Design of slender steel members : A comparison between the reduced stress method and the effective width method
As of now, the most common way in Sweden, to address the issue of local buckling of steelstructures is through the procedure called the effective width method. A less commonprocedure for dealing with local buckling is the reduced stress method. The benefit of thelatter method is that, when combined with finite element analysis, results in a less tediousdesign process. However, this method is often labelled as a method that results in anoverconservative design. Therefore, the purpose of this report is to compare and evaluate thereduced stress method against the effective width method and nonlinear finite elementmethod. The nonlinear FE-analyses are performed with intention of simulating the realbehaviour of the structure and serve as a reference for the other two methods. The comparisonis conducted through a series of analyses, on different steel members with various loadconfigurations and slenderness in order to include the most common cases in the constructionindustry. This report resulted in recommendations for when the reduced stress method couldbe a relevant design procedure, with emphasis on providing reliable and accurate resultscompared to FE-analyses. Furthermore, the report resulted in proposed further studies, bothregarding the improvement of the reduced stress method and other structural elements thatshould be studied. The result from the report indicates that the reduced stress method can beused when the effect of patch loading is small. Furthermore, it is recommended to obtain thecritical stresses from a linear finite element analysis rather than from hand calculations, as tonot end up with over-conservative results.
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