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CSCE 2008 Annual Conference
Québec, QC
10 au 13 juin 2008 / June 1013, 2008
1
New Formula for the Effective Width of Slender Plate Elements
Ghada Elmahdy
1
and Metwally AbuHamd
2
1
Senior Civil/Structural Engineer, Capital Engineering, Edmonton, Alberta, Canada;
2
Professor and Head
of Structural Engineering Department, Cairo University, Giza, Egypt.
Abstract: A new alternative formula for the effective width factor of slender plate elements, which
accounts for the local plate buckling of these elements, has been proposed. The new formula was
derived to take into account the presence of a stress gradient in the plate element, as in the case of
slender webs of plate girders. The new formula is more consistent with the minimum limiting width
thickness ratios for Class 4 slender plate elements and ensures a smooth transition from a stress
distribution of pure compression to a stress distribution of pure bending. A study of the application of this
formula with the maximum widththickness limits of Class 3 plate elements as given in the Canadian
Standard CAN/CSA S1601 is made. The background of the classical formula for the effective width
factor, which was derived from a modification made by the AISI to Winter’s formula, is stated and a
comparison between these two formulas is presented.
1. Introduction
Slender plate elements in compression, which are components of a steel cross section, often reach their
local plate buckling before the overall capacity of the cross section is reached. Such elements include
outstanding flanges, webs, and stiffeners commonly found in coldformed steel members or plate girders.
As plates in compression still have a postbuckling capacity, they are typically designed using an effective
width concept. The Canadian Standard CAN/CSAS1601 “Limit States Design of Steel Structures” [1] in
Clause 11.1.1 designates structural steel sections as Class 1, 2, 3, or 4 depending on the maximum
widthtothickness ratios of the elements subject to compression. These Classes are defined as follows:
1. Class 1 sections permit attainment of the plastic moment and subsequent redistribution of the
bending moment;
2. Class 2 sections permit attainment of the plastic moment but need not allow for subsequent moment
redistribution;
3. Class 3 sections permit attainment of the yield moment; and
4. Class 4 sections generally have local buckling of elements in compression as the limit state of
structural resistance.
In addition to this Clause 11.1.2 requires that Class 1 sections, when subject to flexure, shall have an axis
of symmetry in the plane of loading and, when subject to axial compression, shall be doubly symmetric.
Also, Clause 11.1.3 requires that Class 2 sections, when subject to flexure, shall have an axis of
symmetry in the plane of loading unless the effects of asymmetry of the section are included in the
analysis. The effective width concept comes into effect for Class 4 sections, which have elements with
widthtothickness ratios exceeding the maximum allowable for Class 3 sections. These sections are
subjected to a reduction in the width of the element to account for the nonlinear stress distribution that
occurs when the compression stress in the plate element exceeds the critical buckling stress.
2
In this paper a new formula is introduced for the effective width factor, p, of slender plate elements (i.e.,
with widthtothickness ratios exceeding those of Class 3 sections) based on a new formula introduced
into the Egyptian Code of Practice for Steel Construction and Bridges (Allowable Stress Design), ECP
(2001) [2]. This new formula is different from the older more popular formula used in other standards and
specifications such as the AISI Specification for the Design of ColdFormed Steel Structural Members [3]
and CAN/CSAS13601 [4] in that it takes into account the stress distribution in the plate element
especially for the cases of pure compression and pure bending in stiffened compression elements from
which it was derived. This is particularly suitable for the case of plate girders with slender elements.
2. New Formula for Effective Width
The elastic critical stress, o
c
, of a long plate segment is determined by the plate widthtothickness ratio
