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Engineering Structures 27 (2005) 12481257

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Stability of tapered and stepped steel columns with initial imperfections


Ioannis G. Raftoyiannis, John Ch. Ermopoulos
National Technical University of Athens, 15780 Athens, Greece

Received 5 November 2004; received in revised form 29 March 2005; accepted 30 March 2005
Available online 10 May 2005

Abstract

The elastic stability of eccentrically loaded steel columns with tapered and stepped cross-section and initial imperfection is studied herein.
The stability problem is formulated in a manner covering most cases met in design applications. The formulation presented herewith is based
on the exact solution of the governing equation for buckling of columns with variable cross-section. A parabolic shape is assumed for the
initial imperfection according to EC3 provisions. A plasticity criterion is applied to determine material failure in the buckled configuration.
Nonlinear finite element analyses are performed to verify the analytical results. The findings presented in this study can be used for the design
of such type of imperfect steel columns.
2005 Elsevier Ltd. All rights reserved.
Keywords: Steel columns; Tapered; Stepped sections; Stability; Initial imperfections

1. Introduction compressive loads [9]. The problem is studied using web-


tapered columns and stepped columns with build-up cross-
Steel members with non-uniform cross-section are sections, an initial imperfection of parabolic shape and
commonly used as columns in the design of various various boundary conditions that are usually met in real life
structures such as building frames, cranes, masts etc., due structures. The methodology is based on the exact solution
to the effort to minimize the total weight and subsequently of the governing differential equation for buckling of
the cost of the structure [1,10,11]. The stability behavior of columns with constant or variable cross-section [14], while
columns with non-uniform cross-section has been studied a plasticity criterion is introduced for the determination
by a number of researchers [28,15]. A stability analysis of material failure in the buckled configuration [9]. The
of the entire structure is required when designing such columns are considered transversely supported, and thus the
members [14], which leads to the determination of the exact possibility of buckling about the weak axis is ruled out.
buckling load of each member as well [12,13]. The main Various model cases are also analyzed via the finite element
loading consists of a compressive force eccentrically applied method [16] and the corresponding results are presented for
with respect to the neutral axis of the column. comparison along with the analytical ones in the form of
In the present study, the influence of initial imperfections
diagrams.
on the stability of non-uniform steel members that are
More specifically, in this paper special emphasis is
subjected to eccentrically applied axial loading is thoroughly
given on analytical models which provide qualitative results
investigated. The presence of imperfections is responsible
of buckling loads for tapered and stepped columns and
for a significant reduction of the carrying capacity of
establish the effect of properties variation along with
structural systems and especially those carrying axial
imperfections on their buckling behavior including material
failure. This is very helpful for the designer who can
Corresponding address: Department of Civil Engineering, National
readily apply the proposed technique to compute with
Technical University of Athens, Iroon Polytechniou 9Zografou Campus,
15780 Athens, Greece. reasonable accuracy the load carrying capacity of such
E-mail address: rafto@central.ntua.gr (I.G. Raftoyiannis). types of columns. The simultaneous effect of the above

0141-0296/$ - see front matter 2005 Elsevier Ltd. All rights reserved.
doi:10.1016/j.engstruct.2005.03.009
I.G. Raftoyiannis, J.Ch. Ermopoulos / Engineering Structures 27 (2005) 12481257 1249

Fig. 1. (a) Tapered column, (b) stepped column, and (c) cross-section with variable height.

parameters on the buckling strength of tapered and stepped the column and is described by the following equation
columns is not dealt with in the bibliography. Employment (Fig. 1(a)):
of a detailed finite element analysis serves herewith for
verification purposes only and both analytical and numerical w0 (x) = c1 x 2 + c2 x + c3 (4)
results correlate with reasonable accuracy. The analytical where the coefficients c1 , c2 , and c3 are determined from the
results for plastic loads (obtained via a linear buckling boundary conditions.
theory) are based on the assumption that material failure In the following analysis, two representative cases of
occurs for small lateral displacements, which is true for steel non-uniform cross-section steel columns are considered: (a)
columns with wide-flange I cross-section. a tapered column with cross-sectional height h(x) linearly
varying over the length , and (b) a column consisting of
three parts with lengths 1 , 2 , and 3 , and constant cross-
2. Theoretical analysis
sectional heights h 1 , h 2 , and h 3 , respectively.

