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Thin- Walh, d Structures 19 (1994) 161 180


,(', 1994 Elsevier Science Limited
Printed in Great Britain. All rights reserved
0263-8231/94/$7.00

ql

ELSEVIER

Generalized Beam Theory An Adequate Method for


Coupled Stability Problems

R. Schardt
Technical Universityof Darmstadt, Institute of Statics, Alexanderstr. 7, D-64283
Darmstadt, Germany

A BS TRA C T
First-order generalized beam theory describes the behaviour of prismatic
structures by ordinary uncoupled d(ff'erential equations, using &~['ormation
functions .for bending, torsion and distortion. In second-order theoo,, the
differential equations are coupled by the effect of deviating Jorces. The
basic equations .for second-order generalized beam theoo, are outlined.
Solutions .for pin-ended supports are presented, demonstrating the coupling
effect by modes and by loads. In the d(fferent ranges of length, the individual modes are sufficient approximations .[or the critical load. The application to a thin-walled bar with C-section under eccentric normal force
demonstrates the quality of the single-mode compared to the exact solution.

NOTATION
b
B

C
D
e

f(s)
f ~ , f o , t9

k( )
K
I

Width of element
Transverse bending stiffness
Warping constant
Torsion constant
Eccentricity of longitudinal force
Displacement function
Displacement components of element
Indicating mode k
Plate modulus
Length of column
Critical length
161

162

111(s)
q(x)
(),.
S, S
I

V
W
.V, .V, Z

A
O'er

uO

R. Suhardt

Transverse bending moment


Load function
Indicating node r or element r
Local coordinates in elements
Thickness of element
Warping function
Deformation resultant
Warping moment
Global coordinates
Ratio of interactions
Ratio of eccentricity
Unit deviation forces
Load factor
Critical stress
Euler stress
Ratio of single mode solutions

1 FIRST-ORDER G E N E R A L I Z E D BEAM THEORY


Thin-walled prismatic structures such as cold-rolled profiles often fail by
instability before the stresses have reached the yield point. The related
deformation depends upon the stress-distribution in the cross-section and
upon the length of the structure. In general, the deformation is a combination of local buckling, distortion and rigid-body displacements of the
cross-section. For monosymmetric sections, a sudden change from
symmetric to antisymmetric deformation is even possible at special
lengths. Two or more different individual deformation modes interact in
such a way that the overall buckling load is lower than the lowest individual buckling load. Numerical solution methods such as the finite element
method or the finite strip method can treat single cases, but cannot give
information about the general mechanical behaviour of the structures.
Generalized Beam Theory (GBT) describes the mechanical behaviour of
prismatic structures by ordinary differential equations using deformation
resultants kV(x) similar to the individual modes of buckling. GBT provides
these resultants by a special eigenvalue problem. The main property of the
resultants is the orthogonality between the modes for the work of the
warping stresses and the work of the distortion (transverse bending)
stresses. In the first-order theory, the ordinary differential equations
E kC-/" V'"' - G kD. I'V" +/'B./" V = kq

( 1)

Generalizedbeam theoo'

163

for each mode k are not coupled and can be solved independently. The
coefficients have the generalized meaning of the well-known section properties of the ordinary bending and torsion theory, such as the warping
constant

kc =

kU2(S)dA + -~
,4

~f2. ds
, s

the torsion constant

kD = ~I ,I. k]'2(S) t3 ds
.

and the 'elastic foundation', which is the transverse bending stiffness

km~(s)

kB = .L ~

ds

in which

u(s) = warping function


j(s) = displacement function
rn(s) = transverse bending moment
K = plate constant
For a C-shaped section, the deformation modes are shown in Section 5.
The theory for linear problems, which provides these resultants, is
developed in Ref. 1.
Second-order effects may arise from normal stresses in the longitudinal
or transverse direction of the structure or by shear stresses. In this paper,
interest will be focused on the effect of longitudinal stresses which, for
practical problems, is the most important effect.

