A recent review of equipment installed in a power plant found a piping strut that was visibly bent. Would the bend in the strut reduce its load bearing capacity as a compression member? The answer is YES! The load bearing capacity of a bent strut against buckling is reduced. The reduction in buckling capacity is a function of the strut’s section properties and its initial deformation. We will see here how this can be quantified analytically (closed-form solution) and numerically (FEA solution). The equation for the maximum axial load capacity of a column, before it buckles, was first formulated by Leonhard Euler in 1757. F cr = (π 2 E I)/(K L) 2 Where E = Young’s modulus of column material; I = cross-sectional moment of inertia of the column; L = unbraced length of column; and K is a factor that depends on the degree of fixity in the...

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