The governing differential equation for buckling of a


column with non-uniform cross-section is given as follows: 2.1. Tapered column
 
d2 d2 w d2 w
2 E I (x) 2 + N 2 = 0 (1) Consider the tapered column AB, shown in Fig. 1(a),
dx dx dx which has length  and variable cross-section with constant
where N is the axial compressive force, E I (x) is the area A as shown in Fig. 1(c). The moment of inertia for
bending stiffness of the column, and w(x) is the lateral the column AB is given by I = I0 (x/a)2, where I0
deflection in the buckled configuration. In the presence of corresponds to point A and a is the distance OA. The column
an imperfection w0 (x), the deflection w(x) is superimposed is considered to have an initial imperfection described by the
to w0 (x) to give the total deflection wT (x), that is second order parabola Eq. (4). The maximum imperfection
magnitude a0 occurs at /2. The axial load N is applied
wT (x) = w0 (x) + w(x). (2) eccentrically to column AB at a distance e. Translation
of joint A to the horizontal or vertical direction is fully
This is valid because bending moments are associated to the
restricted while rotation is restricted by a spring with
change of curvature (i.e., to w), while the effect of the axial
rotational stiffness R A . Joint B is restricted to translate
force N is associated to the total deflection wT . Taking also
horizontally and rotate by two springs with translational
into account that the axial force N is always assumed to be
stiffness TB and rotational stiffness R B , respectively. The
compressive, Eq. (1) becomes
  adopted coordinate system (x, w) for the column AB has
d2 d2 w d2 w d2 w0 origin at point O; see Fig. 1(a). Thus, the governing Eq. (3)
E I (x) + N = N . (3) for buckling becomes
dx 2 dx 2 dx 2 dx 2
 
E I0 d 2 2d w d2 w d2 w0
2
The imperfection w0 (x) is assumed to have a parabolic x + N 2 = N . (5)
shape that takes a maximum value a0 at half length of 2
a dx 2 dx 2 dx dx 2
1250 I.G. Raftoyiannis, J.Ch. Ermopoulos / Engineering Structures 27 (2005) 12481257

The coefficients c1 , c2 , and c3 in Eq. (4) are determined T B = TB 3 /E I0 . Expanding Eqs. (11) through (14) and
from the boundary conditions w0 (a) = w0 (a + ) = 0 and after some manipulation and elimination of constant D, the
w0 (a + /2) = a0 , and hence, the initial imperfection shape following linear system of equations in non-dimensional
w0 (x) is described by the following relation: form is obtained:

a0   1
w0 (x) = 4 2 x 2 (2a + ) x + a (a + ) . (6) + R A  A + R A  B + R A C = 2C p (1 R A /)
2
 2
The value of a0 can be obtained using the procedure of (17)
 
EC3, Part 1.1 (5.5.1.3 and Fig. 5.5.1) [11], through which an
TB 1 +  cos( ln(1 + )) 1 A
appropriate equivalent initial bow imperfection is calculated
for various cases of non-uniform members. + T B 1 +  sin( ln(1 + ))B + (T B 2 )C
The solution of the homogeneous part of Eq. (5) is 2
   = C p [4 + 2 2 / T B ((1 + )2 1)/ ] (18)
x x  x  
w(x) = A cos ln + B sin ln RB 1
a a a cos( ln(1 + )) sin( ln(1 + ))
+C x + D (7) 1+ 2


where
  2 1 +  cos( ln(1 + )) A
Na 2 1 2 1 N2  
= = , 2
= , =
E I0 4 
2 4 E I0 a RB 1
+ cos( ln(1 + )) + sin( ln(1 + ))
1+ 2
and A, B, C, D are integration constants to be evaluated 
from the boundary conditions.
In order to determine a particular solution w p (x) of 2 1 +  sin( ln(1 + )) B + R B C
Eq. (5), the curvature d2 w0 /dx 2 = 8a0/2 is introduced  
into Eq. (5): RB
  = e 2C p (1 + ) +
2 2
(1 + ) (19)

