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TECHNICAL PAPER A rational approach to


INSTITUTION OF CIVIL ENGINEERING obtaining effective lengths
Vol 47 No 3, 2005, Pages 1419, Paper 591
of compression members
NICK DEKKER received the degrees
of BScEng, BEng Hons and MEng
in framed structures
from the University of Pretoria and
a PhD from the University of the N W Dekker and W M G Burdzik
Witwatersrand. He spent most of
his professional career with BKS,
where he was responsible for the With the common and widespread use of PC-based design packages in the design of
design of a wide range of structures steel structures, it is of fundamental importance to revisit the basic principles contained in
including bridges, industrial and commercial buildings, and sometimes omitted from common analysis packages. The basic methods of stability
shopping centres, sports centres and process buildings. In
analysis are briefly discussed and the influence of inelastic buckling incorporated and
1996 he co-founded the practice Dekker & Gelderblom
and was appointed Professor of Structural Engineering then illustrated by using representative case studies. Common errors in the use of such
at the University of Pretoria. He received an NRF rating design packages, and the importance of simple calibration checks are used to illustrate
in 1997. His field of interests include structural design in the problems which can lead to failures.
steel, pre-stressed concrete and reinforced concrete.

WALTER BURDZIK is a Professor INTRODUCTION the plane of the truss. In all cases the values
in the Department of Civil Since the first appearance of computer-based given in table 11 of BS 5400 Part 3 are less
and Biosystems Engineering at analysis programs, ample warnings have or equal to 0,85. Eurocode 5 (1995) gives
the University of Pretoria. He
received his degrees from the
been issued to maintain the use of simple the effective column length for members
University of Pretoria and has manual calculations. The use of integrated of triangulated trusses with loading at the
been involved in timber research design packages linked to analysis pack- nodes as the bay length. Furthermore, for
for the last 20 years. Walter runs ages can further obscure errors in structural strength verification the calculated force
one of the few recognised timber-testing facilities in modelling. In the case of design packages must be increased by 10 %. SANS 10162:1
South Africa and is involved in the committees charged
involving members susceptible to failure (2004), 15.3.1, states that: The effective
with writing the South African timber design codes.
through instability, special care should be length for buckling in the plane of the truss
taken to ensure that the correct boundary shall be taken as the distance between the
conditions are used in both planes. It is nec- lines of intersection of the working points of
essary to review some basic concepts inher- the web members and the chord. The effec-
ent to the design of such members. tive length for buckling perpendicular to the
plane of the truss shall be equal to the dis-
tance between the points of lateral support.
SIMPLE LATTICE STRUCTURES This is then a conservative solution.
AND THE K-FACTOR Boundary conditions are not merely a
function of connection details and continu-
In-plane buckling ity, but are influenced by the capacity of
The K-factor or effective length factor is used adjacent members at the node. Consider the
to adjust the actual unrestrained length of a example of a simple lattice truss with a con-
compression member to account for prevail- stant section shown in figure 1.
ing boundary conditions. Many software The compression chord ABCDEFG
packages use a default effective length factor is divided into equal portions. The basic
of 0,85, implying some form of rotational principle that the buckling load for mem-
joint restraint by adjacent members. Some ber ABCDEF is unique shows that an
design codes also specify effective length effective length factor of less than one for
factors for compression members in lattice a particular member is consistent with
trusses. BS 5400 Part 3 (2000) in table 11 an effective length factor of greater than
specifies effective length factors for buckling one in the adjacent members, as shown in
in the plane of the truss as well as out of equation 1 below:

Loads of equal magnitude


Possible buckled shape of top chord

Original position

Keywords: effective length, buckling, flexible supports, bracing Figure 1 In-plane buckling of top chord of lattice truss case 1

14 Joernaal van die Suid-Afrikaanse Insituut van Siviele Ingenieurswese Volume 47 Nommer 3 2005
Loads of equal magnitude In the case where axial loads are not
neglected, equation 2 becomes non-linear,
A B C D E F but if the axial loads are known, the deflec-
tions may be calculated.

