Continuing Education

Column Design: Past, Present, Future

The historical development of the different approaches for designing metal columns is presented and critiqued. For completeness, ancient column designs of stone and wood prior to the use of iron columns are briefly mentioned. The mathematical, experimental, industrial, professional and political factors that contributed to our current status are presented. Landmark breakthroughs are noted, and their influence on design recommendations discussed. Emphasis is placed on determining the underlying factors that led to the use of various formulas. Prior to 1960, emphasis was placed on design methods for an isolated compression member. Since 1960 the focus has been on columns as part of frames, by introducing factors such as effective length factors (K-factors), PΔ, frame stability, plastic design and second-order structural analysis. The development of the current AISC column curve is presented. The single-column curve vs the multiple-column curve controversy is evaluated, and possible future changes to our design approach, due to the current methods of manufacturing rolled steel sections, will be predicted.

This course is based on a past AISC Live Webinar.

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



  • Date: 12/6/2018
  • PDH Credits: 1.5


Joseph A. Yura, PE, PhD


Column Design: Past, Present, Future


Column Design: Past, Present, Future (2 Slides per Page)

Column Design: Past, Present, Future (4 Slides per Page)

SSRC 2018 Paper - Column Design: Past, Present, Future (Yura)