E I0 d 2 2d w d2 w
2 a0
x + N = 8N 2 . (8)
2
a dx 2 dx 2 dx 2  where A, B, and C are non-dimensional coefficients with
respect to length a, i.e., A = A/a, B = B/a, and
For a particular solution w p (x) = C p x 2 the coefficient C = C. Thus, a linear system of three equations with
C p can be determined by substitution into Eq. (5), which three unknowns, namely A, B, and C, is obtained while
leads to the dimensionless external load 2 corresponds to known
4 2 a0 values. For given values of the external load 2 , the system
Cp = . (9)
2
2
+ 2 2 of Eqs. (17)(19) is solved and the values of the constants
A, B, and C are determined. Then, the lateral deflection
Thus, the general solution of Eq. (5) is w(x) at any point of the column is determined using
  
x x  x  Eq. (10). The loaddeflection curve is nonlinear and the
w= A cos ln + B sin ln elastic critical load el2 of the column is the load associated
a a a
with vanishing of the determinant of the coefficients.
+ C x + D + C p x 2. (10)
The boundary conditions for the problem can be stated as 2.2. Stepped column
follows:
Consider the column AD, shown in Fig. 1(b), which has
w(a) = 0 (11) total length  and consists of three parts with lengths 1 , 2 ,
M(a) + R A w (a) = 0 (12) and 3 , where  = 1 +2 +3 . Each part has constant cross-
sectional height h 1 , h 2 , and h 3 , and corresponding bending
V (a + ) + T A w(a + ) = 0 (13)
stiffness E I1 , E I2 and E I3 , respectively. The boundary
M(a + ) R B w (a + ) N e = 0 (14) conditions at the supports A and D are the same as in 2.1,
where while the axial load N (where N = N1 + N2 + N3 ) is
applied eccentrically to column AD at a distance e, and the
E I0 x 2 
M(x) = w (x) (15) loads N2 and N3 are also eccentrically applied at distances
a2 e2 and e3 , respectively. The column is again considered to
E I0
V (x) = 2 [x 2 w (x) + 2xw (x)] Nw (x). (16) have an initial imperfection described by the second order
a parabola Eq. (4). The maximum imperfection magnitude a0
In order to express equilibrium using non-dimensional occurs at /2. Three coordinate systems, (x 1 , w1 ), (x 2 , w2 ),
quantities, the following terms are introduced: e = e/, w = and (x 3 , w3 ), are adopted for each part of the column; see
w/, a 0 = a0 /, R A = R A /E I0 , R B = R B /E I0 , Fig. 1(b). Thus, the governing equations for buckling now
I.G. Raftoyiannis, J.Ch. Ermopoulos / Engineering Structures 27 (2005) 12481257 1251

2
become: = 4a0 1 (38)
 
d2 d2 wi d2 wi d2 w0,i A1 1 sin 1 + B 1 1 cos 1 + C 1 1 B 2 2 1 /2
+ ki2 2 = ki2 (i = 1, 2, 3) (20) 2
dx i2 dx i2 dx i dx i2 C 2 1 = 8a 0 1 (39)
where k12 = N1 /E I1 , k22 = (N1 + N2 )/E I2 , and k32 = A2 cos 2 + B 2 sin 2 + C 2 2 + D 2 A3 D 3
2
(N1 + N2 + N3 )/E I3 are the axial forces in each part of = 4a0 2 (40)
the column, and w0,1 , w0,2 and w0,3 are the expressions A2 2 sin 2 + B 2 2 cos 2 + C 2 2 B 3 3 2 /3
of the initial imperfection parabolic shape w0 (x) for the
coordinate system of each part, respectively. The solution of C 3 2 = 8a 0 2 (41)
2
the homogeneous part of Eq. (20) is A1 12 + B 1 1 R A + C 1 R A 1 = 8a 0 1 (42)
wi (x i ) = Ai cos ki x i + Bi sin ki x i + Ci x i + Di A3 (32 cos 3 + R D 3 sin 3 ) B 3 (32 sin 3
(i = 1, 2, 3) (21) R D 3 cos 3 ) + C 3 R D 3
2 
where Ai , Bi , Ci and Di (i = 1, 2, 3) are integration = 8a0 3 1 + R D 32 e (43)
constants to be evaluated from the boundary conditions. A3 T D cos 3 + B 3 T D sin 3 + C 3 (T D 3 32 3 )
Following the same procedure as previously and observing 2
T D D 3 = 4a0 3 (T D 232 ) (44)
that the initial imperfection curvature is d2 w0,i /dx i2 =
2 2
8a0 /2 for all three parts of the column, the general A1 12 cos 1 B 1 12 sin 1 + A2r 2 22 1 /2
solution of Eq. (20) is derived: 2
= 8a 0 1 (r 2 1) + 12 p2 e2 /r 2 (45)
wi (x i ) = Ai cos ki x i + Bi sin ki x i 3 2 2
C 1 12 1 + C 2 22r 2 1 /2 = 8a 0 12 1 (46)
4a0
+ Ci x i + Di + 2 x i2 (i = 1, 2, 3). (22) 2
r 3 2
 A2 22 sin 2 B 2 22 cos 2 + A3 32
The boundary conditions for the stepped column can be r 2 2
3
stated as follows:
2
2 r 3  1
= 8a 0 2 1 + e3 12 22 (47)
w1 (0) = 0 (23) r2 1 r 2
w1 (1 ) = w2 (0) (24) 3
r 3 2
w1 (1 ) = w2 (0)
2 2
(25) C 2 22 2 + C 3 32 = 8a0 22 2 (48)
r 2 2
w2 (2 ) = w3 (0) (26) 3