2 SECOND-ORDER G E N E R A L I Z E D BEAM THEORY


2.1 The ~-values

The second-order effect of the longitudinal stresses ax depends upon the


distribution of the stresses ax(s) in the cross-section and the elastic curvature f"(s) of the elements of the section.
The second-order theory requires the satisfaction of equilibrium conditions
with respect to the deformations of the structure. The system of differential
equations of the GBT is found as the virtual work of stresses and applied

R. Schardl

164

loads at virtual displacements ~V -- 1. The virtual work of the second-order


terms is represented below for one strip t. ds of an element dx (Fig. 1).
The axial stress in the cross-section is expressed by the m stress resultants 'W and the warping functions :u

imiu(s)

cr,(s) = - _

(2)

i=: I

The elastic inclination of a fibre which results from a deformation / V'(x) is


i.l = :'V ' . . L
/.
In the x-s plane
./~

In the x-,~ plane

0c' = / V ' . ( /

and the corresponding elastic curvature is


In the x - s plane
In the x - s plane

//.,~" = iV" ./~i"


//"'. = / V " - ! /

The deviating forces q~l and qU caused by the stresses a, and the deformations i v " ( x ) according to Fig. 2, are
In the s-direction
d q~II = (or,. - :.'f't~+ dory- (/~)t ds =

liuT~tds
- ~ (imJvtt -~-iwt Jvt) i-C
::1

and in the ~-direction

l iu.!ftds
( i w / v " + i w ' iv') iC

dqll : i:l

The virtual work of the deviating forces at the virtual displacement


k l / = 1, expressed by Aj~ and ~)"

J7-~
/

Fig. I. Deformation of a cross-section element.

Generalized beam theory

165
~x

S.

adx

idql

fs

Fig. 2. Formulation of the deviating forces.


qlsl " k~s + q I I . kf z _

L J (iwJvr)'

-[-"~

i bl(jL k~s ~- jfkf)t ds

i=1 ~

can be introduced directly into the system of differential equations. The


unified symbol for the integral is ,jk.

,j j +Jfkf)tds

= iC j

(3)

where i indicates the stress distribution due to the stress resultants


(warping moments), j indicates the elastic deformation and k indicates the
equilibrium condition in which the deviating forces are involved.
The values have to be evaluated for the warping moments 1 < i < m,
and the deformation modes 2 _<j _< n and 2 < k < n.
The system of differential equations with the second-order parts resulting from ~rx now becomes
E k c k V " - GkDkv '' + kBkv

~-~ijkl~.(iw.Jvt)lzkq

.jr ~

(4)

2<k<n

i= 1 .i=2

For a systematic evaluation, the unit warping functions u(s) in each


element r are expressed by ~r and fir [Fig. 3(a)]. The unit displacementfunctions f~(s) and f ( s ) are expressed by the constant values f~, fQ and O,
representing the approximate element deformation [Fig. 3(b)].
This leads to
([kl~ =
r=l

-brtr
iC

b2]

i~lr jVfsrk L r - [ - J f Q r k f Q r ~ - ~ r j~gr kOr

1
br
AriLlr -~ [JfQrkOr ~- JOrkfQr] J}

r = 1 ... n

(5)

166

R. S c h a r d t
~v

o)

bl

0 //'~\

4"

/>

:5
\\

Fig. 3. Unit deformation values of a cross-section element r for the evaluation of the integrals
;/~t~. (a) Warping function along one cross-section element; (b) displacements in the 1' : plane.

A comparison with the conventional tbrmulation of the beam theory


identifies the following i/~n-values:
i

--1

- - 71M

-1
")

--tiM!

m QM

l'rl~,

i-M

i=4
3

4
-1

[
i

-!

r~,

The matrix of the '/kts-values for warping moment i is symmetrical. Values


for i >_ 4 do not appear in the conventional theory. In general, they are of
less importance.

2.2 The eigenvalue problem


Assume the structure to have pin-ended supports and to be loaded by a
centric normal force which is constant along the x-axis. In this case, the
index i of the load is 1. The differential equation (4) is reduced to

Generalized beam theory

Ekc.kv,,,, _ GkD.kV,, + kB.kV + I W

tik~. iv,, = 0

167

(6)

i=2

The solution for k V(x), which satisfies the support conditions, is a sine
function:
kV(x) = kV,,, . sin rrx
/

(7)

Introducing this into eqn (6), we get the following matrix eigenvalue
problem:

iV,,,. ~ik~.

= 0

(8)

i=2

in which A is the load-factor.


IWcr = A-IW0
It is presumed that, when the load reaches the critical value, the structure
is undeformed.

3 C O U P L I N G BY M O D E S
3.1 The individual modes

If we only allow a single m o d e k for the buckling deformation, so that all


K-values with.j :fi k are neglected, then for each mode we have the following simple formula for the critical load:

~P(l)

'kWcr- i~-k~

(9)

with the abbreviation


kp(l) = E . k c

+ G . k D + B.

