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Accurate beam finite element for tapered members

Modeling of tapered elements

Stability calculation of tapered members is always a difficult problem despite its popularity in steel hall construction.

Generally in analysis software for the stability analysis a segmented but uniform beam element method is used where a member with I or H cross section and with variable web depth is divided into n segments and the depth of each segment is taken equal to the real depth measured at the middle of the segment. The lengths of the segments were taken equal, except at both ends where additional shorter segments are added in order the better approximate the real depth of the elements to be modeled. Such model captures correctly the in-plane displacements, but cannot consider accurately the additional torsion coming from the axial stresses due to warping in the flanges which are not parallel with the reference line in case of tapered elements.

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