w2 (2 ) = w3 (0) (27) where Ai , B i , C i and D i (i = 1, 2, 3) are non-dimensional


M1 (0) + R A w1 (0) = 0 (28) coefficients with respect to length , i.e., Ai = Ai /, B i =
Bi /, C i = Ci and D i = Di /. Thus, a linear system of 12
M3 (3 ) R D w3 (3 ) Ne=0 (29) equations with 12 unknowns is obtained and solved for given
V3 (3 ) + TD w3 (3 ) = 0 (30) values of the external load N. The lateral deflection wi (x i )
M1 (1 ) + M2 (0) N2 e2 = 0 (31) at any point of the column is determined using Eq. (22).
V1 (1 ) V2 (0) = 0 (32)
M2 (2 ) + M3 (0) N3 e3 = 0 (33) 3. Failure criterion
V2 (2 ) V3 (0) = 0 (34)
At this point, a plasticity criterion is introduced. It can
where be easily understood that the member will never reach the
Mi (x i ) = E Ii wi (x i ) (35) elastic critical load el2 due to its geometrical characteristics,
but instead material failure will occur for much smaller
Vi (x i ) = E Ii wi (x i ) Ni wi (x i ). (36) values of the applied load N. Thus, the ultimate load is
In order to express equilibrium using non-dimensional the one that corresponds to yielding of the cross-section for
quantities, the following terms are introduced: e = a yield stress f y . The plasticity criterion is expressed as
e/, e2 = e2 /, e3 = e3 /, a 0 = a0 /, R A = follows:
R A 1 /E I1 , R D = R D 3 /E I3 , T D = TD 33 /E I3 , r 2 = Nsd Nsd (e + wT )
+ 1. (49)
I2 /I1 , r 3 = I3 /I1 , i = i / and i2 = ki 2i (with N Rd (x) M Rd (x)
i = 1, 2, 3). Expanding Eqs. (23)(34) and after some Considering the tapered column (Fig. 1(a)) and denoting
manipulation, the following linear system of equations in with h 0 and h m the flange distances at the smaller end
non-dimensional form is obtained: (x = a) and the half-length (x = a + /2) respectively, and
A1 + D 1 = 0 (37) taking also into account that I = Ah 2 /4, the slenderness
2 42 42
A1 cos 1 + B 1 sin 1 + C 1 1 + D 1 A2 D 2 at these two positions 20 = A I0 = 2 and m = h 2 is
2
h0 m
1252 I.G. Raftoyiannis, J.Ch. Ermopoulos / Engineering Structures 27 (2005) 12481257

Fig. 2. (a) Tapered column finite element model, (b) stepped column finite
element model, and (c) gusset plate detail.

defined. Thus, the failure criterion Eq. (49) at any position x


of the tapered column can be stated as
1 2pl
2(e+w T (x))
0 (50)
1+ 1 fy 2
h 0 x M E 0

in which h 0 = h 0 /, h m = h m /, x = x/, w T = wT /,


Fig. 3. The von-Mises stresses in (a) a tapered column model, and (b) a
E is the modulus of elasticity, M is the partial safety factor
stepped column model.
according to EC3 [9], and 2pl is the load corresponding to
plastic failure. In the case of the stepped column (Fig. 1(b)),
the failure criterion Eq. (49) at any position x of the column about the weak axis. Both flanges and web are modeled with
can be stated as follows: flat quadrilateral elements oriented in the three dimensional
 
