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Structural Analysis of Imperfect Three-Legged Truss Columns for Large Space Structures Applications


Elyada, Dov (1985) Structural Analysis of Imperfect Three-Legged Truss Columns for Large Space Structures Applications. Dissertation (Ph.D.), California Institute of Technology. doi:10.7907/YXNE-YE65.


Three-legged truss columns are basic structural components of many envisioned large outer-space structures. They constitute three longerons ('legs') forming, in the column cross-section, the vertices of an equiliateral triangle. Their longerons are held together by uniformly spaced battens while a shear web, usually made of diagonals, restrains shear deformation.

This work deals with configurations characterized by having relatively stiff battens, longerons which are pinned to the battens and prestressed string diagonals. Considered are only simply-supported slender columns having slender longeron segments and relatively thin and lightly preloaded diagonals. The columns are allowed to have global (overall) as well as local (longeron segment) geometrical imperfections - not necessarily small ones.

Investigated is the static structural behavior of such columns when loaded by purely axial compressive concentrated forces acting at the supports. Addressed are the topics of global and local buckling, post-buckling, imperfection sensitivity, global-local mode interaction, complete non-linear response, limit loads and diagonals slackening and post-slackening.

The approach is a theoretical one; a system of non-linear, ordinary differential equations is set up which represents the column, and results, mostly in closed form, are obtained by solving that system for a variety of cases of varying generality.

First, a highly idealized case is studied in detail, in which the diagonals are removed and infinite shear rigidity is postulated instead. The results exhibit most of the essential features of the more complicated cases. Next, the case of the undeflected or only-slightly deflected column is considered. Results include the prebuckling behavior, slackening and local buckling loads, global buckling load, initial post-buckling behavior and imperfection sensitivities. Diagonals slackening in a deflecting column is studied next. This is done by means of slackening loci constructed in the load-deflection plane. Solutions are obtained for some special cases of a deflecting column. These include a complete analysis of the locally-perfect case and the cases of small load and high defection. Also obtained is an engineering-oriented load-deflection working relation valid for the most general case but based on generalization rather than on rigorous solution. A torsion-compression mode, dominant in post-slackening, is also analyzed. The work is concluded by investigating the error committed in treating continuous longerons as if they were discontinuous-pinned.

Item Type:Thesis (Dissertation (Ph.D.))
Subject Keywords:Aeronautics
Degree Grantor:California Institute of Technology
Division:Engineering and Applied Science
Major Option:Aeronautics
Awards:The Ernest E. Sechler Memorial Award in Aeronautics
Thesis Availability:Public (worldwide access)
Research Advisor(s):
  • Babcock, Charles D.
Thesis Committee:
  • Babcock, Charles D. (chair)
  • Cohen, Donald S.
  • Knowles, James K.
  • Roshko, Anatol
  • Rosakis, Ares J.
Defense Date:7 December 1984
Non-Caltech Author Email:dovel (AT)
Funding AgencyGrant Number
Record Number:CaltechETD:etd-11182004-161353
Persistent URL:
Default Usage Policy:No commercial reproduction, distribution, display or performance rights in this work are provided.
ID Code:4597
Deposited By: Imported from ETD-db
Deposited On:18 Nov 2004
Last Modified:21 Dec 2019 04:58

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PDF (Elyada_d_1985.pdf) - Final Version
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