Effect of element interaction and material nonlinearityon the ultimate capacity of stainless steel cross-sections

M. Theofanous*, L. Gardner

*Corresponding author for this work

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

25 Citations (Scopus)


The effect of element interaction and material nonlinearity on the ultimate capacity of stainless steel plated cross-sections is investigated in this paper. The focus of the research lies in cross-sections failing by local buckling; member instabilities, distortional buckling and interactions thereof with local buckling are not considered. The cross-sections investigated include rectangular hollow sections (RHS), I sections and parallel flange channels (PFC). Based on previous finite element investigations of structural stainless steel stub columns, parametric studies were conducted and the ultimate capacity of the aforementioned cross-sections with a range of element slendernesses and aspect ratios has been obtained. Various design methods, including the effective width approach, the direct strength method (DSM), the continuous strength method (CSM) and a design method based on regression analysis, which accounts for element interaction, were assessed on the basis of the numerical results, and the relative merits and weaknesses of each design approach have been highlighted. Element interaction has been shown to be significant for slender cross-sections, whilst the behaviour of stocky cross-sections is more strongly influenced by the material strain-hardening characteristics. A modification to the continuous strength method has been proposed to allow for the effect of element interaction, which leads to more reliable ultimate capacity predictions. Comparisons with available test data have also been made to demonstrate the enhanced accuracy of the proposed method and its suitability for the treatment of local buckling in stainless steel cross-sections.

Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)73-92
Number of pages20
JournalSteel & Composite Structures: an international journal
Issue number1
Publication statusPublished - Jan 2012
Externally publishedYes


  • Classification
  • Cross-section
  • Element interaction
  • Local buckling
  • Numerical modelling
  • Slenderness
  • Stainless steel
  • Stub column

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • Civil and Structural Engineering
  • Building and Construction
  • Metals and Alloys


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