(10)

The three components of kp show different characteristics concerning the


length:
the warping stiffness of the system decreases by I l l 2
the torsion stiffness is independent of the length
the distortion stiffness increases with / 2

16~

R. Scltardt

1~., where

The corresponding characteristic length


found to be
/~.

d,

I+~.,
is minimal, is

4rE./'C
7rv aB

(I I)

For ~B equal to zero,/c is infinite.


The m i n i m u m critical warping m o m e n t '~ We,- at lc is
min i~W~.,- = i~aIh~ (2x/E.aC ' AB+G "/'D)

(12)

Equation (10) divided by 2 v ~ . kC. kB gives

2x/E.kC.~B

+2v/E.~C./,B

2V~k/-/)

and introducing/c leads to the dimensionless form

/'P(I)

1 (~) 2

2x/E.~C.kB

G/'D

1 ( ~ ) -~

(13)

+ 2x/E-~C./'B +

The normalized solution for eqn (13) is plotted in Fig. 4. In double


logarithmic scale, the kb(/)-function consists of two straight parts and a
transition curve in the range of the m i n i m u m value of kh (see Section 5).
Numerical solutions by individual modes for a C-section are also discussed in Section 5.
2,5

~I
kp(l )
'\/2~

2.0
1.5kp(l) 1,0
0,5
o

~GO
-i . . . . . . .
0

1,0

0,5
--

1,5

IB

It
Fig. 4. N o r m a l i z e d s o l u t i o n for q u a d r a l i c e q n I I 3).

2,O

169

Generalized beam theory

3.2 Two-mode interaction in buckling deformation


If we allow two modes j and k for buckling interaction, we have the
eigenvalue problem
(JP - OJI,g. iWcr ) J v m - ikjt%" i W c r . k v m ~- 0

(14)

(kp _ ikkt~ " iWcr) " kVm ~- 0

(15)

ijk . i W c r . j V m +

Equation (14) is divided by ~Jt~and eqn (15) by ikk.


With the abbreviation iJW, which is the critical load i Wrwhen only JV is
allowed, we find

iJm __ i m c r
~Jkl%
- ikkN " iWcr

i, ) //00/
ijjl~ " iWcr

.
i k w -- tWcr

{ JVm

" ~ kVm

(16)

The critical v a l u e imcr is given as the solution of a quadratic equation


(Det = 0)
ijkt~, ikjt,;

2
( O W - ' W c r ) ( i k w - iWcr) - ijj~;, ikk-------~' i Wcr
= 0

(17)

We extract the lowest value of iJw and ikw as factors of the left side of eqn
(17) and introduce the dimensionless parameters

1
qkt~ "ikjt~

/3 --

(18)

~jj~. ikk~

and
ik W

w = ~j--~_ 1

(19)

and find

'

/3 (1 +w)[1 - ~/1 -

'mcr = q m . ~

4~

/3(1 --[-0.))2

= ''/"/JW

(20)

The parameters /3 and w vary between 1 and w. The lowest possible


value of 7 is , w h e n / 3 = 1 and w = 1. The function 7(w,/3) is plotted in
Fig. 5.

R. Schardt

170

1.0

O~
= 0.95

I O,g

: 0.9

5'

0.7

: 0.8
: 0.6

0.6

:0.4

0.5

:0

0.2

0.4

0.6

1--.,,..

0.8

1.0

u,}

Fig. 5. Interaction coefficient7-

4 C O U P L I N G BY LOADS
4.1 T w o w a r p i n g m o m e n t s as l o a d

4.1.1 One individual mode as deJormation

The load has the two components iW0 and/W0, and the buckling deformation is assumed to consist of only one mode ~V. Both load components
are increased by the load-factor nA. In the eigenvalue problem
[ j p _ il/~ . (ijjl% " iWo 4- ljl~ . /m0)] " il]Vm = 0

(21)

the coupled solution can be expressed by the solutions for individual loads
(eqn (9))

Jp
iWcr = ::-qJl~

JP
and

IWcr =

Introducing the abbreviation

q -

(22)

~i%./Wo
i~/~. i W o

in eqn (21), we get the following equations:


ilA. iWo
1
- - -iWcr
1 4-q

and

hA. lWo
1
- lWcr
1 4 - -1
q

(23)

Generalized beam theory

171

It is obvious that, independent of the length, the interaction function (Fig.


