prac- but possibly interdependent effects of initial
the load factor γ for strength design has tice. Instead, the compact single parame- imperfection and residual stresses.

30|The Structural Engineer – 6 February 2007


technical note: columns

(b), for which the value of α = 0.0035. At Fig 4. spond with the parameter R = 0.25. At
least for this most common form of Slenderness this value of R, Fig 3(a) shows there
column buckling the implicit equivalent ratios, L/r, at would be no transition to serviceability
imperfection level† is the value w0/L = which a design.
0.003 shown in Fig 3(b). Maintaining the transition from The transition from strength to serv-
same levels of equivalent imperfection strength to iceability governing design will, on the
w0/L for columns of different cross- serviceability basis of the factored load from eqn (2)
sectional configuration, or for universal design would being equated with the unfactored load
columns buckling about their minor axis, occur in steel from eqn (3), occur at a slenderness ratio
the ratio of ymax/r will of course differ. It is columns for given by the solution of
for this reason that it becomes necessary variations in the 2
to present separate design curves for chosen level of A d Lr n + B d Lr n + C = 0 ...(8)
each of these cases. For example, a permissible
universal column buckling about its deformation, as where
minor axis, according to Table 23 of BS expressed by R A = [1 – γ(1−R)
59503, should be designed using curve (c) B = –αcγ(E/σy)(1–R)
(or curve (d) if it is thicker than 40mm). C = cγ(E/σy)(1–R)[1–γ(1–R)]
Curve (c) from Table 24 of BS 59503 is In this expression the Robertson
based upon a Robertson constant of α = constant α =(w0/L)(ymax/r) is required to
0.0055. Allowing for the fact that for hot (c) on α = 0.0055, which as discussed complete the definition of the imperfec-
rolled universal steel columns buckling above are equivalent to approximately tion parameter expressed in the form η =
about their minor axis the ratio ymax/r lies w0/L = 0.003), then on the basis of a serv- α(L/r). For the case of R = 0.5, E/σy =
in the range 1.8 to 2.0, the value of α = iceability limit on the incremental defor- 600, c = π2 , and α = 0.001 or 0.003, the
0.0055 again corresponds with an equiv- mation of L/330 the approximate value of transitions can be observed in Fig 3(a)
alent imperfection level of w0/L = 0.003. R would be R = 0.5. On the basis of a and (b) to occur at respectively L/r ≈ 72
For buckling about either the weak or serviceability limit on the total deforma- and 89. This means that for slenderness
the strong axis the strength curves of BS tion of L/165 the approximate value ratios greater than these values the
5950 are based upon an implicit total would also be R = 0.5. Fig 3(b) shows strength criterion of eqn (2) should be
equivalent imperfection of nearer to that for this assumed level of initial replaced with the serviceability criterion
L/330 than to the out-of-straightness of imperfection and serviceability parame- of eqn (3). For high slenderness ratios the
L/1000 guaranteed by the steel supplier. ter R there is a transition from strength- differences could become appreciable.
It would seem to be inconsistent to adopt critical design to serviceability-critical
imperfection levels for the purposes of design at a slenderness ratio as low as A typical example of steel column
serviceability limit states that are differ- L/r = 89. Furthermore, to ensure compli- design
ent from those adopted for strength limit ance with deformation limits the levels of As a typical example of how serviceabil-
states. unfactored load for columns having ity limit states could influence practical
There is a further disadvantage in the higher slenderness ratios would need to column design, consider the case of a 203
use of the slenderness ratio L/r in place be considerably less than those that × 203 × 46UC buckling about its weak
of the elastic to plastic ratio pe. It means could be tolerated on the basis of current axis. Having A = 5880mm2, I = 1539cm4,
that separate curves or tables become strength design. Fig 3(a) shows the case ymax = 101.6mm, ry = 51.1mm, and
necessary for each grade of steel, charac- of α = 0.001 which for typical hot rolled assuming σy = 340MPa and γ = 1.4, Table
terised by differing values of E/σy. Be sections would correspond with w0/L < 24, curve (c) based upon α = 0.0055,
that as it may design curves similar to 0.001. This level of geometric imperfec- predicts for various slenderness ratios
those adopted in codes of practice for the tion is considerably lower than those the stress limits shown in Table 1. Also
elastic plastic strength design of columns adopted in most steel codes, including BS shown in Table 1 are the classical critical
are shown in Fig 3. Fig 3(a) with α = 59503. With this somewhat unrepresen- loads, Pe, the strength limits, P, and the
0.001 would represent the situation for tative case the value of R = 0.5 would unfactored strength limits, P/γ. Having
very tightly controlled total imperfection result in a transition from strength-criti- ymax/ry = 1.99 these strength limits are
tolerances while Fig 3(b) having α = cal to serviceability-critical design at the based upon an equivalent imperfection
0.003 is much more typical of the total slenderness ratio (L/r)trans = 72. level of w0/L = 0.00276 (1/362). Adopting
imperfection tolerances underpinning BS However, a value of R = 0.5 would imply the same level of imperfection as the
59503. an incremental deformation limit of just basis for the serviceability limit states,
Also shown in Fig 3 are the servicea- (wmax – w0)/L < 0.001(1/1000); this is and restricting the total deformation to
bility limit states obtained from eqn (3) much tighter than those typically L/200, the required value for R =
for various ratios R. If it is assumed as imposed. If a tolerance on total imperfec- 200/362 = 0.552. On this basis the unfac-
an average of those in BS 59503 that tion of w0/L < 0.001 could be guaranteed tored serviceability load limits show that
w0/L=0.003 (curve (b) in Table 23 of BS then a serviceability limit of say there is a transition from strength to
59503 is based upon α = 0.0035 and curve (wmax–w0)/L < 0.003(1/333) would corre- serviceability critical design at a slender-
ness ratio between 90 and 100. The final
Table 1: Example of universal steel column buckling about its weak axis two columns in Table 1 show the initial
L/r L Pe pe Pstrength Pstrength/γ∗ Pservice† w0 wmax wmax/L‡ imperfection amplitude and the level of
(mm) (kN) (MPa) (kN) (kN) (kN) (mm) (mm) total deformation reached at the load
1
70 3577 2494 211 1241 886 1117 9.9 15.4 /233 associated with the strength limit. It can
1
80 4088 1909 183 1076 769 855 11.3 18.9 /216 be seen that these start to exceed wmax/L
1
90 4599 1509 159 935 668 676 12.7 22.8 /202 = 0.005 (1/200) for slenderness ratios in
1
100 5110 1222 138 811 580 547 14.1 26.8 /191
1
excess of 90, again indicating that serv-
110 5621 1010 119 700 500 452 15.5 30.7 /183
1
iceability limit states become critical at
120 6132 849 104 612 437 380 16.9 34.8 /176
1
these higher slenderness ratios.
130 6643 723 91 535 382 324 18.4 39.0 /170
1
140 7154 623 81 476 340 279 19.8 43.6 /164
1
Discussion
150 7665 543 72 423 302 243 21.2 47.8 /160
1
It is probably worth observing that had a
160 8176 477 64 376 269 214 22.6 51.8 /158
higher grade of steel been used in our
*Unfactored strength limits