b/t, by the restraint conditions along the longitudinal boundaries, and by the elastic material properties,
and can be expressed as
2 2
2
) / )( 1 ( 12 t b
E k
c
v
t
o
÷
= (1)
where k is a plate buckling coefficient, which depends on the plate’s boundary conditions and the
distribution of axial stress in the plate; E is the modulus of elasticity; v is Poisson’s ratio taken as 0.3
for structural steel; b is the width of the plate element; and t is the thickness of the plate element. For
uniformly stressed plates Table 1 shows the values of k for different edge conditions. However, other
values of k apply for other combinations of edge conditions and stress distributions in the plate element.
Refering to Tables 2.3 and 2.4 of the new ECP [2], or Tables 5.3.2 and 5.3.3 of the Eurocode, ENV 1993
Eurocode 3: Design of Steel Structures [5], expressions of other values of k can be taken as shown in
Table 2.
Table 1. Values of k for uniform compression and different edge conditions in a long plate [6].
Boundary condition of longitudinal edges k
1. Both edges simply supported. 4.00
2. One edge simply supported the other fixed. 5.42
3. Both edges fixed. 6.97
4. One edge simply supported the other free. 0.43
5. One edge fixed the other free. 1.28
Table 2. Expressions for buckling factor k for variable values of stress gradient
1 2
/o o v = .
( )   ( ) v v v
v
+ + ÷ + +
= ÷ > >
1 ) 1 ( 112 . 0 1
16
1 1 For
2 / 1
2 2
k
2 1  ÷ > >v
v 1
0 1 > >v
1 0 ÷ > >v
1
k 4.0
v + 05 . 1
2 . 8
7.81
2
78 . 9 29 . 6 81 . 7 v v + ÷ 23.9
2
) 1 ( 98 . 5 v ÷
Local buckling in plates causes a loss of stiffness and a redistribution of stresses. Uniform edge
compression in the longitudinal direction results in a nonuniform stress distribution after buckling, and the
buckled plate derives almost all of its stiffness from the longitudinal edge supports [6]. Figure 1 shows
the nonlinear stress distribution of a buckled plate subject to uniform axial compression where the edge
stress is o
e
and the average stress is o
av
.
3
Actual stress distribution
Region assumed
not to transmit
stress because
of buckling. 2 2
Fig. 1. Nonlinear stress distribution of a buckled plate [6].
Table 3. Comparison between the lower bound limits of ì
p
at p=b
e
/b=1.0 and the requirements of Class 3
sections.
Stress distribution in
element
Type of element
Widthto
thickness ratio
for AISI
formula
Widthto
thickness
ratio for
proposed
formula
Maximum widthto
thickness ratio for
Class 3 elements [1]
I. Uniform Compression
v=1.0
v=o
2
/o
1
(i) Stiffened:
(a) Webs: k= 4.0
(a)
y
w
h
o
529
s (a)
y
w
h
o
646
s (a)
y
w
h
o
670
s
(ii) Unstiffened:
(b) Outstanding
flanges: k= 0.43
(b)
y
t
b
o
106
s (b)
y
t
b
o
129
s (b)
y
t
b
o
200
s
(1)
II. Stress Gradient
v=÷1.0
(i) Stiffened:
(a) Webs: k= 23.9
(a)
y
w
h
o
1399
s (a)
y
w
h
o
1844
s (a)
y
w
h
o
1900
s
(ii) Unstiffened:
(b) Outstanding
flanges:
k= 0.85  tip in
compression.
k= 23.8  tip in
tension.
(b)
y
t
b
o
264
s
y
t
b
o
1396
s
(b)
y
t
b
o
348
s
y
t
b
o
1840
s
(b)
y
t
b
o
288 315 ÷
s
(2)
y
t
b
o
1524 1666 ÷
s
(2)
(1)
Taken as b/t ≤ 340/(oy)
½
for stems of T sections.
(2)
These values are derived from a formula in the EPC [1] and adapted for SI units giving b/t ≤ 342/(k/oy)
½
for
outstanding flanges of rolled sections and b/t ≤ 312/(k/oy)
½
for outstanding flanges of welded sections.
Sections with slender plate elements are designed using the effective width concept. That is the
maximum edge stress acts uniformly over two strips of the plate and the central region is unstressed.
Many standards and specifications (AISI, AISC, CSAS13601) [3, 7, 4] permit the use of an effective
width in the design of members having plate elements with widthtothickness ratios greater than the
limits for full effectiveness (i.e., Class 4 sections according to CAN/CSAS1601 [1]).
4
The expression for the effective width, b
e
, of a simply supported slender plate element originated from von
Kármán’s [8] approximate formula derived from Eq. (1) taking k=4.0, such that
e
e
E
t
b
o
v
t
) 1 3(
2
÷
= (2a)
or, using the relationship for o
c
in Eq. (1)
e
c e
b
b
o
o
= (2b)
Winter [8] modified this on the basis of experimental results from coldformed sections to include the
effect of various imperfections such that


