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Posted: Wed Apr 13, 2011 10:04 pm

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Dear All, Please refer to following definitions:


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1. Ly : Unsupported Length in local Y axis for a column modelled in STAAD it is Clear distance between beams parallel to local Z direction, the distance being Top of lower side element and bottom of upper element 2. Lz : Unsupported Length in local Z axis for a column modelled in STAAD it is Clear distance between beams parallel to local Y direction, the distance being Top of lower side element and bottom of upper element 3. KY : Effective Length Factor for calculation of slenderness in Y axis 4. KZ : Effective Length Factor for calculation of slenderness in Z axis 5. Ley : Effective Length in Y Axis = KY x LY 6. Lez : Effective Length in Z Axis = KZ x LZ Ley and Lez are the end results that matter the member most, which is multiplication of K and L in appropriate direction. They are design parameters required for design of elements and not used in analysis. These parameters are necessary to calculate the slenderness ratio of member, which is very important parameter for strength of compression members. Hence, these parameters are applicable to columns or beam-columns. Whether it is steel or concrete column, the purpose of these parameters is to appropriately consider the compression capacity of the element under design. Basically, effective length is the distance between two points between which the compression member buckle. For example, in case of column fixed at both ends, the buckling will occur between 0.7m length (portion near ends not buckled). In case of cantilever, the same is 2(two) as the first point is at fixed end and the second point is at imaginary end which is mirror from free end. Effective length factor for braced (non-sway) frame is less than unity. For un-braced (sway frame) frame it is greater than unity. To calculate the effective length factors one has to understand the buckling phenomena. The buckling of member depends on its rotational stiffness at each end. The rotational stiffness is calculated based on stiffness of column element and end condition of beam elements at column ends. The terms beta1 and beta2 represent the stiffness of beam column element at two ends of compression members. Buckling analysis an eigen value problem and difficult to solve manually and hence, Wood has suggested such simplified charts in early seventies. Hence, if you can calculate the rotational stiffness of joint at both ends, whether it is steel or concrete, effective lengths can be calculated. For a multi-storeyed steel structure having moment connections at floors, the calculation of effective length factors is very important and is being done. Also, for crane columns, the same is very important in case of heavier cranes as stepped column is a non prismatic member and its buckling behaviour is quite complex. According to my experience, the effective length factor of such crane columns in major axis is as high as 5. For concrete structures, Ley and Lez are required to calculate the type of column in particular direction and do needful for the slenderness effects in particular direction.
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In actual 3D models, the physical members are divided at many node points to form the

geometry of the structures. The members between such nodes can be termed as analytical members. Usually, the programs do not identify the physical members unless they are defined using these parameters. ETABS and SAP do have some features, whereby it calculates the appropriate length in each direction. STAAD do have option of physical member modelling. For design of steel beams in STAAD, the factor UNL is unsupported length to calculate the bending stress (based on lateral torsional buckling) and shall not be confused with Ly or Lz which are used for calculation of compressive stresses. For more on the buckling and effective lengths, one may refer the paper published by Wood in the Structural engineer in seventies and book theory of elastic stability by Timoshenko.