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Journal of Constructional Steel Research 57 (2001) 491516

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Strength of compressed rectangular plates


subjected to lateral pressure
*
A.P. Teixeira, C. Guedes Soares
Unit of Marine Technology and Engineering, Technical University of Lisbon, Instituto Superior
Tecnico, Av. Rovisco Pais, 1049-001 Lisboa, Portugal

Received 7 August 2000; accepted 23 November 2000

Abstract

This paper presents the results of a parametric study to quantify the effect of lateral pressure
on the collapse of square and rectangular steel plates under a predominantly compressive load.
The load-shortening behaviour of square and rectangular plates under the combined effect of
longitudinal compression and lateral pressure were obtained using a general-purpose non-linear
finite element code for different breadth to thickness ratios. Finally design curves are proposed
to predict the collapse strength of the compressed plates under lateral pressure. 2001 Elsevier
Science Ltd. All rights reserved.

Keywords: Plate collapse; Lateral pressure; In-plane compression; Design curves

1. Introduction

The behaviour of plate elements under compressive loads has been studied for
many years. Major developments occurred during the early 1970s with the develop-
ment of numerical procedures based on finite differences and on finite-elements. It
then became possible to study realistic cases of elasto-plastic collapse of plates with
large deflections. Several parametric studies have been performed to describe the
effect of different parameters on the collapse strength, including the initial distortions
and residual stresses [5,11,16,17,8,21,14]. Most of the studies have dealt with uniax-
ial loads, but some have considered the collapse resistance under biaxial loads as
reviewed in Ref. [12].

* Corresponding author.

0143-974X/01/$ - see front matter 2001 Elsevier Science Ltd. All rights reserved.
PII: S 0 1 4 3 - 9 7 4 X ( 0 0 ) 0 0 0 3 3 - X
492 A.P. Teixeira, C. Guedes Soares / Journal of Constructional Steel Research 57 (2001) 491516

Although the main load component for the ship deck and bottom structures is the
axial and biaxial compression, the external bottom plating and the lower parts of the
side shells can in addition be subjected to relatively high external lateral pressure
and the inner bottom and inner longitudinal bulkheads to lateral pressure loads from
the cargo.
In general, lateral pressure on panels causes out-of-plane displacements in a mode
that is one half wave in both directions. These out-of-plane deflections will decrease
the plate strength whenever they coincide with the main buckling mode. However,
when this is not the case the presence of lateral pressure can in fact increase the
ultimate strength of the plate. For example for long plates, which have a primary
buckling mode m1, the lateral load will force the lower mode (m=1) leading to an
increase of the plate strength. Although there are some circumstances that have the
effect of raising the buckling stress, they should be ignored when calculating the
ultimate strength of plates since they are not a permanent and reliable feature of
the structure.
When dealing with this phenomenon one must distinguish between the two differ-
ent cases. Under moderate in-plane compression, such that the compressive stress is
well below any value that would of itself cause any type of collapse, the role of the
in-plane compression only magnifies the deflections and stresses caused by the lateral
load. If the in-plane compression is large, then the analysis is concerned with the
question of the actual buckling and/or collapse of the plate. In this case it is important
to determine the most critical or primary buckling mode, that is, the shape of buckling
deflection that corresponds to the lowest value of critical stress.
There are only a few publications dealing with this complicated problem, although
one is able to find some analytical, numerical and experimental results in the litera-
ture. Steen and Valsgard [19] presented a design method for plates subjected to
biaxial compression and lateral pressure, which was based on deriving simplified
non-linear elastic response curves for the in-plane and laterally loaded cases and
combining the local stresses obtained into an equivalent stress criterion. The elastic
buckling and the initial postbuckling behaviour of plates was described by the pertur-
bation theory of Budiansky [4], which is based on the non-linear Von Karman equa-
tions and includes the effect of geometrical imperfections. The non-linear elastic
behaviour of the plate under lateral load was then addressed. The stresses correspond-
ing to both types of behaviour are assessed and combined in a Von Mises equivalent
stress, which is used as a criterion for the initial yield and the ultimate collapse load.
Interaction curves are provided for square plates of different slenderness and degree
of initial imperfection.
Dier and Dowling [7] conducted an extensive numerical study dealing with plates
with an aspect ratio of 3 and with square plates with simply supported and fully
clamped boundary conditions subjected to biaxial compression. The plates had b/t
ratios of 40, 60 and 80 and different levels of initial imperfections and residual
stresses. The results were obtained for different levels of lateral pressure and they
were shown in the form of interaction curves.
Experimental results are also scarce. Becker and Colao [2] conducted some tests
on the square tubes subjected to transverse load and internal pressure. Further experi-
A.P. Teixeira, C. Guedes Soares / Journal of Constructional Steel Research 57 (2001) 491516 493