LP  K s (L P )$ (3)

Possible buckled shape of top chord In equation 3 the term has been inserted
as a load multiplier. As the loads are pro-
Original position
gressively increased, a state of neutral equi-
librium is achieved where any deflection
Figure 2 In-plane buckling of top chord of lattice truss case 2 is possible for a given load level. This state
defines instability and may be referred to as
P 2 EI P 2 EI P 2 EI
= = = same size member subjected to a lower com- = cr. The critical state is consistent with
(k AB L )2 PAB (k BC L )2 PBC (k CD L )2 PCD pression force or a reduced distance between the matrix K s(P) becoming singular.
restraints. A test of the singularity of the matrix K s
P 2 EI P 2 EI If every member is optimised in a lattice can therefore be used as a check on stabil-
(k DE L )2
PDE (k EF L )2 PEF (1) structure, care should be taken in assuming ity, if it is non-singular and positive definite,
effective length factors less than one. the structure is stable if it is singular the
For the loading as shown, the force in It is significant that the Eurocodes for structure is on the point of collapse. The
ABCDEF will be constant over the length of steel design specifically, have discarded the value of cr is therefore a multiple whereby
the truss. If the member is of constant sec- practice of using tabulated effective length an arbitrarily chosen load can be multiplied
tion, equation 1 can only be satisfied if the factors in the design of both compression to achieve a state of collapse. The following
buckling length is taken as L = L AB = L BC = and flexural members. Elastic buckling comments regarding the value of cr should
LCD = L DE = L EF. If the stiffness of the lacing loads are used as a basis of design, and be clearly noted:
elements is ignored, an effective length fac- such loads are commonly calculated using cr is not a safety factor. Even if P is cho-
tor of less than one is clearly incorrect. computer programs. sen to represent load effects at working
Now consider the same system but with Stanway, Chapman and Dowling (1992) loads, the influence of inelastic buckling
a different loading combination, as shown in have discussed the influence of elastic sup- is not taken into account in an elastic
figure 2. ports at any position of the length of the strut, buckling analysis.
In the second case shown in figure 2, thereby considering the influence of unequal In the case where buckling modes are
the compression force in BC, CD and DE are bay lengths and the beneficial restraint offered de-coupled, for example lattice structures
greater than the forces in AB and EF. PBC = by adjacent sub-critical elements having a consisting of pin-ended members, the
PCD = PDE >PAB, PEF. Once again, the buckling shorter buckling length. The basis of elastic value of cr applies to the member most
strength of the chord ABCDEF is unique. buckling analysis is subsequently discussed. susceptible to buckling and has no appli-
In order to still satisfy equation 1, the effec- cation to other members.
tive length factors for the members with the If a two-dimensional analysis were to be
lower forces are greater than for those mem- BUCKLING ANALYSIS OF FRAMED carried out to determine cr, the value so
bers with the higher forces. It should now AND LATTICE STRUCTURES obtained obviously does not apply to out
be clear that subtle differences exist between of plane buckling.
the buckling modes of the same top chord In-plane buckling
for the two different load cases. Most PC-based analysis packages are capa- Inelastic buckling
In the first case, the buckling lengths are ble of performing buckling analysis on The significance of an elastic buckling
equal on AB, BC etc and the only sensible framed structures using beam elements, and analysis is that the value of cr P is the elas-
choice of an effective length factor is 1,0. For individual members using shell elements. tic buckling load of the critical member or
the second load case shown in figure 2 above, It is important that the user is aware of the portion of a structure, or of the structure as
segment BC, CD and DE are critical while actual process and the premises on which a whole. In order to calculate the inelastic
segments AB and EF are sub-critical. An such analyses are based. The method of buckling load, and therefore the factored
effective length factor of less than 1,0 is there- buckling analysis of a frame structure is pre- resistance of the critical member, the follow-
fore justified for BC, CD and DE by virtue of sented in Coates, Coutie and Kong (1980), ing procedure should be followed:
the restraint action exercised by AB and EF. A as described below. Calculate the equivalent effective
rigorous analysis will show that the effective In the case of a linear elastic analysis of unbraced length from the relationship:
length factors of the adjacent portions AB and a framed structure, deformation is linearly
P 2 EI
EF are in fact greater than 1,0, this being cou- related to load, or, expressed in matrix form: Lcr P 
pled to a smaller force in the member. KL 2
It may be argued that, in real trusses, P = Ks (2)
P 2 EI
some rotational restraint from the lacing Where: therefore: KL 
members would always be present at the P is the force or load matrix Lcr P
nodes and therefore the effective length fac- is the displacement matrix Pe
tor may be reduced somewhat. This argu- K s is the stiffness matrix or K  (4)
Lcr P
ment only holds true in the following cases:
Some of the connecting members at a The terms of K s are constant for a given Where:
node are in tension. structure, provided that second order effects Pe = Euler buckling load for compression
Some of the compression members at a are neglected, therefore K s is independent of member hinged at both ends
node are sub-critical. P. If, however, the influence of axial forces P = applied load
A sub-critical condition in adjacent on member stiffness is included, K s becomes Calculate the inelastic compressive resist-
members can be achieved by having the a function of P, or K s = K s(P). ance Cr using the value of KL obtained from