.

\

÷ =
b
t E E
t
b
e e
e
o o
475 . 0 1 9 . 1 (3a)
or


.

\

÷ =
e
c
e
c e
b
b
o
o
o
o
25 . 0 1 (3b)
As this expression was reached on the basis of experimental results from tests conducted on coldformed
sections, it does not give a general picture of the effective width of other steel elements such as slender
plate girders.
In the 1968 and later editions of the AISI Specification [2] for coldformed steel member Eqs. (3a) and
(3b) were further modified to give the following expressions for the effective width


.

\

÷ =
b
t E E
t
b
e e
e
o o
415 . 0 1 9 . 1 (4a)


.

\

÷ =
e
c
e
c e
b
b
o
o
o
o
22 . 0 1 (4b)
Taking the normalised plate slenderness as
E t
b
k
e
c
e
p
o
t
v
o
o
ì
2
2
) 1 ( 12 ÷
= = (5)
gives the final expression for the effective width as
2
22 . 0
p
p
e
b
b
ì
ì ÷
= (6)
Comparing the limiting slenderness ratios for noncompact sections with respect to the limiting
slenderness ratios at which no reduction in width is required (i.e., at p=b
e
/b=1.0, where p is the effective
width factor or the width reduction factor) for stiffened compression elements it is found to be inconsistent
5
for the cases of pure compression and pure bending as shown in Table 2. In order to avoid these
contradictions the new Egyptian Code of Practice is proposing to change Eq. (6) to include the effect of
the stress gradient on the plate element such that
2
05 . 0 15 . 0
p
p
e
b
b
ì
v ì ÷ ÷
= (7)
where v is the stress ratio and is the ratio of the smaller end compressive stress (or end tensile stress),
o
2
, to the larger end compressive stress,o
1
. Equation (7) was derived for the cases of pure
compression v=1.0 and pure bending v=1.0 for stiffened compression elements such that at the limiting
slenderness ratio between Class 3 and Class 4 sections no reduction in width is required. Table 3 shows
the widthtothickness ratios at p=1.0 for this proposed formula.
Figures 2a and 2b show how Eqs. (6) and (7) compare with the maximum widthtothickness limits of
Class 3 noncompact plate elements
(a) Stiffened compression elements
4.0
2.0
0.0
2.0
4.0
6.0
8.0
10.0
12.0
14.0
16.0
1.0 0.8 0.6 0.4 0.2 0.0 0.2 0.4 0.6 0.8 1.0
v
AISI's formula
Proposed formula
C
l
a
s
s
3
C
l
a
s
s
4
%
e
r
r
o
r
(b) Unstiffened compression elements
10.0
8.0
6.0
4.0
2.0
0.0
2.0
4.0
6.0
8.0
1.0 0.8 0.6 0.4 0.2 0.0 0.2 0.4 0.6 0.8 1.0
v
AISI's formula
Proposed formula
C
l
a
s
s
3
C
l
a
s
s
4
%
e
r
r
o
r
Rolled sections
Welded sections
Welded sections
Rolled sections
Fig. 2. Error curves for stiffened and unstiffened compression elements.
6
Figure 2a shows the results of the AISI’s formula, Eq. (6), for the width reduction factor, p=b
e
/b, as well as
the results of the proposed formula, Eq. (7), for stiffened compression elements. As both formulas are
supposed to apply for Class 4 sections and not Class 3 sections, they should give a value of p=1.0 at the
Class 3 maximum limiting widthtothickness value. Any value above or below this is the % error. Any
point above the 0% error is in the Class 3 noncompact range and any point below the 0% error is in the
Class 4 slender range. It can be seen from Fig. 2a that the proposed formula is more consistent with the
boundary between Class 4 and Class 3 sections especially near the points v=1.0 (pure compression) and
v=1.0 (pure bending) for which it was derived. However, most of the range between v=1.0 and v=1.0 is
in the Class 3 noncompact range leaving a narrow range of elements with widthtothickness ratios
falling in the Class 4 slender range but not requiring a reduction in width, which is slightly unconservative.
Whereas, the classical AISI’s formula conservatively lies in the Class 3 noncompact range and hence
predicts a conservative reduction in width for Class 4 slender elements, but this criterion is inconsistent.
Figure 2b shows the same error curves for the AISI’s formula and the proposed formula for the case of
unstiffened welded and rolled compression elements. The cases of tip in compression and tip in tension
yield the same curves as the term k cancels out. For welded compression elements, it can be seen that
for most values of v between 1.0 and 1.0 the proposed formula is in the Class 4 slender range, and the
error is especially large for elements under pure bending, reaching 9.5%. This means that elements in
the Class 4 range with widthtothickness ratios close to the maximum Class 3 limit will not undergo a
reduction in width. Whereas, the AISI’s formula lies entirely in the Class 3 range with a uniform error of
+2.5% ensuring that all elements in the Class 4 slender range are bound to have a conservatively
reduced effective width. Figure 2b also shows the error curves for unstiffened rolled compression
elements. The proposed formula gives an error ranging from 5.8% for pure bending to +4.2% for pure
compression. On the other hand, the AISI’s formula conservatively gives an error of +6.2% for all values
of v such that all elements in the Class 4 slender range are bound to undergo a reduction in width.
Figures 3a and 3b show the width reduction factor according to Eqs. (6) and (7), p=b
e
/b, plotted for
values of v between 1.0 and –1.0 for both stiffened and unstiffened compression elements. Figure 3a
illustrates the difference in the reduction in effective width for stiffened compression elements which have
a widthtothickness ratio of b/t=140, 160, and 180 and a yield stress of o
y
=350 MPa. The reduction in
width is nearly equal at v=1.0 but is slightly less for the proposed formula than for the AISI’s formula at
v=1.0. Figure 3b illustrates this relationship for unstiffened compression elements where the