2 (e + w T (x)) 1 fy 2 space so as to accurately represent the actual structure. The
pl 1 +
2
(51)
hi M E i model geometry, created by Superdraw, is shown in Fig. 2(a)
for a tapered column, and in Fig. 2(b) for a stepped column.
in which h i = h i / and e = e/. A gusset plate is placed at both ends of the tapered column as
well as in the intermediate positions of cross-sectional height
4. Nonlinear finite element analyses changing in order to account for the modeling of load appli-
cation and the boundary conditions. Note that the models are
Some representative cases of non-uniform columns with divided into a large number of elements so that sufficiently
initial imperfection and various geometrical characteristics accurate results are obtained. A load P is applied at a spec-
are also studied via the finite element method. For those ified node acting downwards, while the loading eccentricity
who are familiar with numerical methods, a nonlinear fi- is implemented by a proper mesh refinement so that the node
nite element analysis is also employed for obtaining the where the load P acts lies on distance e from the centroid.
plastic loads and studying the buckling behavior of the col- A nonlinear analysis is performed in each column case,
umn. For this purpose, the finite element package Algor is where an incremental procedure is employed for the applied
utilized. With the aid of the Superdraw editor of Algor, load until yielding of flanges is reached. The plastic load
the column is modeled as a space model that can buckle in to be used for comparison with the one determined from
Y Z -plane, where the displacements in Y -direction are re- the analytical model corresponds to yielding of both flanges
strained for some specific nodes in order to prevent buckling where the von Mises yield criterion is employed. Next, we
I.G. Raftoyiannis, J.Ch. Ermopoulos / Engineering Structures 27 (2005) 12481257 1253

Fig. 4. Loaddeflection curves (w, 2 ) for the simply supported case with a 0 = 0.00 and m = 200.

transfer to the Nonlinear Decoder editor of Algor, where the flanges, while the web is still in the elastic region. This is
the solution technique and the loading parameters are set. the main reason for slightly different plastic loads obtained
We define for the model geometrical nonlinearity with large via the finite element method compared to the ones obtained
displacements, we choose the updated Lagrange method for by the analytical approach. Such a comparison is presented
solution of the nonlinear problem, and we finally define the in Figs. 7(a)7(c) and Figs. 8(a)8(c), where the maximum
loading step size as well as the tolerance values. Execution of deviation is 6%.
the Nonlinear Decoder creates the input file for the nonlinear It is worth noticing that for the cases of columns with
finite element solver. initial imperfections there is adequacy and reliability of
The nonlinear solver APAK0 of the Algor package is the results obtained by the proposed technique, which is
called and the nonlinear solution is performed. The results essentially analytic and very simple in contrast to the finite
are stored in the output file and can be viewed with the aid of element method, where the analysis is rather complex and
the Nonlinear Superview editor of Algor. In Fig. 3(a), the cumbersome.
von Mises stresses obtained via the finite element method
are shown for a tapered column with length  = 7.00 m, 5. Numerical results
taper length ratio  = 2/3, imperfection a0 = 5 cm, and
eccentricity e = 20 cm. In Fig. 3(b) the same plot is shown For the tapered column case, the dimensionless loads el2
for a stepped column made from three equal-length parts and and 2pl are determined for various values of the length ratio
total length  = 7.50 m, step ratios r2 = 1.20, r3 = 1.44, , the imperfection ratio a 0 , the eccentricity e, the mean
initial imperfection a0 = 5 cm, and eccentricity e = 20 cm. slenderness m , and the support conditions R A , T B and R B .
Note that the plastic zone extends locally to the full width of In Fig. 4, the loaddeflection curves (w, 2 ) for the simply
1254 I.G. Raftoyiannis, J.Ch. Ermopoulos / Engineering Structures 27 (2005) 12481257

Fig. 5. Loaddeflection curves (w, 2 ) for R A = R B = 0, T B = with m = 200 and a 0 = 0.02.

