Continuing Education

Fundamentals of Structural Stability for Steel Design

The high strength and stiffness-to-weight ratios of structural steel often results in relatively slender members and systems in which stability is a primary design consideration. This course provides an overview of the behavior of compression, flexural and beam-column members as well as an introduction to system stability. The course contains several examples illustrating stability analysis and design concepts.

Part 1: The behavior of compression members will be covered. The assumptions in the solution to the Euler column problem will be used as a basis for systematically moving from the theoretical solution presented in 1759 to modern day methods of design and analysis of compression members. Emphasis will be placed on the effects of material yielding accentuated by the presence of residual stresses, initial imperfections and end conditions. The flexural buckling strength of members without slender elements will be covered and ultimately presented in the form of column curves.

Part 2: This session will begin by presenting and dissecting the solution to the differential equation that defines the elastic lateral torsional buckling (LTB) strength of beams. Related flexural and torsional concepts, including the benefits of warping resistance, will be briefly reviewed. The assumption of elastic behavior will then be relaxed to define the inelastic LTB and plastic moment capacities of flexural members. The strength of beams without slender elements will be covered and ultimately presented in the form of beam resistance curves.

Part 3: This lecture will begin with a review of basic concepts related to the stability of structural systems. With an eye towards design, the difference between a bifurcation, or critical load analysis, and the loss in stiffness due to second-order effects and material yielding as the maximum resistance of physical structures is approached, will be emphasized. The lecture will conclude with an overview of the direct analysis and effective length methods.

This course is based on a past AISC Night School program. 

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

  • Date: 6/3/2013 - 7/8/2013
  • PDH Credits: 4.5


Ronald Ziemian, PE, PhD


Part I

Part II

Part III