CIVL5266: Steel Structures – Stability (2015 - Semester 1)

Download UoS Outline

Unit: CIVL5266: Steel Structures - Stability (6 CP)
Mode: Normal-Day
On Offer: Yes
Level: Postgraduate
Faculty/School: Civil Engineering
Unit Coordinator/s: DR Pham, Cao Hung
Session options: Semester 1
Versions for this Unit:
Campus: Camperdown/Darlington
Pre-Requisites: None.
Brief Handbook Description: Objectives:

This Unit aims to:

- provide fundamental understanding at advanced level of the behaviour and design steel structural members, notably members undergoing cross-sectional and/or global buckling.

- provide fundamental understanding of the methods available for determining buckling loads of structural members and elements, and explain how classical solutions to buckling problems are incorporated in national design standards for steel structures, including AS4100 and AS/NZS4600.


It is anticipated that at the end of this unit of study students will be familiar with the buckling behaviour of steel structures and will understand the methods available for determining buckling loads of structural members and cross-section. Students will have a good understanding of the stability design provisions for steel structures specified in the standards AS4100 and AS/NZS4600, and will be proficient in using software for calculating buckling loads.

Syllabus Summary:

Stability theory, Plate theory, Stability of plates and plate assemblies, Theory for thin-walled members in torsion and bi-axial bending, Stability of thin-walled members, Stability design to AS4100 and AS/NZS4600, Direct Strength Method.
Assumed Knowledge: There are no prerequisites for this unit of study but it is assumed that students are competent in the content covered in Structural Mechanics, Steel Structures, and Structural Analysis.
Lecturer/s: DR Pham, Cao Hung
Professor Rasmussen, Kim
Tutor/s: Mr. John Hewitt and Mr. Morgan Rendall
Timetable: CIVL5266 Timetable
Time Commitment:
# Activity Name Hours per Week Sessions per Week Weeks per Semester
1 Lecture 2.00 2 13
2 Tutorial 2.00 2 13
3 Independent Study 4.00 1 13
T&L Activities: Tutorial: Most lectures will be followed by a tutorial session, lasting typically 1 hr. The tutorial problems aim at providing students a deeper understanding of the theory taught and competence in applying the theory to practical design. Students are highly advised to take advantage of the tutorial sessions, as it possible to complete a significant proportion of assignments during the allocated sessions.

Independent Study: Students should expect that they may have to allocate about 7 - 8 hours a week to the course, which includes about 2 hours of lectures, 2 hours of tutorials, and 3-4 hours outside university working on tutorial questions or assignments.

Attributes listed here represent the key course goals (see Course Map tab) designated for this unit. The list below describes how these attributes are developed through practice in the unit. See Learning Outcomes and Assessment tabs for details of how these attributes are assessed.

Attribute Development Method Attribute Developed
Design of steel structures Design (Level 3)
Advanced understanding of behaviour and design steel Engineering/IT Specialisation (Level 4)
Interpretation and understanding of technical drawings and specifications Information Seeking (Level 2)
Neat and logical setting out of solutions Communication (Level 3)

For explanation of attributes and levels see Engineering & IT Graduate Outcomes Table.

Learning outcomes are the key abilities and knowledge that will be assessed in this unit. They are listed according to the course goal supported by each. See Assessment Tab for details how each outcome is assessed.

Design (Level 3)
1. Knowledge of the use of software in the design of slender cross-sections.
Engineering/IT Specialisation (Level 4)
2. Familiarity with the behaviour of steel structures at advanced level in selected areas, including design for local buckling and design for flexural-torsional buckling of columns and beams.
3. Sound knowledge of AS 4100 in the areas of section capacity determination of slender cross-sections, and flexural-torsional buckling of beams
4. Sound knowledge of AS/NZS 4600 in the areas of section capacity determination of slender cross-sections, and flexural-torsional buckling of columns and beams.
Maths/Science Methods and Tools (Level 3)
5. Understanding of the theory for determining structural stability
6. Understanding of the classical theories for structural behaviour of elastic plates and tnin-walled members.
Communication (Level 3)
7. Ability to communicate solutions of complex problems related to the advanced analysis and design of steel structures through well-prepared and well-documented reports
Assessment Methods:
# Name Group Weight Due Week Outcomes
1 Assignment No 30.00 Multiple Weeks 1, 2, 3, 4, 5, 6, 7,
2 Final Exam No 70.00 Exam Period 2, 3, 4, 5, 6,
Assessment Description: Assignment: Three assignments. Assignment 1: Thin-walled beam theory (10%). Assigment 2: Flexural-torsional buckling (10%). Assignment 3: Plate buckling-Design (10%).