mental results were presented by Yoshiki et al. [25], Yamamoto et al. [24] and
Okada et al. [18], although all of them are of plates under an uniaxial load and
lateral pressure.
Davidson et al. [6] formulated a design model for plate panels subjected to the
combined effect of biaxial compression and lateral pressure based on a simple large
deflection elastic analysis. Interaction curves for resistance at an average panel strain
equal to yield strain and for maximum resistance were derived assuming that the
compressive strength of plates reduces linearly with increasing levels of lateral press-
ure.
Recently, Guedes Soares and Gordo [12] have compared different proposals to
model the collapse of plates under biaxial compression and also lateral pressure with
experimental results and with predictions of numerical codes. Strength assessment
formulas were derived based on these results that were mainly of plates subjected
to biaxial compression.
With the frequent longitudinal stiffening in ship structures, it has became important
to model situations of a structure such as a bottom under the effect of lateral pressure,
which is then subjected to a longitudinal compressive load that results from the
longitudinal bending of the hull girder. In this situation, the collapse only occurs in
the longitudinal direction and the large out-of-plane deformations developed due to
the combined effect of lateral pressure and longitudinal compression will induce
tensile forces in the transverse edge of the plates elements. This special state of
stress at collapse is not well represented by the usual design equations and interaction
formulas used to predict the collapse strength of the plates.
The purpose of this paper is therefore to study the effect of lateral pressure on
the ultimate compressive strength of unstiffened square and rectangular plates with
transverse edges restrained to in-plane displacements subjected to longitudinal com-
pression. Calculations are presented concerning the effect of different levels of lateral
pressure on the strength of square and rectangular plates of different slendernesses
with initial imperfections. Interaction curves are also derived for plates that are
initially subjected to lateral pressure and later to in-plane longitudinal compression.

2. Effect of lateral pressure on the ultimate compressive strength of plates

Different proposals have been put forward to model the collapse of plates that
result from the interaction between longitudinal and transverse stresses in a manner
that is suitable for design in general and for code specifications in particular [10].
The approach that has been generally adopted consists of predicting the longitudinal
and the transverse stresses in a plate as a function of plate slenderness and of other
parameters like the aspect ratio and eventual initial defects. The equivalent stress in
the plate is determined from a combination of the stress components. Thus, interac-
tion curves have been proposed to combine the non-dimensional longitudinal stress
ratio Rx=sx/sxu with the non-dimensional transverse stress ratio Ry=sy/syu where the
subscript u indicates ultimate strength.
It should be noticed that different formulations of sxu and syu have been advanced
494 A.P. Teixeira, C. Guedes Soares / Journal of Constructional Steel Research 57 (2001) 491516

by the authors that have proposed the interaction curves. Thus each of the stress
ratios Rx and Ry indicated hereafter should be referred to the original authors formu-
lations of longitudinal and of transverse strength, that is, Rx=Tx/fxu and Ry=Ty/fyu,
where Tx=sx/so and Ty=sy/so.
One expression that has been used in the Det norske Veritas (DnV) rules, Amer-
ican Bureau of Shipping (ABS) rules and in the British Standard BS.5400 is the
quadratic interaction:
R2x R2y 1 (1)
which represents a circle in the RxRy plane. DnV proposed as normalising strengths
Faulkners formula [9] in the longitudinal direction and Valsgards formula [22] in
the transverse direction, which are respectively:
2 1
fxu 2 for b1 and fxu1 for b1 (2)
b b
and:

fyu
fxu
a
1
0.08 1 2
b
2
1
1
a
(3)

where fxu is given by Eq. (2), a is the plate aspect ratio and b its slenderness.
The rules of the ABS use the same interaction formula but with different normalis-
ing strengths. They prefer to use a formulation based on the Bryan elastic buckling
stress combined with the JohnsonOstenfeld approach to account for the effect of
plastic deformation. The buckling strength scr of a plate is equal to the elastic buck-
ling strength se:
se p2 K
for se0.5so (4)
so 12(1n ) b2
2

when buckling occurs in the elastic range i.e. when se0.5so. The Poissons ratio
n is 0.3 for steel plates and the buckling coefficient K accounts for the type of loading
and of boundary conditions. For a wide plate with linearly varying transverse loading
it is given by Bleich [3]:

K 1 1 2 2.1
a2 y+1.1
0y1 (5)

where the factor is such that when the stresses on one transverse edge of the plate
are s on the other one they are ys. Thus for plates under uniform compressive
stresses y=1. For longitudinal loading with uniform applied stresses (y=1) K
becomes equal to 4. It was shown by Guedes Soares and Gordo [13] that this formu-
lation leads to unconservative designs, that is, the collapse stress is overestimated.
When the predicted strength is greater than half the yield stress, the collapse
strength is given by:
scr so
1 for se0.5so (6)
so 4se
A.P. Teixeira, C. Guedes Soares / Journal of Constructional Steel Research 57 (2001) 491516 495

which implies an elasto-plastic collapse.


Other authors have proposed parabolic curves, for example [10]:
RxR2y 1. (7)
In this case the ultimate transverse strength should be computed by the expression
of the same author [10]:

fyu
0.9 1.9

b2 ba
0.9
1 2
b
(8)

Valsgard [23] generalised this expression by including cross terms and making the
exponent of Rx a variable g:
RgxhRxRyR2y 1 (9)
where h0 is a constant. The proposed normalising equations are (2) and (3),
respectively, for the longitudinal and transverse directions. On the basis of his
numerical results on a plate with aspect ratio of 3, Valsgard proposed the following
design curve:
Rx0.25RxRyR2y 1 (10)
which corresponds in fact to g=1 and h=0.25.
Dier and Dowling [7] have considered a more comprehensive treatment, which
would also be applicable to cases in which one of the load components was tensile.
This implies that they are considering the interaction curve not only in the first
quadrant of the RxRy plane (biaxial compression), but also in the others (biaxial
tension). They proposed:
R2x 0.45RxRyR2y 1 (11)
which includes a positive contribution of the cross terms.
In view of all the uncertainty of the results and the different interaction curves
available, Stonor et al. [20] proposed a lower bound curve to the existing data, which
turned out to be:
x Ry 1
R1.5 1.5
(12)
Very stocky plates should behave according to the von Mises equation, which was
generalised in terms of the ultimate stress in each direction instead of the yield stress:
R2x RxRyR2y 1 (13)
The choice of the adequated normalising equations, fux and fuy, should make Eq.
(13) an upper bound curve.
Guedes Soares and Gordo [12] have compared the interaction curves just described
with experimental results and with predictions of numerical codes, suggesting that
the Von Mises curve [Eq. (13)] should be used for stocky plates (b1) and the
circular interaction curve [Eq. (1)] for the other plates.
The effect of lateral pressure on plate collapse strength is usually accounted for
496 A.P. Teixeira, C. Guedes Soares / Journal of Constructional Steel Research 57 (2001) 491516

by including an additional term RQ to the interaction equation used for biaxial load.
Different options have been considered and the one finally adopted has the form:
RRQ0 (14)
where R is obtained by the quadratic interaction [Eq. (1)].
The effect of lateral pressure has been modelled by a regression equation, depen-
dent on the plate slenderness b and on a non-dimensional lateral pressure parameter
QL. Different types of relations were tested and the one that showed best results was
of the form:
RQABQLb2 (15)