compression stress at the tip of the element is greater than the stress at the supported edge of the
element, which could be in tension (tip in compression). For this case the widthtothickness ratio was
taken as b/t=40 and the yield stress as o
y
=350 MPa. Again, the reduction in width is nearly equal at
v=1.0 but is slightly less for the proposed formula than for the AISI’s formula at v=1.0. This figure also
shows the same curves for unstiffened compression elements where the compression stress at the
supported edge of the element is greater than the stress at the tip of the element, which could be in
tension (tip in tension). For lower values of v no reduction in width is required, and for v=1.0 the
reduction in width is nearly equal for the two formulas.
7
(a) Stiffened compression elements
0.0
0.1
0.2
0.3
0.4
0.5
0.6
0.7
0.8
1.0 0.8 0.6 0.4 0.2 0.0 0.2 0.4 0.6 0.8 1.0
v
p
=
b
e
/
b
AISI's formula Proposed formula
s
y
=350 MPa
b/t =140 b/t =160
b/t =180
(b) Unstiffened compression elements
0.0
0.2
0.4
0.6
0.8
1.0
1.2
1.0 0.8 0.6 0.4 0.2 0.0 0.2 0.4 0.6 0.8 1.0
v
p
=
b
e
/
b
AISI's formula Proposed formula
Tip in compression
(+)
()
o
1
o
2
for b/t =40 and o
y
=350 MPa
Tip in tension
(+)
o
1
o
2
()
Fig. 3. Width reduction factor for stiffened and unstiffened compression elements.
3. Plate Buckling Curves
Figure 4 shows the nondimensional buckling curves for plates under uniform edge compression. The
horizontal axis represents the normalised plate slenderness given in Eq. (5) but using the yield stress, o
y
,
to represent the maximum edge stress, o
e
. The vertical axis represents the buckling stress parameter,
which is the ratio of the critical stress to the yield stress, o
c
/o
y
, or the ratio of the average stress to the
yield stress, o
av
/o
y
. The average stress, shown in Fig. 1, is defined as the uniform stress acting on the
plate element if the whole width is resisting the load, such that
b
b
y e
av
o
o = (8a)
8
where o
e
is replaced by o
y
, or using the relationship in Eq. (2b) the average stress can be expressed as
y c av
o o o = (8b)
0.0
0.1
0.2
0.3
0.4
0.5
0.6
0.7
0.8
0.9
1.0
0.0 0.5 1.0 1.5 2.0 2.5 3.0 3.5 4.0 4.5 5.0
ì
p
o
c
/
o
y
o
r
o
a
v
/
o
y
Critical stress
Unmodified average stress
AISI's formula of average stress
v
v
=1.0 Proposed formula
=1.0 Proposed formula
o
av
/o
y
=1/ì
p
o
av
/o
y
=(ì
p
 0.22)/ì
p
2
o
av
/o
y
=(ì
p
0.150.05v)/ì
p
2
o
c
/o
y
Fig. 4. Nondimensional plate buckling curves.
The first curve in Fig. 4 represents the idealised critical stress curve given by Eq. (1). This curve is
plotted for values of ì
p
>1.0 down to ì
p
=1.0, below which the ratio of o
c
/o
y
is constant and equal to 1.0.
The second curve represents the unmodified average stress parameter
p y
c
y
av
ì o
o
o
o 1
= = (9)
which is the average stress parameter of von Kármán’s approximate formula, Eq. (2b), before any
modifications were made by Winter. This curve lies above the curve for the critical stress and also has a
constant value of o
av
/o
y
=1.0 for values of ì
p
s1.0. The third curve represents the average stress
parameter given by the AISI’s formula, which is Eq. (4b) or Eq. (6). It can be seen that this curve is more
conservative than the unmodified average stress curve, as it lies below it, and has a constant value of
o
av
/o
y
=1.0 for values of ì
p
s0.673. This formula accounts for the effect of various imperfections on the
average stress. The last two curves represent the average stress parameter for the proposed formula,
Eq. (7), for the cases of v=1.0 (pure compression) and v=1.0 (pure bending). It is obvious that the
AISI’s formula is the lower bound, most conservative, of these modified average stresses.
4. Application to Plate Girders
Plate girders with flanges and webs in the Class 1, 2, and 3 plastic and compact ranges can achieve their
plastic moment capacity. Plate girders with flanges and webs in the Class 3 noncompact range can
achieve their elastic moment capacity. However, plate girders with flanges or webs in the Class 4 slender
range require special provisions to prevent failure due to buckling. When designing slender plate girders
without stiffeners for flexure, the modes of failure due to buckling that must be considered are: web
buckling under pure flexure, vertical buckling of the web, vertical buckling (or local plate buckling) of the
compression flange, and lateraltorsional buckling of the unsupported compression flange. This paper
only applies to web buckling under pure flexure, shown in Fig. 5, and vertical buckling due to local plate
buckling of the compression flange. The gross and effective cross sections of a plate girder with a
slender web and a slender compression flange are shown in Fig. 6.
9
For plate girder Isections in flexure with slender webs in the Class 4 range, but noncompact or compact
flanges in the Class 1, 2, or 3 ranges, the web is expected to buckle at higher loads, and will throw off
part of its load onto the stiffer flange. Thus, the web will be less effective than expected and the flange
will receive a higher stress than that calculated using ordinary beam theory as shown in Fig. 5. This web
buckling under pure bending is dealt with by removing a part of the compression web. Certain standards
and specifications such as the AISC [7] and the CSAS1601 [1] have adopted a formula developed [10]
to reduce the allowable bending stress in the compression flange for plate girders for buildings with webs
in the Class 4 slender range and flanges in at least the Class 3 noncompact range. The AISC [7] and
CAN/CSAS1601 [1] requires that the allowable bending moment for nonhybrid girders be reduced by
the factor, R
PG
, such that
0 . 1
/
1900
0005 . 0 1 s