Unfactored serviceability limits examples, so that E/σy< 600 then the

Amplitudes of buckle deformation at the unfactored strength limit slenderness ratios at which serviceability

6 February 2007 – The Structural Engineer|31


technical note: columns

limits provide the critical design condi- Final remarks critical at levels of slenderness ratio
tion would be even lower than those It has been shown that the traditional considerably lower than limiting slender-
shown in Fig 3. Grade S460 steel would specification of slenderness limits were ness ratios traditionally stipulated. If
for example have E/σy = 457 and a rather crude ways of meeting serviceabil- future design is to achieve more consis-
considerably greater range of L/r for ity limits aimed at preventing excessive tent levels of limiting design loads for
which serviceability limits would be criti- lateral (bowing) deformations from occur- columns it would appear that current
cal. For material such as certain alloys of ring in columns. However, this does not strength limits will need to be supple-
aluminium, and particularly advanced appear to be good reason for eliminating mented by others that ensure compliance
composites, the low E values and high σy from design specifications guidance as to with serviceability limitations. This need
values would make serviceability condi- how serviceability limits can be met. It will be even greater for columns made
tions even more likely. A typical high has been demonstrated that serviceability from high strength steels and especially
strength composite in say fibre rein- criteria should be included in addition to for columns constructed from high
forced polymers might have E/σy as low limits based upon strength criteria. strength, light weight, materials such as
as 50. In these circumstances serviceabil- Simple expressions have been derived certain forms of advanced composite. To
ity limits would apply over very wide which allow the setting of practical limits provide adequate serviceability design
ranges of slenderness ratio. to the levels of lateral deformation in guidance will have the added benefit of
Fig 4 provides for the example treated columns. On the basis of total equivalent making it necessary to also be much
in Fig 3, the variations in the limiting imperfections consistent with those clearer than at present as to what are the
slenderness ratios that would apply for adopted for strength limits, these service- acceptable limits on the as-built imperfec-
differing levels of tolerance to limiting ability limit states are shown to become tion limits on columns se
deformation ratio, R. It is clear from Fig
4 and from eqn (8), that if limiting slen-
derness ratios are to be set they would REFERENCES
for consistency need to be varied in a
manner appropriate to the particular set 1. BS 5950: Structural Use of Steelwork in Building. Part 1: Code of Practice for Design in Simple and Continuous
of parameters c, α, γ, (E/σy), not to Construction: Hot Rolled Sections., BSI, 1985
mention the required limits on the total 2. Verulam, The Structural Engineer, 16 Septenber, 2003, 4 May, 2004, 21 September, 2004, and 15 February,
equivalent initial imperfection and defor- 2005
mation as defined by for example param- 3. BS 5950: Structural Use of Steelwork in Building. Part 1: Code of Practice for Design – Rolled and Welded sections,
eter R. But it has to be said that to have BSI, 2000.
previously defined just a fixed slender- 4. Ayrton, W. E. and Perry, J.: ‘On Struts’, Engineer, London, 57, 1886, 464-465
ness limit was a rather crude method for 5. Lokkas, P. and Croll, J. G. A.: ‘Theory of combined sway and non-sway frame buckling’, J. Engng Mech.,
capturing what seems a real deficiency ASCE, 126/1, 2000, 84-92
in current design practice, namely, the 6. Lokkas, P. and Croll, J. G. A.: ‘Experimental investigation of combined sway and non-sway buckling of
lack of specification of serviceability limit frames’, Experimental Mechanics, ed Balkema, Rotterdam/Brookfield, 1998, 341-348
states. 7. Robertson, A. The Strength of Struts, Inst Civ Engrs, Selected Engng Paper, 28, 1925

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32|The Structural Engineer – 6 February 2007