6) is a straight line (Dunkerly line). This is a consequence of the fact that
both the single load solutions and the interacting load solution have the
same buckling deformation iV.
4.1.2 Two or more modes as deformation

The eigenvalue problem can be taken from eqn (8). In this case we have
mixed interaction between modes and loads. Therefore, it is not easy to
express the coupling effect explicitly, but according to the previous case we
can state that, if the deformation vectors Okv and 0kV for the single load
solution are affine, the interaction curve is also a straight line.
This effect is demonstrated in the numerical examples.

5 EXAMPLES
5.1 Cross-section properties of C-section

The cross-section (Fig. 7) has 5 plane elements (main elements) and 6


main nodes. The 6 natural degrees of freedom (warping ordinates of the
main nodes) are sufficient to describe the lateral buckling, lateraltorsional buckling and the buckling of the lips (simple distortion). To
include also the plate-buckling of the web (higher distortion modes) the
displacement of intermediate nodes is introduced as additional degrees
of freedom. The arrangement in Fig. 7 with 8 intermediate nodes allows
16 modes. The higher modes (k > 10) are of no importance to our
problem. The warping functions, the deformations and the transverse

"A. ~Wo
~W~

0.5
%X. iWo

0.5

iWer

Fig. 6. Linear interaction.

172

R. Schardt
10

r
6

...........

L,'

10
Y

31

4, + e

11

4,~

12

---1I!]
13

Fig. 7. C-section: dimensions (cm) and location of nodes 1 14.

bending moments are shown in Figs 8-10. Of these, 5 are symmetric


and 5 are antisymmetric.
Table 1 contains the stiffness values for symmetric and antisymmetric
modes separately.
Table 2 contains the to-values (eqn 5); two for normal force ~W and two
for bending moment about y-axis 3W complete the section properties.
Symmetric and antisymmetric modes are totally uncoupled.
5.2 The single mode solution for centric normal force
To achieve a dimensionless solution, the buckling factor kb is introduced. In
our case it is the buckling stress oer related to the Euler stress oe of the web
e - - 12(]---- ~2)
O'cr = kb "O'e

(;)2

-~-

18980. 0.22
102 -- 7.592 kN/cm 2

(24)

(25)

Results from the single-mode solution, depending upon the length, are
shown in Fig. 11 on a double logarithmic scale.
It is obvious that some modes dominate special ranges of the length,
where they have the minimal value. Beginning with very short lengths
(about 8 cm), we have the local buckling of the web expressed by mode
j = 7. The minimum value of 5.27 for kb at a length of 8-2 cm shows how
much the usual assumption of kb = 4, which neglects the elastic restraint
by the flanges, is on the safe side. At medium lengths (minimum at 48 cm)

Generalized beam theory

173

warping function k=3

warpln9 function k=4

warping function k=5

warping function k,,6

warping luncUon k=7

warping function k-8

2;

warping function k=9

wuzplng function k=lO

Fig. 8. Warping functions for C-section (modes k = 1-10).

174

R. Schardt

deformation k= 1

deformaUon k - 2

i___
deformation k - 4

deformation k - 3

,; . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . .

delormatlon k - 5

deformation k - 6

2 ' -.....
deformation k=7

de|orrnallon k - 8

/
defonnillon k,-9

delormatlon k - l O

Fig. 9. Deformations for C-section (modes k = 1-10).

Generalized beam theory

bending moment k-1

bendlng momen! k=3

L J
bending momenl k-5

175

bending moment k-2

L J
L
P J
bending moment k=4

bending moment k,,6

bending moment k=7

bendlng moment k-8

bending momenl k-lO

moment k ~

3
Fig. 10. Transverse bending moments for C-section (modes k = 1-10).

176

R. Schardt
TABLE 1

Modal Constants kC, kD and kB for C-Section, Symmmetric Modes


k

kC
kD
kB

5.000
0
0

27.082
0
0

20.742
0.09190
8.3716

0.00382
0.00245
1.6930

0.00505
0.00978
12-515

Modal Constants for Antisymmetric Modes


k
2

kc
kD
kB

87.626
0
0

623.173
0.06667
0

0.26099
0.00121
0.26362

0-00655
0.01232
12-142

10

0.00549
0.01315
31-823

the distortion modes j = 5 and j = 6 (symmetric and antisymmetric buckling of the lips) have the lowest critical values (kb = 4.7 for mode 5), while
column buckling begins at a length of about 90 cm. A change from
symmetric lip-buckling to antisymmetric lateral-torsional buckling occurs
at a length of about 90 cm.
The solid curve, which shows the solution for all modes in interaction,
demonstrates the good approximation by the single modes, especially at
the characeristic lengths.
The curves in the bottom diagram of Fig. 11 show the participation in
percent o f the different modes in the interactive buckling form.
5.3 Interaction of normal force and bending moment as load