Journal of the South African Institution of Civil Engineering Volume 47 Number 3 2005 15
Table 1 Results of an elastic buckling analysis performed on a simple frame
equation 4 for the appropriate member size.
Effective length For example, if SANS 10162:1 (2004) is
Axial load in top P 2 EI factor, used, the appropriate slenderness ratio is
Load case and
chord at buckling, Load factor, cr Pe = Pe
frame conditions L2 K 
P KL 300
Lcr .P
r f
LC 1 fixed 16,67 kN 1,32 10,33 kN 0,69
from which Cr can be calculated.
LC 1 pinned 16,67 kN 0,62 10,33 kN 1,00 In order to demonstrate the principles
LC 2 fixed 33,3 kN 0,70 10,33 kN 0,67 discussed above, a commonly available PC-
LC 2 pinned 33,3 kN 0,36 10,33 kN 0,93 based analysis package, Prokon (2003), was
used to calculate the effective length factors
Table 2 Results of elastic buckling analysis on node-frame (values in parentheses indicate hypothetical k-factors of of the top chord of the frame shown in fig-
non-critical members) ures 1 and 2 above. The parameters used in
P1 P2 P1/Pe P2/Pe cr AB,BC BD the analysis are shown in figure 3.
It is assumed that the trusses in figure
10,28 kN 28,55 kN 1,0 1,0 1,00 1,0 1,0
3 are made up out of equal angle 50 x 50
10,28 kN 0 kN 1,0 0 1,36 0,85 - x 6 mm sections. The second moment of
0 28,55 kN 0 1,0 1,46 - 0,68 area, I, of chords, verticals and diagonal
= 128 x 0 -9 m4 and E = 206 GPa.
5,14 kN 28,55 kN 0,5 1,0 1,28 (0,63) 0,88
Two cases were considered. In the first
10,28 kN 14,28 kN 1,0 0,5 1,21 0,91 (0,64) case rigid nodes were used, that is, a frame
analysis was carried out. In the second case
Table 3 Results of elastic buckling analysis on node-frame out-of-plane buckling (values in parentheses indicate the nodes were considered as pinned, that is,
hypothetical k-factors of non-critical members)
only axial forces exist in the truss members.
P1 P2 P1/Pe P2/Pe cr AB/BC BD Significant differences exist between the two
54,97 kN 152,71 kN 1,0 1,0 1,00 1,00 1,00 cases of pinned and fixed joints for the load
cases considered, and are shown in table 1.
54,97 kN 0 kN 1,0 0 1,19 0,917 -
It is important to note the following:
0 152,71 kN 0 1,0 1,08 - 0,962 Significant differences exist between the
27,48 kN 152,71 0,5 1,0 1,07 (0,684) 0,967 cases of fixed and pinned frame joints. In
this particular case the differences were
54,97 kN 76,35 kN 1,0 0,5 1,17 0,925 (0,654)
amplified by the choice of stiffness of
the lacing members as being equal to the
chords. In real trusses the lacing members
10 kN 10 kN would commonly have significantly less
stiffness than the chord members.
The effective length factor of the

