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Cross-sectional stability of aluminium extrusions with arbitrary cross-sectional shapes - experimental and numerical research

J. Mennink1, 2, F. Soetens1, 2 and H.H. Snijder2
1 TNO Building & Construction Research, Delft, The Netherlands
2 Eindhoven University of Technology, Eindhoven, The Netherlands

Aluminium extrusiona applied in daily practice are often thin-walled with complex cross-sectional shapes. These shapes are based on a variety of demands that are in general non-structural. As a result, several types of instability may occur, including overall and cross-sectional instability modes as well as mode interactions. Research on overall buckling is usually based on simple and symmetrical cross-sections, whereas cross-sectional instability is simplified to buckling of individual plates. It is therefore highly unlikely that these design rules provide an accurate description of the actual buckling behaviour of arbitrary cross-sections. As predicted failure modes not necessarily agree with actual ones, the outcome of the results may be overly conservative but could be unsafe as well. This article provides a summary of results and insight obtained form an extensive experimental and numerical program executed, Mennink (2002). These results shed a new light on the actual buckling behaviour of members with non-standard cross-sections.

Key words: Stability, aluminium, local buckling, extrusions, distortional buckling, buckling