.

\

÷


.

\

÷ =
S M
w
h
A
A
R
f
f
w
PG
o
(10)
where A
w
is the area of the web at the section under investigation; A
f
is the area of the compression
flange; h is the height of the web; w is the thickness of the web; M
f
is the bending moment in the member
under factored loads; o is the resistance factor; and S is the elastic section modulus.
Both web buckling under pure flexure, as well as, local plate buckling of the compression flange can be
dealt with by using the effective width concept to derive effective sectional properties.
Stress distribution
Elastic stress
Axis of
after web buckles
distribution
bending
Fig. 5. Web buckling under pure flexure.
Major
axis
Neutral axis of
effective section
(b) Effective cross section (a) Gross cross section
Fig. 6 Gross and Effective Cross Sections of a Plate Girder.
10
5. Conclusion
It can be concluded that the limits of the proposed formula at p=b
e
/b=1.0 are more consistent with the
maximum widthtothickness ratios of Class 3 noncompact elements than the limits of the effective width
factor given by the traditional formula derived from Winter’s formulas and modified by the AISI. The
proposed formula predicts a similar width reduction to the traditional AISI’s formula for slender plate
elements under pure compression, but a slightly smaller width reduction for other stress ratios.
Therefore, this formula is an appropriate replacement for the old formula.
6. References
1. Canadian Standards Association, “Limits States Design of Steel Structures”, CAN/CSAS1601, CSA,
Rexdale, Ontario, 2001.
2. ECP, “Egyptian Code of Practice for Steel Construction and Bridges (Allowable Stress Design)”, 2001.
3. American Iron and Steel Institute, “Specification for the Design of ColdFormed Steel Structural
Members”, AISI, Washington D.C, 1986.
4. Canadian Standards Association, “Cold Formed Steel Structural Members”, CAN/CSAS13601, CSA,
Rexdale, Ontario, 2001.
5. Eurocode, “ENV 1993 Eurocode 3: Design of Steel Structures”, 1993.
6. Galambos, T.V., “Guide to Stability Design Criteria for Metal Structures”, 5th Edition, Structural
Stability Research Council, John Wiley & Sons, Inc., New York, NY, 1998.
7. American Institute of Steel Construction, “Specification for Structural Steel Buildings  Allowable Stress
Design and Plastic Design”, AISC, Chicago, 1989.
8. von Kármán, T., Sechler, E.E., and Donell, L.H., “Strength of Thin Plates in Compression”,
Transactions of the American Society of Mechanical Engineers, Vol. 54, No. APM545, p. 53, 1932.
9. Winter, G., “Strength of Thin Steel Compression Flanges”, Transactions of the American Society of
Civil Engineers, Vol. 112, p. 527, 1947.
10. Basler, K., and Thürlimann, B., “Strength of Plate Girders in Bending”, ASCE Journal of the Structural
Division, Vol. 87, No. ST6, pp. 153181, 1961.
3 of the Eurocode.97 4. ENV 1993 Eurocode 3: Design of Steel Structures [5]. Table 1. E is the modulus of elasticity.81 6.3. and by the elastic material properties.78 2 5. and the buckled plate derives almost all of its stiffness from the longitudinal edge supports [6]. and t is the thickness of the plate element.00 2. with widthtothickness ratios exceeding those of Class 3 sections) based on a new formula introduced into the Egyptian Code of Practice for Steel Construction and Bridges (Allowable Stress Design). Both edges simply supported.43 5.112(1 ) 2 16 1 0 1 2 1/ 2 1 2  8. Values of kfor uniform compression and different edge conditions in a long plate [6]. For 1 1 k k 1 0 1 0.3.2 1. or Tables 5. expressions of other values of k can be taken as shown in Table 2. of a long plate segment is determined by the plate widthtothickness ratio b/t. Uniform edge compression in the longitudinal direction results in a nonuniform stress distribution after buckling. other values of k apply for other combinations of edge conditions and stress distributions in the plate element. New Formula for Effective Width The elastic critical stress. One edge simply supported the other fixed. For uniformly stressed plates Table 1 shows the values of k for different edge conditions. 5. and can be expressed as c k 2 E 12(1 2 )(b / t ) 2 (1) where k is a plate buckling coefficient.05 7. 2 .3 is for structural steel. by the restraint conditions along the longitudinal boundaries. ..In this paper a new formula is introduced for the effective width factor. of slender plate elements (i. 6. b is the width of the plate element. which depends on the plate’s boundary conditions and the distribution of axial stress in the plate.e. 0.98(1 ) 2 Local buckling in plates causes a loss of stiffness and a redistribution of stresses.28 Table 2. One edge fixed the other free. This new formula is different from the older more popular formula used in other standards and specifications such as the AISI Specification for the Design of ColdFormed Steel Structural Members [3] and CAN/CSAS13601 [4] in that it takes into account the stress distribution in the plate element especially for the cases of pure compression and pure bending in stiffened compression elements from which it was derived. 2. However. 1. Figure 1 shows the nonlinear stress distribution of a buckled plate subject to uniform axial compression where the edge stress is e and the average stress is av. This is particularly suitable for the case of plate girders with slender elements.42 3. Boundary condition of longitudinal edges k 1. 4.4 of the new ECP [2]. c. One edge simply supported the other free.3 and 2. Poisson’s ratio taken as 0. Expressions for buckling factor k for variable values of stress gradient 2 / 1 . ECP (2001) [2]. Refering to Tables 2. Both edges fixed.2 and 5.29 9.