compression chord is not only dependent

on the joint conditions, but also on the
5m 5m 5m 5m 5m
loading conditions, as is evident from the
Load Case 1 differences in the critical buckling loads
between load cases 1 and 2.
10 kN 10 kN
It is not commonly accepted that the restrain-
ing influence of lacing members is influenced
by the magnitude of the axial forces resulting

from load effects, to the capacity of the mem-

bers. In order to demonstrate this principle, a
5m 5m 5m 5m 5m buckling analysis was performed on a simple
sub-frame representing two bays of a chord
Load Case 2 member and one vertical element. Different
combinations of axial forces relative to the
Figure 3 Frame parameters for in-plane buckling analysis buckling capacities of the members were
used as shown in figure 4:
Iabc = Ibd = 127 x 10 -9 m4 and E = 206 GPa
For the node-frame model shown in figure 4,
P1 the critical buckling loads (Euler), for ABC and
for DB using an effective length factor K = 1,

are 10,28 kN and 28,55 kN, respectively. The

results of the analysis are shown in table 2.
D The following important conclusions
P2 may be drawn from studying the results
shown in table 2:
5m 5m The degree of restraint offered to a com-
pression member by connecting members
at a node is dependent on the magnitude
Figure 4 Node frame model of the axial forces in the connecting

16 Joernaal van die Suid-Afrikaanse Insituut van Siviele Ingenieurswese Volume 47 Nommer 3 2005
Table 4 Results of elastic buckling analysis on node-frame out-of-plane buckling (values in parentheses indicate
hypothetical k-factors of non-critical members) shown in figure 5 was re-analysed using
square hollow section, 90 x 90 x 3,5 mm,
P1 P2 P1/Pe P2/Pe cr AB/BC BD
members. The section properties and
116,3 kN 323,0 kN 1,0 1,0 1,03 0,985 0,985 member parameters used in this analysis
116,3 kN 0 kN 1,0 0 1,35 0,861 - were as follows:

0 kN 323,0 kN 0 1,0 1,06 - 0,971 Ixx = Iyy= 1,43 x 10-6, J = 2,33 x 10-6 , Pe (AB)
= 116,3 kN, Pe(BD) = 323,0 kN
58,15 kN 323,0 kN 0,5 1,0 1,05 (0,690) 0,976
For the case where ABC and BD are both
116,3 kN 161,5 kN 1,0 0,5 1,33 0,867 (0,613)
critical, that is, the load effects equal the
elastic buckling load with K = 1 (Euler), the
Z critical load factor equalled 1,03.
For the case where BD was critical but
Y the axial load in ABC was zero, the critical
A X load factor equalled 1,06 reflecting an effec-
C tive length factor of 0,971.
It is clear that there is no justification for

P1 the use of an effective length factor of 0,85.