Dier and Dowling [7] have proposed that the non-dimensional lateral pressure
parameter could be represented by:
q oE
QL 2 (16)
so
where qo is the intensity of the lateral pressure. On the other hand, the Japanese
authors [18,24,25] use an alternative formulation:
qob4
QLJ 4 QLb4 (17)
Et
which includes also some information on plate geometry. The first formulation was
adopted here because it is independent of the plate geometry.
Based on the regression study on data of various sources of ultimate strength of
plates subjected mainly to biaxial loads and lateral pressure, Guedes Soares and
Gordo [12] proposed the following equation
RQ1.00.116QLb2 (18)

3. Numerical results

The numerical calculations were performed using asasnl software [1]. This is a
general-purpose non-linear finite element code in which large displacement effects
are handled using an updated Lagrangian formulation with inclusion of geometric
stiffness terms for plate elements. The calculation of the element stiffness can be
either elastic or elasto-plastic, depending whether plasticity defined by the Von Mises
yield criteria has occurred at an integration point.
The calculations were conducted for several simply supported plates with aspect
ratio of 1 and 3, and slenderness (b/t) from 40 to 100. The lateral pressure load is
applied on the plate surface, keeping the boundary conditions of the plate restrained
A.P. Teixeira, C. Guedes Soares / Journal of Constructional Steel Research 57 (2001) 491516 497

to displacements in the plane. The stress level will rise but the collapse of the plate
only occurs by imposing a longitudinal displacement to the edge of the plate (Fig. 1).
An average level of initial geometric imperfections was considered in the
present study
wmax
0.10b2 (19)
t
where b is the plate slenderness given by:

E
b so
b (20)
t
where so and E are the yield stress and Youngs modulus, respectively.
The shape of the initial imperfections is represented by a Fourier series:

w
m n
dmnsin
mpx npy
a
sin
b
(21)

where a and b are the plate dimensions and mn is the amplitude of the components.
In each calculation the initial distortion of the plate was represented by a shape
with only one component of this series. However, each type of plate was considered
twice with a different initial distortion described by the order (m, n) of the Fourier
component of the initial distortions in order to quantify the sensitivity to this para-
meter. Thus all plates were run with the pair (m=1; n=1) and some of them with the
pair (m=a/b; n=1).
Three levels of pressure were considered: Po=0.1 MPa, Po=0.2 MPa and Po=0.4
MPa and it was assumed that lateral pressure was applied first and remained constant
during the subsequent application of the compressive load.
Table 1 describes the finite element model used to derive the strength curves for
plates subjected to lateral pressure.

4. Strength curves for plates subjected to lateral pressure

When lateral pressure and in-plane compression are applied together, each of these
loads can alter the effect, which the other would have if it were acting alone. If only

Fig. 1. Imposed displacements and boundary conditions for the plate model.
498 A.P. Teixeira, C. Guedes Soares / Journal of Constructional Steel Research 57 (2001) 491516

Table 1
Geometric modelling

a (mm) b (mm) Mode of t (mm) b/t Mild steel


imperfection

b wmax (mm)

1000 1000 m=1 25.0 40 1.34 4.5


n=1 16.7 60 2.01 6.7
3000 m=1 and 3 12.5 80 2.68 9.0
n=1 10.0 100 3.35 11.2

lateral pressure is applied, it will induce lateral deflection and consequently tensile
forces on its restrained boundaries. Fig. 2 illustrates the curves of normalised stress
as function of the level of lateral pressure obtained for this case. The figure clearly
shows that the plate can be loaded beyond its elastic limit before it fails in any
significant way, or before the deformation becomes unacceptably large.
Considering now that in-plane longitudinal compressive loads are applied to a
plate initially subjected to lateral pressure two different cases can occur. While mod-
erate in-plane compression merely magnifies the deflections and the stresses caused
by the lateral pressure, large in-plane compression assumes a primary importance
and cannot be regarded as simply a magnifying effect. In this case the ultimate
compressive strength of plates subjected to lateral pressure loads should be evaluated.
The procedure used to account for lateral pressure consists of initially applying
the lateral pressure load to the plate and then imposing a longitudinal compression
in its plane so as to produce the load deflection curves. This loading sequence aims
at modelling a situation of a structure, such as a bottom structure of a ship, which

Fig. 2. Axial stresslateral pressure curves for different plate slenderness.