0 w w w y y y (ii) Unstiffened: b 129 b 200 (1) b 106 (b) (b) (b) (b) Outstanding t t t y y y flanges: k= 0. ½ These values are derived from a formula in the EPC [1] and adapted for SI units giving b/t ≤ 342/(k/y) for ½ outstanding flanges of rolled sections and b/t ≤ 312/(k/y) for outstanding flanges of welded sections. AISC. Stress Gradient (i) Stiffened: h 1399 h 1844 h 1900 (a) (a) (a) (a) Webs: k= 23. CSAS13601) [3.Actual stress distribution 2 Region assumed not to transmit stress because of buckling. 3 . WidthtoWidthtothickness Maximum widthtoStress distribution in thickness ratio Type of element ratio for thickness ratio for element for AISI proposed Class 3 elements [1] formula formula I.9 w w w y y y (ii) Unstiffened: (b) Outstanding flanges: k= 0.e.. ½ Sections with slender plate elements are designed using the effective width concept. Comparison between the lower bound limits of p at =be/b=1. Nonlinear stress distribution of a buckled plate [6]. That is the maximum edge stress acts uniformly over two strips of the plate and the central region is unstressed.tip in compression. 7. Uniform Compression (i) Stiffened: h 646 h 529 h 670 (a) (a) (a) (a) Webs: k= 4.0 and the requirements of Class 3 sections. Many standards and specifications (AISI. Table 3. (1) (2) (b) b 264 t y (b) b 348 t y (b) b 315 288 t y (2) b 1396 t y b 1840 t y b 1666 1524 (2) t y Taken as b/t ≤ 340/(y) for stems of T sections.8 . 1.43 II.tip in tension. Class 4 sections according to CAN/CSAS1601 [1]). 2 Fig. 4] permit the use of an effective width in the design of members having plate elements with widthtothickness ratios greater than the limits for full effectiveness (i. k= 23.85 .
such that be E t 3(1 2 ) e or.22 b 2 p (6) Comparing the limiting slenderness ratios for noncompact sections with respect to the limiting slenderness ratios at which no reduction in width is required (i.0. of a simply supported slender plate element originated from von Kármán’s [8] approximate formula derived from Eq. (3a) and (3b) were further modified to give the following expressions for the effective width be E 1 0. (1) taking k=4.415 E t 1.22 c b e e Taking the normalised plate slenderness as (4b) p e 12(1 2 ) b e c t E 2k (5) gives the final expression for the effective width as be p 0.. In the 1968 and later editions of the AISI Specification [2] for coldformed steel member Eqs.9 t e e b (4a) be c 1 0. it does not give a general picture of the effective width of other steel elements such as slender plate girders.475 E t 1. (1) (2a) be c b e (2b) Winter [8] modified this on the basis of experimental results from coldformed sections to include the effect of various imperfections such that be E 1 0.The expression for the effective width.0.25 c b e e (3b) As this expression was reached on the basis of experimental results from tests conducted on coldformed sections.9 t e e b or (3a) be c 1 0. where is the effective width factor or the width reduction factor) for stiffened compression elements it is found to be inconsistent 4 . using the relationship for c in Eq. at =be/b=1.e. be.
Table 3 shows the widthtothickness ratios at =1.2 0.4 0.0 2.01.6 0.0 AISI's formula Proposed formula % error 8.0 Rolled sections AISI's formula Welded sections Proposed formula (b) Unstiffened compression elements Fig. (6) and (7) compare with the maximum widthtothickness limits of Class 3 noncompact plate elements 16.0 6.0 % error 0. Figures 2a and 2b show how Eqs.15 0.2 0.0 Class 4 Class 3 .4 0. 2.0 6.8 1.6 0.2 0.for the cases of pure compression and pure bending as shown in Table 2.8 0.6 0. Error curves for stiffened and unstiffened compression elements.4 0. 5 Class 4 0.0 Rolled sections Welded sections 2.0 Class 3 4.0 10.6 0.0 for stiffened compression elements such that at the limiting slenderness ratio between Class 3 and Class 4 sections no reduction in width is required. to the larger end compressive stress. (6) to include the effect of the stress gradient on the plate element such that be p 0.0 (a) Stiffened compression elements 8.0 0.0 0.0 and pure bending =1.0 4. 2. 1.0 6.8 0.4 0. In order to avoid these contradictions the new Egyptian Code of Practice is proposing to change Eq.0 4.05 b 2 p (7) where is the stress ratio and is the ratio of the smaller end compressive stress (or end tensile stress).01.0 for this proposed formula.0 2.0 0.0 0.2 0.0 14. Equation (7) was derived for the cases of pure compression =1.8 1.0 2.0 10.0 4.0 8.0 12.