fixed fixed
5m Perhaps the case of incorrect application of
5m effective length factors with the most seri-
ous consequences may be found where the
compression chords of girders or trusses are
Figure 5 Node frame model for out-of-plane buckling restrained by flexible supports. This case is
commonly found in the older type bridge
girders where the carriageway is attached
Compression chord
to the bottom chords and the top chords
are not restrained by a dedicated separate
Vertical girder bracing system. In this case the lateral sta-
bility of the top chord is controlled by the
Transverse beam U-frame action of the transverse beams
acting with the uprights of the girders (see
Anti-symmetrical mode Symmetrical mode figure 6).
Two buckling modes of the U-frame
Figure 6 Cross section and buckling modes of girder with elastic lateral supports are shown in figure 6, a symmetrical mode
where the transverse beam is in single cur-
members. If the connecting members are considering the out-of-plane buckling behav- vature, and an anti-symmetrical mode where
subjected to axial compression, the ability iour of planar trusses, the behaviour is some- the transverse beam is in double curvature.
of such members to restrain adjacent criti- what different. Rotational restraint to the The lowest buckling mode is associated with
cal members is reduced. compression chord can now only be provided the lowest lateral restraint to the compression
If the connecting members are subjected by the torsional stiffness of the connecting chord and is therefore consistent with the
to axial compressive forces equal to their members. In order to demonstrate this prin- symmetrical case where the transverse beam
critical buckling loads, such members ciple, the same node frame model previously is in single curvature.
offer no restraint action. used was modified to incorporate a diagonal The buckling resistance of the com-
Design nomographs expressing effective member and the members were changed to pression chord is now determined by the
length factors of compression members in a angle sections. Out-of-plane restraints were flexural stiffness of the U-frame compris-
frame as a function of the stiffness of con- provided at all joints in the X-direction. ing the transverse beam and the verticals.
necting members do not account for the Use an angle section 125 x 75 x 8 mm Designing the compression chord using
reduction in stiffness of connecting members with I xx = 2,47 x 10 -6, I zz = 0,676 x 10 -6, a buckling length equal to the spacing
themselves subjected to compressive forces. J = 36,7 x 10 -9 and E = 206 GPa. between U-frames, without consideration of
Tensile forces in connecting members For the node-frame model shown in the lateral stiffness of the U-frame at chord
increase their stiffness and lead to a figure 5, the critical buckling loads (Euler), level, will result in lateral buckling occur-
reduction in the buckling length of com- for ABC and for DB using an effective length ring before in-plane buckling. The use of a
pression members. The particular soft- factor K = 1 are 54,97 kN and 152,71 kN, simple force criterion to size the U-frames
ware package used in this analysis does respectively. The results of the analysis are will not provide sufficient stiffness to satisfy
not consider this effect. shown in table 3. the assumption of a buckling length equal
Unless a buckling analysis has been per- The following important conclusions to the spacing between U-frames. Dekker
formed on a frame or truss, it is difficult may be drawn from studying the results and Burdzik (2000) have proposed the use
to justify the use of a general effective shown in table 3: of a combined force and stiffness criterion,
length factor less than one. Owing to the low torsional stiffness of which may be applied to this case.
angle sections, adjacent sub-critical mem- This case is covered in BS5400 Part 3
Out-of-plane buckling behaviour bers offer very little restraint to out-of- (2000), clause 12.5.1, where the effective
The preceding discussion and analysis plane buckling. In order to demonstrate length of a compression chord that is later-
have been limited to in-plane behaviour. In this principle, the same node frame as ally restrained by U-frame action is given by:

Journal of the South African Institution of Civil Engineering Volume 47 Number 3 2005 17
Table 5 Member sizes for the girder truss pedestrian bridge
181 mm 181 mm
Member Element A mm2 Ixx mm4 Iyy mm4

Top chord PFC 180 x 70 web horizontal 2,68 x 103 13,5 x 106 1,27 x 106 10 kN 10 kN
3 6 6
Bottom chord PFC100 x 50 web horizontal 1,29 x 10 2,05 x 10 0,320 x 10
3 6
Diagonals 100 x 100 x 8 angle section 1,55 x 10 1,45 x 10 1,45 x 106

Verticals and floor beams PFC 100 x 50 web vertical 1,29 x 103 2,05 x 106 0,320 x 106

Figure 9 Equivalent lateral spring representing cross-

15 x 2 m = 30 m span
frame stiffness
Elevation on main truss
as shown in figure 8 that is, load varies
between bays. The lateral spring is the later-
al support afforded by the transverse frames.