A.P. Teixeira, C. Guedes Soares / Journal of Constructional Steel Research 57 (2001) 491516 499

is subjected to a longitudinal compressive load that results from longitudinal bending


of the hull girder.
In some situations a different load sequence can occur. For example, when plate
elements subjected to an operational loading condition are then submitted to lateral
pressure load that result from cargo or from an accidental situation. Fig. 3 compares
the behaviour of a plate initially loaded with lateral pressure and then in-plane com-
pression (PD) and four other cases in which the lateral pressure loading is applied
at four different levels of in-plane compression (curves DPD1 to DPD4). The figure
clearly shows that after the lateral load has been applied the dotted line falls to the
full line and from that moment the same behaviour is obtained for all the cases.

4.1. Square plates

Before starting this study the effect of different boundary conditions on the results
was analysed by considering a simply supported square plate subjected to longitudi-
nal compression with the longitudinal edges restrained and then unrestrained against
any transverse contractions.
It is known that the effect of the boundary conditions on the collapse of strength
of plates cannot be considered of the same type for the whole range of variation of
parameters. It depends on plate slenderness, on the shape of initial imperfections as
well as on the boundary conditions as shown by Guedes Soares and Kmiecik [15].
This effect is illustrated in Fig. 4 and shows the longitudinal stressdisplacement
curves of different plate slendernesses considering the longitudinal edges restrained
and unrestrained against transverse contraction. It is clear that the loss of longitudinal
strength for the unrestrained case increases for increasing plate slenderness.
However, restraining the longitudinal plate edge when applying the longitudinal
compression will induce stress levels on the transverse direction and therefore the

Fig. 3. Behaviour of square plate (b/t=60) under compression with lateral pressure of 0.2 MPa applied
at different levels of in-plane compression.
500 A.P. Teixeira, C. Guedes Soares / Journal of Constructional Steel Research 57 (2001) 491516

Fig. 4. Longitudinal normalised stressdisplacement curves for restrained () and unrestrained (- - -)


longitudinal plate edge.

biaxial state of stress must be analysed as illustrated in Fig. 5. It is interesting to


see from Fig. 5 that the stress developed in the transverse direction is negative when
b/t60, which means that the out-of-plane deformations of slender plates induces
tension on its transversal edge.
Considering now the plates subjected to lateral pressure, one can see in Fig. 6
that the ultimate capacity of the plate of b/t=40 is almost unaffected by changing
its boundary condition even for increasing levels of lateral pressure. However, for
slender plates the strength reduction when passing from the restrained to the unre-
strained case is magnified by the level of lateral pressure.

Fig. 5. Longitudinal () and transversal (- - -) normalised stressdisplacement curves for restrained


longitudinal plate edge.
A.P. Teixeira, C. Guedes Soares / Journal of Constructional Steel Research 57 (2001) 491516 501

Fig. 6. Ultimate longitudinal strength of restrained () and unrestrained (- - -) square plates subjected
to lateral pressure.

Figs. 7 and 8 show the plate behaviour for a lateral pressure of 0.1 and 0.2 MPa
(i.e. 10 and 20 m water depth), respectively. It can be observed that, initially the
plates are in tension due to the effect of the lateral pressure but the increasing com-
pression, tend to create a compression stress state in the plates. This effect is much
more clear when high levels of lateral pressure are applied on slender plates as shown
in Fig. 10.
For slender plates loaded with high levels of lateral pressure the compressive load
is compensated by the large out-of-plane deformations due to the pressure loading,
which decrease the average compressive stress. In spite of these low levels of
stresses, square plates of high slenderness show very large out-of-plane deformations
at the collapse when the compression is associated with lateral pressure.

Fig. 7. Behaviour of square plates under compression with applied lateral pressure of 0.1 MPa.
502 A.P. Teixeira, C. Guedes Soares / Journal of Constructional Steel Research 57 (2001) 491516

Fig. 8. Behaviour of square plates under compression with applied lateral pressure of 0.2 MPa.

