Columns and Struts - Steel Structures.

Members subject to compression, referred to as either ‘columns’ or ‘struts’, form one of the basic types of load-carrying component.They may be found, for example, as vertical columns in building frames, in the compression chords of a bridge truss or in any position in a space frame.

In many practical situations struts are not subject solely to compression but, depending upon the exact nature of the load path through the structure, are also required to resist some degree of bending. For example, a corner column in a building is normally bent about both axes by the action of the beam  loads, a strut in a space frame is not necessarily loaded concentrically, the compression chord of a roof truss may also be required to carry some lateral loads. Thus many compression members are actually designed for combined loading as beam-columns. Notwith-standing this, the ability to determine the compressive resistance of members is of fundamental importance in design, both for the struts loaded only in compression and as one component in the interaction type of approach normally used for beam- column design.

The most significant factor that must be considered in the design of struts is buckling. Depending on the type of member and the particular application under consideration, this may take several forms. One of these, local buckling of individual plate elements in compression, has already been considered in Chapter 13.Much of this chapter is devoted to the consideration of the way in which buckling is handled in strut design.

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