Local buckling is a major consideration in the design of thin-walled cold-formed steel sections. The main effect of local buckling in plate elements under longitudinal compressive stresses is to cause a redistribution of the stresses in which the greatest portion of the load is carried near the supporting edges of the plate junctions. The redistribution produces increased stresses near the plate junctions and high bending stresses as a result of plate flexure, leading to ultimate loads below the squash load of the section. In singly symmetric cross-sections, the redistribution of longitudinal stress caused by local buckling also produces a shift of the line of action of internal force (shift of effective centroid). The fundamentally different effects of local buckling on the behaviour of pin-ended and fixed-ended singly symmetric columns lead to inconsistencies in traditional design approaches. The paper describes local buckling and shift of effective centroid of thin-walled cold-formed steel channel columns. Tests of channel columns have been described. The experimental local buckling loads were compared with the theoretical local buckling loads obtained using an elastic finite strip buckling analysis. The shift of the effective centroid was also compared with the shift predicted using the Australian/New Zealand and American specifications for cold-formed steel structures.
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