Final Exam: Written three-hour exam at the end of the semester. Questions will be in the three main areas of study: Thin-walled beam theory, Flexural-torsional buckling and Plate buckling-design.
Grade Type Description
Standards Based Assessment Final grades in this unit are awarded at levels of HD for High Distinction, DI (previously D) for Distinction, CR for Credit, PS (previously P) for Pass and FA (previously F) for Fail as defined by University of Sydney Assessment Policy. Details of the Assessment Policy are available on the Policies website at . Standards for grades in individual assessment tasks and the summative method for obtaining a final mark in the unit will be set out in a marking guide supplied by the unit coordinator.
Special Conditions to Pass UoS Special Conditions to Pass UoS: In addition to the normal 50 % total mark, the following criteria must be met to achieve a pass (a) final examination mark of at least 40%, (b) satisfactory submission of assignments. Students who do not meet all the criteria will not receive a pass in the unit of study, and regardless of their performance in individual components of the unit of study, will not receive a mark greater than 45 %. Students should note that satisfying the non-exam criteria does not necessarily imply that they have achieved “satisfactory progress".
Policies & Procedures: See the policies page of the faculty website at for information regarding university policies and local provisions and procedures within the Faculty of Engineering and Information Technologies.
Recommended Reference/s: Note: References are provided for guidance purposes only. Students are advised to consult these books in the university library. Purchase is not required.
Note on Resources: - Lecture notes compiled by Kim Rasmussen and Greg Hancock

- AS 4100-1998 Steel Structures

- AS 4100-1999 Commentary to AS 4100

- AS/NZS 4600:2005 Cold-formed Steel Structures

- HB 2.2: Australian Standards for Civil Engineering Students, Part 2 - Structural Engineering

Note that the "Weeks" referred to in this Schedule are those of the official university semester calendar

Week Description
Week 1 Introduction- Beam theory, uniform and warping torsion, nature of warping.
Displacements & strains, stress resultants.
Week 2 Equilibrium and governing equations, shear centre.
Revision – beam theory.
Week 3 Stability theory – fundamentals
Week 4 Fire Engineering.
Week 5 Flexural-torsional buckling, small and moderately large displ theory for beams.
Bifurcation, Euler columns.
Week 6 Flexural-torsional buckling theory, buckling of columns.
Flexural-torsional buckling of beams.
Week 7 Revision – flexural-torsional buckling.
Design of columns and beams, AS4100 and AS/NZS4600.
Week 8 Plates, strain-displ rel, stress-strain rel, stress resultants.
Equilibrium, Plate buckling eqn for ss plate.
Week 9 Classical plate buckling equations for uniform compression.
Buckling of plates w/elastic restraint.
Week 10 Energy method for plates.
Buckling of plates w/edge and intm stiffeners. Orthotropic plates THIN-WALL demonstration.
Week 11 Post-buckling behaviour and strength of plates.
Design of channel section and Lab demonstration.
Week 12 Direct Strength Method.
Design of plates and sections, AS4100 and AS/NZS4600.
Week 13 Revision.
Exam Period Assessment Due: Final Exam

Course Relations

The following is a list of courses which have added this Unit to their structure.

Course Year(s) Offered
Master of Engineering (Structures) 2011, 2012
Civil 2010, 2011, 2012, 2013, 2014, 2015
Civil Engineering / Arts 2011, 2012, 2013, 2014
Civil Engineering / Project Management 2012, 2013, 2014
Civil Engineering / Science 2011, 2012, 2013, 2014
Civil (Construction Management) 2011, 2012, 2013, 2014, 2015
Civil (Environmental) 2011, 2012, 2013, 2014, 2015
Civil (Geotechnical) 2011, 2012, 2013, 2014, 2015
Civil (Structures) 2011, 2012, 2013, 2014, 2015
Civil / Arts 2015
Civil / Project Management 2015
Civil / Science 2015
Project Engineering and Management (Civil) 2010, 2011, 2012
Project Engineering and Management (Civil) / Science 2011
Master of Engineering 2013, 2014, 2015
Master of Engineering (Civil Engineering) 2012
Master of Professional Engineering (Civil) 2010, 2011, 2012, 2013, 2014, 2015
Master of Professional Engineering (Fluids) 2010
Master of Professional Engineering (Structural) 2010, 2011, 2012, 2013, 2014, 2015
Flexible First Year (Stream A) / Science 2012
Civil Engineering / Design in Architecture 2010
Civil / Commerce 2015
Civil / Design in Architecture 2015
Civil / Medical Science 2015

Course Goals

This unit contributes to the achievement of the following course goals:

Attribute Practiced Assessed
Design (Level 3) Yes 4.28%
Engineering/IT Specialisation (Level 4) Yes 54.85%
Maths/Science Methods and Tools (Level 3) No 36.57%
Information Seeking (Level 2) Yes 0%
Communication (Level 3) Yes 4.28%

These goals are selected from Engineering & IT Graduate Outcomes Table which defines overall goals for courses where this unit is primarily offered. See Engineering & IT Graduate Outcomes Table for details of the attributes and levels to be developed in the course as a whole. Percentage figures alongside each course goal provide a rough indication of their relative weighting in assessment for this unit. Note that not all goals are necessarily part of assessment. Some may be more about practice activity. See Learning outcomes for details of what is assessed in relation to each goal and Assessment for details of how the outcome is assessed. See Attributes for details of practice provided for each goal.