Continuing Education

Structural Stability -- Letting the Fundamentals Guide Your Judgment

One of the great things about working with structural steel is that most design provisions are based on first principles and fairly predictable experimental test results. This is especially true when assessing structural stability. The primary objective of this lecture is to show how most stability problems can be understood by focusing on the big picture rather than on the details of the seemingly complex mathematics. The presentation will begin by identifying those factors that primarily impact the buckling strength of a system, member, or cross section. Drawing on several example applications, the proper use of today's computational analysis tools will be demonstrated as a means for enhancing engineering judgement. A case will be made for how a fundamental understanding of structural stability is often sufficient for today's steel designers, whether applying the direct analysis method to assess system strength or a column curve to evaluate the strength of a compression member. The lecture will also include an overview of the author's paper "Formulation and Validation of Minimum Brace Stiffness for Systems of Compression Members."  This is the 2019 T.R. Higgins lecture!

This course is based on a past AISC Live Webinar.

You must download and pass a quiz to receive a PDH certificate for this course.

  • Date: 4/16/2020
  • PDH Credits: 1.5


Ronald D. Ziemian, PhD


Structural Stability -- Letting the Fundamentals Guide Your Judgement