Advanced Steel Construction

Vol. 6, No. 1, pp. 515-547 (2010)




Thomas Hansen *, Jesper Gath and M.P. Nielsen

ALECTIA A/S, Teknikerbyen 34, DK-2830 Virum, Denmark

*(Corresponding author: E-mail: This email address is being protected from spambots. You need JavaScript enabled to view it.)

Received: 11 May 2007; Revised: 17 July 2008; Accepted: 17 September 2008




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Currently, calculations of plates in compression are based on the semi-empirical effective width method which was developed by Winter et al.


The effective width method takes the post-buckling capacity into account. The aim of the paper is to establish an effective width method, which is derived on the basis of a consistent theory. The method rests on the theory of plasticity, particularly the yield line theory. Emphasis is on buckling problems related to plate girders. Two general cases are studied: Plates in uniaxial compression supported along all edges, cf. the compressed flange in a box girder, and plates with one free edge, cf. the compressed flange and the transverse web stiffeners in an I-shaped girder. The results presented coincide closely with Winter’s formulae and with tests.



Post-buckling, thin plates, theory of plasticity, yield line theory, effective width method, failure mechanisms, stability, in-plane loading


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