Figs. 9 and 10 show the effect of different levels of lateral pressure on the behav-
iour of square plates with a breadth to thickness ratio of 40 and 80, respectively. It
can be seen that for typical levels of lateral pressure that are between 10 and 20 m
of water depth, the ultimate strength decreases in about 9 and 14% for a plate of
b/t=40 and 14 and 24% for a plate of b/t=80.
One may conclude that the presence of lateral pressure do not change significantly
the form of the average stressdisplacement curve for the square plate and, thus, the
curve with lateral pressure may be estimated from the ones without pressure by
introducing a correction factor calculated as a function of the level of pressure and
also of the plate slenderness.

Fig. 9. Behaviour of square plates under longitudinal compression with applied lateral pressure. Effect
of increasing lateral pressure on plates of b/t=40.
A.P. Teixeira, C. Guedes Soares / Journal of Constructional Steel Research 57 (2001) 491516 503

Fig. 10. Behaviour of square plates under longitudinal compression with applied lateral pressure. Effect
of increasing lateral pressure on plates of b/t=80.

4.2. Rectangular plates

The presence of lateral pressure will induce a plate deflection that corresponds to
mode m=1 and n=1. For square plates this coincides with the primary buckling mode,
but rectangular plates have a primary buckling mode m1 and then the lateral press-
ure will increase its collapse strength.
The effect of different modes of initial distortions on the collapse strength of
rectangular plates subjected to lateral pressure is illustrated in Fig. 11. One main
conclusion may be inferred from the analysis of the figure. The lateral pressure
decreases the plate collapse strength but its effect is different depending on the shape

Fig. 11. Ultimate strength of rectangular plates with different mode of initial imperfections, m=1, n=1
() and m=3, n=1 (- - -).
504 A.P. Teixeira, C. Guedes Soares / Journal of Constructional Steel Research 57 (2001) 491516

of the initial distortions. In fact the lateral pressure load increases the collapse
strength of the primary buckling mode (m=3, n=1) to values close to the ones
obtained considering a shape of initial distortions of m=1 and n=1 for the slender
plates and also when the high levels of lateral pressure are applied on plates of
b/t=40. Therefore, since a lower limit of the plate strength is obtained by considering
a shape of initial distortions of m=3 and n=1, this was assumed for further calcu-
lations presented in this paper.
Fig. 12 shows the longitudinal average stressdisplacement curves for 0.2 MPa
of lateral pressure. A reduction may be noticed in the maximum stress and the curves
tend to be smoother when the plate slenderness increases. This behaviour also occurs
for increasing levels of lateral pressure as shown from Fig. 13 that illustrates the
effect of different levels of lateral pressure on the behaviour of rectangular plates
with a breadth to thickness ratio of 60.
For high compression levels and high slenderness the lateral pressure is mainly
supported by tension stresses, that is, the very high deformations of the plate due
to the applied pressure compensates compression stresses induced by longitudinal
compression of the plate edge.
Fig. 14 compares the stress levels in the longitudinal and transverse directions for
two rectangular plates of different slenderness subjected to a lateral pressure of 0.2
MPa. It can be seen that the collapse is achieved in the transverse direction by the
application of the lateral pressure load and the load carrying capacity in this direction
remains almost constant during the compression stage. This means, once more, that
the expansion in the transverse direction is converted in out-of-plane deformations
helped by the work done by the lateral pressure.

Fig. 12. Behaviour of rectangular plates (a/b=3) plates under compression with applied lateral pressure
of 0.2 MPa.
A.P. Teixeira, C. Guedes Soares / Journal of Constructional Steel Research 57 (2001) 491516 505

Fig. 13. Longitudinal stressdisplacement curves of rectangular plates (a/b=3). Effect of increasing lat-
eral pressure on plates of b/t=60.

Fig. 14. Longitudinal () and transversal (- - -) normalised stressdisplacement curves of rectangular


plates (a/b=3) with lateral pressure of 0.2 MPa.