supported case with m = 200 and a 0 = 0.00 are shown for case, one can see in Fig. 6 the loaddeflection curves (w, 2 )
various values of the length ratio  and the eccentricity ratio for the simply supported case with 1 = 100, a 0 = 0.02 and
e, where w = wx=a+l/2 /. In Fig. 5, the loaddeflection various values of the step ratios r2 and r3 and the eccentricity
curves (w, 2 ) for the simply supported case with m = 200 ratio e.
and a 0 = 0.02 are shown for various values of the length In Figs. 7(a)7(c), a comparison between the plastic loads
ratio  and the eccentricity ratio e. For the stepped column obtained via the finite element method and the analytical
I.G. Raftoyiannis, J.Ch. Ermopoulos / Engineering Structures 27 (2005) 12481257 1255

Fig. 6. Loaddeflection curves (w, 2 ) for the simply supported case with a 0 = 0.02 and 1 = 100.

approach is shown for the simply supported column with supported column with 1 = 100 for various values of the
m = 100 for various values of the length ratio  and step ratios r2 and r3 and the imperfection ratio a 0 .
the imperfection ratio a 0 . In Figs. 8(a)8(c), a comparison The usefulness of the approach presented herein is
between the plastic loads obtained via the finite element demonstrated through the following numerical examples.
method and the analytical approach is shown for the simply Consider the tapered column shown in Fig. 9(a). The column
1256 I.G. Raftoyiannis, J.Ch. Ermopoulos / Engineering Structures 27 (2005) 12481257

Fig. 8(a). Plastic loads 2pl for a stepped column with a 0 = 0 and various
step ratios r2 and r3 .
Fig. 7(a). Plastic loads 2pl for a tapered column with a 0 = 0 and various
length ratios .

Fig. 8(b). Plastic loads 2pl for a stepped column with a 0 = 0.02 and various
step ratios r2 and r3 .

Fig. 7(b). Plastic loads 2pl for a tapered column with a 0 = 0.02 and various
length ratios .

Fig. 8(c). Plastic loads 2pl for a stepped column with a 0 = 0.05 and various
step ratios r2 and r3 .

46.67 and m = 35. The column is assumed to have an initial


imperfection a 0 = 0.01. The system of Eqs. (17)(19) and
the plasticity criterion Eq. (50) gives 2pl = 2.193, that is
N pl = 2.193EI0 /2 = 3045 kN.
Fig. 7(c). Plastic loads 2pl for a tapered column with a 0 = 0.05 and various
As a second example, let us consider the stepped column
length ratios .
shown in Fig. 9(b). The column has length  = 9.00 m
and consists of three equal length parts (i.e., 1 = 2 =
has length  = 7.00 m and consists of two parts with 3 = 3.00 m). Each part consists of two sections, with
area A/2 = 72 cm2 , each connected together to form area A/2 = 72 cm2 each, connected together to form a
a tapered member with length ratio  = 2/3. The load uniform member. The load is applied eccentrically on the
is applied eccentrically on the column with e = 20 cm; column with e = 18 cm; thus, the eccentricity ratio is
thus, the eccentricity ratio is e = 20/700 = 0.02857. e = 18/900 = 0.02. The rotational spring constant is taken
The rotational spring constant is taken R B = 1.20. The as R B = 1.20. The distances between parts are h 1 = 30 cm,
distance between parts at the small end is h 0 = 30 cm, h 2 = 40 cm and h 3 = 50 cm. Thus, the moments of
while at half length it is h m = 40 cm. Thus, the moments inertia are I1 = 32 400 cm4 , I2 = 57 600 cm4 and
of inertia are I0 = 32 400 cm4 and Im = 57 600 cm4 , I3 = 90 000 cm4 and the corresponding slendernesses are
and subsequently the corresponding slendernesses are 0 = 1 = 60, 2 = 45 and 3 = 36. The column has an initial
I.G. Raftoyiannis, J.Ch. Ermopoulos / Engineering Structures 27 (2005) 12481257 1257

solution and in combination with the plasticity criterion


presented herein can be used for the design of steel columns
with tapered or stepped cross-sections. The problem is
formulated in such a manner that covers most of the cases
met in practical applications. The system of equations as
well as the plasticity criterion for the determination of
the plastic critical load is very simple to formulate in a
personal computer, and the column carrying capacity can be
easily determined in each particular case, avoiding the more
detailed modeling with finite elements.

References
Fig. 9. Geometrical characteristics of (a) a tapered column, and (b) a stepped
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