As an example of two interacting warping moments, we consider an eccentric


normal force. Then we have i = 1 for the normal force and 1 = 3 for bending
about the y-axis. The interaction parameter r/(eqn (22)) becomes
31it~ 3W0

7 / - 1ij~. 1W0
The dominant deformation for lip-buckling is j = 5. Then r/is given by
=

-0.1052. e. N
= 0-4707- e
-0.2235.N

with the eccentricity e of the normal force in the z-direction.

Generalized beam theory

177

TABLE2
K-Values~rC-Section(Fig. 7)
x-Values likK(symm.)
k
/

3
5
7
9

-l.O000
-0.1376
-0.2283
0.1335

-0.1376
-0.2235
-0.0931
-0.0809

7
-0.2283
-0.0931
-0.2076
0-00061

9
0.1335
-0.0809
0.00061
-0.2750

K-Values likK(antisymm.)
k
j

2
4
6
8

-l.O00
-5.210
-0.2745
-0.3173

-5.210
-50.084
-1.812
-1.842

-0.2745
-1.812
-0.2235
-0.1135

-0.3173
-1.842
-0.1135
-0.3567

K-Values 3ikK(symm.)
k
j

3
5
7
9

0
0.0168
0.1116
0.0122

0.0168
-0.1052
0.0210
-0.0344

0.1116
0.0210
0.0798
-0.0470

0.0122
-0.0344
-0.0470
-0.0573

K-Values 3~K (antisymm.)


k
j

2
4
6
8

0
-1.000
-0.1548
-0-0541

-1.000
-13.734
-1.223
-0.7334

-0.1548
-1-223
-0.1275
-0.0177

-0.0541
-0.7334
-0.0177
-0.0533

178

R. Schardt

100

k -%

50

b- Oe

10
5

i
I

10[

100%

50

10C.

0%

'~,.

".h,5001" h.,. 1000


I Icm]

Fig. ! 1. Buckling coefficient k b tbr single mode solutions, coupled solutions and c o m p o nents of modes in coupled solulion.

We choose node 1 (see Fig. 7) for the critical stress. For 'q = I
(e = 2.125 cm) we find the critical stress for a single load at the characteristic length/c = 48 cm using eqn (25):
ICrcr = 5.623 x 7.592 = 42.69 k N / c m 2
3crc,. = 8.580 7-592

65.14 k N / c m 2

Assuming linear interaction, we find


13crc,. =

42.69 + 65.14

= 53.9 k N / c m 2

2
The exact solution, using the modes 3.5, 7, 9, is
1~c~,. = 54-59 k N / c m 2
which confirms a nearly linear interaction, so that eqn (23) is a good
a p p r o x i m a t i o n . The results for some positive eccentricities are plotted in
Fig. 12.
Negative eccentricities lead to web buckling (mode 7). N o d e 5 is chosen
for the critical stress. The results for some negative eccentricities are
shown in Fig. 13. The buckling coefficient kb is nearly independent of the
eccentricity e. The c o n t r i b u t i o n s of the modes to the buckling d e f o r m a t i o n
in Fig. 13 are valid for e = - 0 . 5 .

Generalized beam theory

179

100
k

Oct,1

50

b= T

20

10
5

10

20

50

100

200

100% - -

0%
t [cm]

Fig. 12. Buckling coefficient kb for positive eccentricities e (cm) (lip buckling).

kb=

100

oc~s 50

20
10

e---O.5
5

20
100 %

50

100

200

1000

0%
t lcm]

Fig. 13. Buckling coefficient kb for negative eccentricities e (cm) (web buckling).

I ~0

R. Schardz

The example demonstrates the advantage of the GBT formulation


especially for stability problems. It is the consequence of the orthogonality
of the modes, which is not only a mathematical but also a mechanical
attribute. The modes are 'natural' components of the buckling deformation.

REFERENCES
1. Schardt, R., Vera/l,~emeinerte Teclmische
Germany, 1989.

Bie,~etheoHe. Springer-Verlag,