The lateral spring stiffness is obtained
from a plane frame analysis considering the
2,5 m
floor beam in single curvature as shown in
figure 9.
Cross section
The stiffness obtained equals 10/0,181 =
Figure 7 Typical pedestrian bridge with U-frame restraint to top chords 55 kN/m.
The top chord may now be modelled
as shown in figure 10. Care must be taken
71,1 kN 131,9 182,6 223,2 253,6 273,9 284,1 284,1 that the software is capable of performing
a buckling analysis when springs are used
as supports. If not, axially loaded members
All forces are compression and in kN with equivalent stiffness may be used to
replace the springs.
Figure 8 Compression forces in top chord of monoplanar truss As a first step, the springs are replaced
with rigid lateral supports in order to obtain
l e  1,5k 3 EI c a D
0, 25
The design of a simple truss used to support the buckling factor for in-plane buckling. A
Where: a pedestrian walkway was used to demon- critical buckling factor of 2,46 was obtained
k 3 depends on the flexural stiffness of the strate this principle, as shown in figure 7. for this case. This value is then consistent
vertical members of the truss and may be The arrangement shown in figure 7 is with the in-plane buckling resistance of the
taken as 1,0 typical of a system where the stiffness of the selected member size and reflects an elastic
Ic is second moment of area of the chord vertical elements and the transverse beams buckling load of 2,46 x 284,1 kN = 698,9
about the out-of-plane axis combine to prevent lateral buckling of the kN in the critical portion of the top chord.
a is the distance between U-frames top chord. The lateral restraints were then replaced
is the nominal lateral deflection of the U- The main girders were first analysed as by springs with a stiffness of 55 kN/m.
frame under the application of a unit load, planar structures for nodal loads of 9 kN, A critical buckling factor of 2,38 was
therefore representing the effective stiff- which reflects combined unfactored dead- obtained, reflecting an elastic buckling load
ness of the U-frame and live-load effects. The self-weight of the of 676,2 kN. Figure 11 shows the increase
truss is additional to this. The top chord in the buckling factor with an increase of
For the case where the U-frame is symmetrical forces are given in figure 8. the U-frame stiffness. A buckling factor in
and cross members and verticals have a constant These forces were used to size the mem- excess of 2,46 would then induce in-plane
section over their length, this clause of BS 5400 bers assuming lateral restraint at each node buckling rather than out of plane buckling
Part 3 provides a method of calculating the point and the preliminary member sizes given and a further increase in U-frame stiffness
required stiffness from the value of but the in table 5 were adopted. would be a waste of material. A stiffness of
process is time consuming. In some cases the The in-plane Euler buckling resistance about 60 kN/m would suffice.
top chords of Warren-type trusses are braced of the top chord can be determined from the
horizontally but the bracing cannot be com- section properties and is equal to: Theoretical stiffness requirement
pleted to the supports and a stiffened U-frame is 2 for top chord buckling
P E Iy
placed at each end to allow clearance at the ends Pe   645 kN Winter (1960) used the theory of a com-
of the bridge. This case is covered in BS 5400 L2 pression member on an elastic foundation
Part 3 in clause For out-of-plane buckling one would strive to determine the stiffness requirement of
Girders using U-frame action to achieve to obtain a similar buckling strength. continuous lateral support. The theoretical
stability of the compression chords may be Three alternative methods used to estab- value of the modulus of the elastic support
conveniently analysed using buckling analy- lish the out-of-plane resistance of the top medium, id, can be obtained from the fol-
sis options of PC-based software. Two meth- chord will now be discussed in turn. lowing formulae:
ods may be used:
Modelling the compression chord in isola- Top chord analysed in isolation Bid L2 P B L2
 P2 cr 1 0  id b 30
tion with the U-frame stiffness represented Compression member with spring supports PE P
E for PE
by spring supports Top chord modelled as a strut with rigid
Modelling the complete structure on a vertical supports and lateral springs at Bid L2 P2 Pcr Bid L2
 0 ,6 r 30
three-dimensional basis the node points and the load distribution PE 4 PE for PE

