Semi-empirical design of complex metal beams by buckling analysis

Yao Peng Liu, Siu Lai Chan

Research output: Journal article publicationJournal articleAcademic researchpeer-review


Structural elements with complex geometries, boundary conditions and load patterns cannot be designed against buckling using empirical formulae because of uncertain elastic buckling moments or unknown buckling effective lengths, which are basic parameters for these equations. This article proposes a shell finite element procedure for buckling design of metal beams of complex configurations with codified initial imperfections assumed in the Perry–Robertson formula. The advantage of the proposed method lies in the use of elastic buckling moment with empirical design formulae for determination of design moment capacity of a beam; thereby eliminating the uncertainty of modelling initial imperfections. More importantly, the moment modification factor and assumption of effective length can be avoided because all second-order and yield effects have been considered in the computer model. Numerical examples demonstrate that the simplified method has a high level of accuracy, versatility and flexibility for the design of complex beams.
Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)85-96
Number of pages12
JournalIES Journal Part A: Civil and Structural Engineering
Issue number1
Publication statusPublished - 1 Jan 2009


  • Elastic critical moment
  • Finite element method
  • Lateral-torsional buckling
  • Linear buckling analysis

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • Computational Mechanics
  • Civil and Structural Engineering
  • Mechanical Engineering


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