5. Design curves for plate collapse

For design purposes including code specifications, several semi-empirical formulae


have been proposed to predict the collapse strength of the plate elements subjected
to predominantly compressive in-plane loads as already reviewed in this paper.
Since the longitudinal plate edge was considered to be restrained to transverse in-
plane displacements, the applications of longitudinal compression will induce stress
levels on the transverse direction and therefore the biaxial state of stress must be
506 A.P. Teixeira, C. Guedes Soares / Journal of Constructional Steel Research 57 (2001) 491516

analysed. Fig. 15 shows the interaction ratios obtained for square plates by the circu-
lar [Eq. (1)], Von Mises [Eq. (13)] and the interaction curve proposed by Dier and
Dowling [Eq. (11)] using the ultimate longitudinal and transversal strength given by
Falkners [Eq. (2)]) and Valsgards [Eq. (3)] expressions, respectively.
As would be expected the interaction curve proposed by Dier and Dowling that
is applicable to the cases in which one of the components of the load was tensile,
gives better predictions. It can also be seen that the interaction formulas are conserva-
tive for slender plates (b/t80). This is probably due to the stress levels developed
in the transverse direction at the longitudinal collapse. For stocky plates when the
longitudinal collapse occurs the transverse collapse has already occurred but for slen-
der plates the longitudinal collapse will induce tensile stress in the transverse direc-
tion due to large out-of-plane deformations and therefore the usual theory of plate
collapse for transverse direction cannot be used, instead the membrane theory should
be applied. This behaviour is also present and even aggravated when lateral pressure
is initially applied to the plates as illustrated in Fig. 14.
Fig. 16 compares the interaction curves shown in Fig. 15 with the normalised
longitudinal strength of the plates. It can be concluded that taking only the longitudi-
nal strength of the plates constitutes a good design equation and therefore it will be
used to predict the ultimate strength of plates subjected to lateral pressure.
Fig. 17 illustrates the longitudinal ultimate strength of plates subjected to lateral
pressure normalised by the proposal of Faulkner. It is clear that the degradation of
strength can be associated with the level of lateral pressure. Furthermore the degra-
dation is almost identical for all range of slenderness of the plate. This suggests that
for design purposes a linear dependence of only the non-dimensional pressure para-
meter QL proposed by Dier and Dowling can be adopted.
In fact the best results are obtained by considering the effect of lateral pressure
modelled by an equation directly dependent on QL such as:

Fig. 15. Interaction ratios for restrained square plates.


A.P. Teixeira, C. Guedes Soares / Journal of Constructional Steel Research 57 (2001) 491516 507

Fig. 16. Interaction ratios for restrained square plates.

Fig. 17. Normalised longitudinal strength of restrained square plates subjected to lateral pressure.

1
RQ (1BQLb2) (22)
1+AQL

The regression study for the case of square plates has led to regression coefficients
A and B of 0.36 and 0, respectively, showing the strong dependence of the reduction
of plate ultimate strength with the level of lateral pressure for all range of plate
slenderness. Therefore the longitudinal plate strength under lateral pressure fpux can
be easily calculated by:
508 A.P. Teixeira, C. Guedes Soares / Journal of Constructional Steel Research 57 (2001) 491516

1
fpuxfux (23)
1+0.36QL
Fig. 18 and Table 2 illustrate the applicability of the proposed equation to predict
the longitudinal strength of square plates subjected to different levels of lateral press-
ure. The mean value and the coefficient of variation are now reduced to the accept-
able values of 1.0 and 7.9%, respectively.
Fig. 19 shows the lack of adequacy of Eq. (15) with A=1 and B=0.025 that is
usually used to account for the effect of lateral pressure on the interaction equation.
The fact that this equation has been derived mainly for a biaxial state of stress at
collapse can explain the deviation on the results in the case of uniaxial compression.
Considering now rectangular plates of a/b=3 with initial distortions corresponding
to a mode m=3 and n=1, one can see from Fig. 20 that the degradation of the plates
strength is dependent on the level of lateral pressure but also on the plate slenderness.
Fig. 21 illustrates the normalised longitudinal strength of restrained rectangular
plates taking into account the degradating effect of lateral pressure represented by
Eq. (24). It can be seen that the coefficient B equal to 0.018 eliminates the depen-
dence of the degradation of the plate strength on the plate slenderness and the main
variation which is associated with the level of lateral pressure is then reduced by a
coefficient A of 0.2. Using this approach a mean value and a coefficient of variation
of 1.03 and 8%, respectively were obtained.