it can be seen that for most values of between 1. Figure 2b also shows the error curves for unstiffened rolled compression elements. On the other hand. 2a that the proposed formula is more consistent with the boundary between Class 4 and Class 3 sections especially near the points =1.2% for all values of such that all elements in the Class 4 slender range are bound to undergo a reduction in width. For this case the widthtothickness ratio was taken as b/t=40 and the yield stress as y=350 MPa. The cases of tip in compression and tip in tension yield the same curves as the term k cancels out.0 and =1. Any value above or below this is the % error.0 and –1. However.0 is in the Class 3 noncompact range leaving a narrow range of elements with widthtothickness ratios falling in the Class 4 slender range but not requiring a reduction in width.5%.0 at the Class 3 maximum limiting widthtothickness value. This figure also shows the same curves for unstiffened compression elements where the compression stress at the supported edge of the element is greater than the stress at the tip of the element. 6 . Eq.2% for pure compression. It can be seen from Fig.8% for pure bending to +4. they should give a value of =1. which is slightly unconservative. but this criterion is inconsistent.5% ensuring that all elements in the Class 4 slender range are bound to have a conservatively reduced effective width. Figure 3b illustrates this relationship for unstiffened compression elements where the compression stress at the tip of the element is greater than the stress at the supported edge of the element. Whereas.0. which could be in tension (tip in tension).0 but is slightly less for the proposed formula than for the AISI’s formula at =1. Figures 3a and 3b show the width reduction factor according to Eqs.0 and 1. For lower values of no reduction in width is required. and for =1.0 for both stiffened and unstiffened compression elements. the reduction in width is nearly equal at =1. =be/b. the classical AISI’s formula conservatively lies in the Class 3 noncompact range and hence predicts a conservative reduction in width for Class 4 slender elements. (7).0 but is slightly less for the proposed formula than for the AISI’s formula at =1. Eq. the AISI’s formula conservatively gives an error of +6. and the error is especially large for elements under pure bending.Figure 2a shows the results of the AISI’s formula. Figure 2b shows the same error curves for the AISI’s formula and the proposed formula for the case of unstiffened welded and rolled compression elements. for the width reduction factor. as well as the results of the proposed formula. and 180 and a yield stress of y=350 MPa. 160. (6) and (7). Whereas.0 the reduction in width is nearly equal for the two formulas. The reduction in width is nearly equal at =1. reaching 9. Figure 3a illustrates the difference in the reduction in effective width for stiffened compression elements which have a widthtothickness ratio of b/t=140. (6). for stiffened compression elements. The proposed formula gives an error ranging from 5.0. Any point above the 0% error is in the Class 3 noncompact range and any point below the 0% error is in the Class 4 slender range. which could be in tension (tip in compression). the AISI’s formula lies entirely in the Class 3 range with a uniform error of +2. This means that elements in the Class 4 range with widthtothickness ratios close to the maximum Class 3 limit will not undergo a reduction in width. =be/b.0 (pure bending) for which it was derived. most of the range between =1. As both formulas are supposed to apply for Class 4 sections and not Class 3 sections. For welded compression elements.0 (pure compression) and =1.0 the proposed formula is in the Class 4 slender range. Again. plotted for values of between 1.
The average stress. e.2 0.0 1.8 0.4 0. which is the ratio of the critical stress to the yield stress. The vertical axis represents the buckling stress parameter.6 0.3 0. is defined as the uniform stress acting on the plate element if the whole width is resisting the load.2 0. Plate Buckling Curves Figure 4 shows the nondimensional buckling curves for plates under uniform edge compression.4 0.0 () for b/t =40 and y =350 MPa 2 0.0 0.5 s y =350 MPa be/b 0.8 1 (+) Tip in tension be/b 0. such that av be y b (8a) 7 . y.0 1.0 1 (+) Tip in compression 0.6 0.4 0. or the ratio of the average stress to the yield stress.2 0. 1. (5) but using the yield stress.2 b/t =180 b/t =160 b/t =140 0.8 1. to represent the maximum edge stress. c/y.1 0.6 0.8 AISI's formula Proposed formula (b) Unstiffened compression elements Fig. The horizontal axis represents the normalised plate slenderness given in Eq.2 0. av/y.2 1.6 0.8 0.4 0. shown in Fig. 3.0 0.0 0.7 0. 3.8 1.0.4 0.6 0.6 0.0 0. Width reduction factor for stiffened and unstiffened compression elements.2 0.0 AISI's formula Proposed formula (a) Stiffened compression elements 1.4 () 2 0.
vertical buckling of the web.0. below which the ratio of c/y is constant and equal to 1.0 Proposed formula =1. and vertical buckling due to local plate buckling of the compression flange. 2. plate girders with flanges or webs in the Class 4 slender range require special provisions to prevent failure due to buckling.0 down to p=1.0 (pure compression) and =1. the modes of failure due to buckling that must be considered are: web buckling under pure flexure. Plate girders with flanges and webs in the Class 3 noncompact range can achieve their elastic moment capacity.5 2.22)/ p 2 av / y =( p 0.0 2.05 )/ p 2 av / y =1/ p c / y 3. and has a constant value of av/y=1. (1). or using the relationship in Eq. The third curve represents the average stress parameter given by the AISI’s formula. Eq. vertical buckling (or local plate buckling) of the compression flange. This paper only applies to web buckling under pure flexure. which is Eq. (2b) the average stress can be expressed as av c y (8b) 1.5 0.0 4.9 0.5 4.0. for the cases of =1.0 for values of p1.0 Proposed formula av / y =( p .0 3.0 0.150. and lateraltorsional buckling of the unsupported compression flange. 