Date of Thesis

Spring 5-10-2012

Thesis Type

Honors Thesis


Civil Engineering

First Advisor

Ronald Ziemian


Currently, the Specification for Aluminum Structures (Aluminum Association, 2010) shows thin-walled aluminum plate sections with radii greater than eight inches have a lower compressive strength capacity than a flat plate with the same width and thickness. This inconsistency with intuition, which suggests any degree of folding a plate should increase its elastic buckling strength, inspired this study. A wide range of curvatures are studied—from a nearly flat plate to semi-circular. To quantify the curvature, a single non-dimensional parameter is used to represent all combinations of width, thickness and radius. Using the finite strip method (CU-FSM), elastic local buckling stresses are investigated. Using the ratio of stress values of curved plates compared to flat plates of the same size, equivalent plate-buckling coefficients are calculated. Using this data, nonlinear regression analyses are performed to develop closed form equations for five different edge support conditions. These equations can be used to calculate the elastic critical buckling stress for any curved aluminum section when the geometric properties (width, thickness, and radius) and the material properties (elastic modulus and Poisson’s ratio) are known. This procedure is illustrated in examples, each showing the applicability of the derived equations to geometries other than those investigated in this study and also providing comparisons with theoretically exact numerical analysis results.