RQ 1
1+0.2QL
(10.018QLb2) (24)

Fig. 18. Normalised longitudinal strength of restrained square plates taking into account the degradating
effect of lateral pressure represented by Eq. (22).
Table 2
Normalised longitudinal strength of restrained square plates taking into account the degradating effect of lateral pressure

b/t b fux fx Rx=fx/fpxu

P=0 Pa P=0.1 MPa P=0.2 MPa P=0.4 MPa P=0 Pa P=0.1 MPa P=0.2 MPa P=0.4 MPa

40 1.34 0.94 0.90 0.82 0.73 0.58 0.96 0.99 1.00 0.96
60 2.01 0.75 0.71 0.61 0.53 0.45 0.94 0.93 0.90 0.92
80 2.68 0.61 0.63 0.54 0.48 0.38 1.04 1.00 1.00 0.96
100 3.35 0.51 0.60 0.50 0.45 0.31 1.18 1.12 1.12 1.03
Mean value 1.004
c.o.v. 0.079
A.P. Teixeira, C. Guedes Soares / Journal of Constructional Steel Research 57 (2001) 491516
509
510 A.P. Teixeira, C. Guedes Soares / Journal of Constructional Steel Research 57 (2001) 491516

Fig. 19. Normalised longitudinal strength of restrained square plates taking into account the degradating
effect of lateral pressure represented by Eq. (15).

Fig. 20. Normalised longitudinal strength of restrained rectangular plates subjected to lateral pressure
(m=3 and n=1).

6. Conclusions

The strength of compressed square and rectangular plates subjected to lateral press-
ure was investigated by a comprehensive series of numerical calculations that pro-
vided the axial stressdisplacement curves for several plates ranging from b/t=20 to
100 with levels of lateral pressure up to 0.4 MPa (i.e. 40 m water depth).
The effect of different boundary conditions was analysed by considering the longi-
A.P. Teixeira, C. Guedes Soares / Journal of Constructional Steel Research 57 (2001) 491516 511

Fig. 21. Normalised longitudinal strength of restrained rectangular plates taking into account the degrad-
ing effect of lateral pressure represented by Eq. (24)

tudinal plate edges restrained and unrestrained to transverse displacements. It was


shown that the ultimate longitudinal strength decreases for unrestrained plates and
this reduction increases when increasing levels of lateral pressure are applied
especially on slender plates.
The effect of different modes of initial distortions on the collapse strength of
rectangular plates was also studied showing that the lateral pressure increases the
collapse strength of the primary buckling mode (m=3, n=1) to values close to the
ones obtained considering the shape of initial distortions induced by lateral pressure
(m=1, n=1).
Finally, design equations were derived to predict the reduction on the longitudinal
strength of plates due to lateral pressure. It was suggested that the design equations
should be directly dependent on the non-dimensional pressure parameter, since the
degradation of the plate strength for a given level of lateral pressure is almost ident-
ical for all ranges of plate slenderness especially for square plates.

Acknowledgements

The first author is grateful to Fundacao para a Ciencia e a Tecnologia for having
financed his work under Contract No. PRAXIS XXI/BD/15930/98.
512 A.P. Teixeira, C. Guedes Soares / Journal of Constructional Steel Research 57 (2001) 491516

Appendix A. Strength of square plates subjected to lateral pressure


(restrained)
A.P. Teixeira, C. Guedes Soares / Journal of Constructional Steel Research 57 (2001) 491516 513

Appendix B. Strength of square plates subjected to lateral pressure


(unrestrained)
514 A.P. Teixeira, C. Guedes Soares / Journal of Constructional Steel Research 57 (2001) 491516

Appendix C. Strength of rectangular plates subjected to lateral pressure


(restrained) a/b=3 (m=1; n=1)
A.P. Teixeira, C. Guedes Soares / Journal of Constructional Steel Research 57 (2001) 491516 515

Appendix D. Strength of rectangular plates subjected to lateral pressure


(restrained) a/b=3 (m=3; n=1)
516 A.P. Teixeira, C. Guedes Soares / Journal of Constructional Steel Research 57 (2001) 491516

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