6. This curve lies above the curve for the critical stress and also has a constant value of av/y=1.0. It is obvious that the AISI’s formula is the lower bound. of these modified average stresses. When designing slender plate girders without stiffeners for flexure. The last two curves represent the average stress parameter for the proposed formula.4 0.0 0.0. (2b). Nondimensional plate buckling curves.where e is replaced by y. This formula accounts for the effect of various imperfections on the average stress.3 0. However. 4. most conservative.5 5.0 p Fig. 4. 4 represents the idealised critical stress curve given by Eq. Eq.8 Critical stress Unmodified average stress AISI's formula of average stress c /y or av /y 0. (7).2 0. It can be seen that this curve is more conservative than the unmodified average stress curve.0 (pure bending).5 =1. before any modifications were made by Winter. The gross and effective cross sections of a plate girder with a slender web and a slender compression flange are shown in Fig. Application to Plate Girders Plate girders with flanges and webs in the Class 1. and 3 plastic and compact ranges can achieve their plastic moment capacity.0 for values of p0. The first curve in Fig. shown in Fig. This curve is plotted for values of p1.0 1.5 1. 5. as it lies below it. The second curve represents the unmodified average stress parameter av c 1 y y p (9) which is the average stress parameter of von Kármán’s approximate formula.673.6 0.1 0. (4b) or Eq.0 0. 8 . (6).7 0.
Certain standards and specifications such as the AISC [7] and the CSAS1601 [1] have adopted a formula developed [10] to reduce the allowable bending stress in the compression flange for plate girders for buildings with webs in the Class 4 slender range and flanges in at least the Class 3 noncompact range. 9 . but noncompact or compact flanges in the Class 1. Af is the area of the compression flange.0 (10) where Aw is the area of the web at the section under investigation. 5. The AISC [7] and CAN/CSAS1601 [1] requires that the allowable bending moment for nonhybrid girders be reduced by the factor. Stress distribution after web buckles Axis of bending Elastic stress distribution Fig. Major axis Neutral axis of effective section (a) Gross cross section (b) Effective cross section Fig. the web will be less effective than expected and the flange will receive a higher stress than that calculated using ordinary beam theory as shown in Fig. local plate buckling of the compression flange can be dealt with by using the effective width concept to derive effective sectional properties. 5. Both web buckling under pure flexure. 6 Gross and Effective Cross Sections of a Plate Girder. is the resistance factor. and will throw off part of its load onto the stiffer flange. as well as. 2. such that A h 1900 RPG 1 0. the web is expected to buckle at higher loads. Web buckling under pure flexure. RPG. This web buckling under pure bending is dealt with by removing a part of the compression web.For plate girder Isections in flexure with slender webs in the Class 4 range. and S is the elastic section modulus. Thus.0005 w A f w M f / S 1. or 3 ranges. Mf is the bending moment in the member under factored loads. h is the height of the web. w is the thickness of the web.
Basler. T. 6. Washington D. Rexdale. 153181. “ENV 1993 Eurocode 3: Design of Steel Structures”. Conclusion It can be concluded that the limits of the proposed formula at =be/b=1. No. “Specification for the Design of ColdFormed Steel Structural Members”..H. G. ST6. CAN/CSAS13601. Eurocode.Allowable Stress Design and Plastic Design”. Canadian Standards Association. Galambos. 112. Inc.. E. this formula is an appropriate replacement for the old formula. Structural Stability Research Council. 5th Edition. APM545. 6. John Wiley & Sons. 1989. Winter.5. “Strength of Thin Plates in Compression”. Ontario. References 1. 1986. “Strength of Thin Steel Compression Flanges”. 10 . Transactions of the American Society of Mechanical Engineers. “Limits States Design of Steel Structures”. 527. 8. 3. 2. “Egyptian Code of Practice for Steel Construction and Bridges (Allowable Stress Design)”. The proposed formula predicts a similar width reduction to the traditional AISI’s formula for slender plate elements under pure compression. B. American Iron and Steel Institute. L. “Guide to Stability Design Criteria for Metal Structures”. and Thürlimann. ECP.. pp. 1998. Therefore. 9. AISI. 53. NY. Chicago. Vol. but a slightly smaller width reduction for other stress ratios. Transactions of the American Society of Civil Engineers. Rexdale.0 are more consistent with the maximum widthtothickness ratios of Class 3 noncompact elements than the limits of the effective width factor given by the traditional formula derived from Winter’s formulas and modified by the AISI.C. 7. AISC. CSA. No. von Kármán. 2001. Canadian Standards Association. 87. “Specification for Structural Steel Buildings . Ontario. 2001. 54. Sechler.E. p. Vol.. Vol... “Strength of Plate Girders in Bending”. K. CSA. 1993. 1947.V. 1932. 5.. American Institute of Steel Construction. p. and Donell.. 2001. T. CAN/CSAS1601. 1961. 10. ASCE Journal of the Structural Division. 4. New York. “Cold Formed Steel Structural Members”.
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