18 Joernaal van die Suid-Afrikaanse Insituut van Siviele Ingenieurswese Volume 47 Nommer 3 2005
The use of a uniform effective length fac-
tor between 0,7 and 0,85 for the design of
compression members in lattice trusses
2m cannot be justified by rigorous analysis.
2m An elastic buckling analysis using
PC-based software provides the most reli-
able method of calculating the buckling
Figure 10 Top chord modelled in isolation lengths of such members.
In the absence of a buckling analysis of
the whole structure, the use of an effective
length factor of 1,0 is recommended for
2,6 design purposes.
An elastic buckling analysis provides the
Buckling factor

2,4 means of calculating the correct effective

length factor to be used in sizing compres-
sion members using design codes. The
2,0 critical load factor obtained from an elastic
buckling analysis is not a safety factor.
1,8 Any system where flexible members pro-
vide restraint against buckling is best ana-
30 40 50 60 70 80 lysed on a global basis. The approach of
EC3 in omitting the use of effective length
Stiffness of the U-frame in kN/m
factors, and using the elastic buckling
Figure 11 Increase in the buckling factor with an increase in the stiffness of the U-frame load in calculating the inelastic buckling
resistance, should be encouraged.

Coates, R C, Coutie, M G and Kong, F K 1982. Structural
analysis. Second edition. Walton-on Thames, Surrey:
Thomas Nelson.
British Standards Institution 1978. BS5400 Part 3, 2000,
Steel, concrete and composite bridges. Code of practice
for design of steel bridges.
Dekker, N W and Burdzik, W M G 2000. A rational approach
Figure 12 Space truss modelling of trusses and floor elements to the design of bracing to resist stability forces and a
review of the CSA S16.1-99 proposal. Journal of the South
Where: As the axial load is not uniform it would not African Institution of Civil Engineering, 49(4).
id = the ideal stiffness of the elastic support in be inconsistent for a spring with slightly less Eurocode 3: Design of steel structures. Part 1: General Rules
kN/m/m stiffness to suffice. and Rules for Buildings, 1993.
Pcr = the critical load Eurocode 5: Design of timber structures. Part 1: General
PE = the Euler buckling strength, based on Full three-dimensional buckling Rules and Rules for Buildings. NVN-ENV 1995-1-1.
the full laterally unsupported length analysis of structure Prokon software consultants 2003. Prokon suite of structural
L = the total length of the member Modelling the top chord in isolation does analysis programs. Pretoria.
not account for the influence of the vertical SANS 10162-1 2004. The structural use of steel Part 1:
This method is consistent with the case of a compression members and the diagonal ten- Limit-states design of hot-rolled steelwork. Pretoria: South
top chord that is braced by U-frames. sion members in the truss. As a third step, African Bureau of Standards.
One can apply these equations to the the entire system was modelled including Stanway, G S, Chapman, J C and Dowling, P J 1992. A
top chord of the girder truss with U-frames both trusses as well as the transverse beams. simply supported imperfect column with a transverse
as lateral support for out of plane buckling. This model is shown in figure 12. elastic restraint at any position. Proceedings Institution
One must, however, assume uniform axial Unfactored loads were applied to the of Civil Engineers, Structures & Buildings, 94, May, pp
loading to use these equations. node points and a buckling analysis was per- 205206.
formed. The buckling factor in this case was Winter, G 1960. Lateral bracing of columns and beams.
Pe = 30,5 kN 2,04 for symmetrical buckling. Increasing the Transactions of the American Society of Civil Engineers,
Pcr = 698,9 kN stiffness of the U-frame to 112 kN/m by using 125:807845.
a PFC 120 x 55 increased the symmetrical
B id L2 buckling factor to a value of 3,01. The prima-
 7,331 30
PE ry buckling mode changed from a symmetri-
Bid L2 P2 Pcr cal to an anti-symmetrical torsional buckling
 0 ,6
PE 4 PE thus governs
mode with the structure rotating about its
longitudinal axis. The buckling factor for the
req = 41,65 kN/m/m which at 2 m spacing anti-symmetrical buckling was 2,83, which is
would require a spring stiffness of 83,3 kN/m. still greater than the required 2,48.

Journal of the South African Institution of Civil Engineering Volume 47 Number 3 2005 19