Date of Award

Fall 2012

Degree Type


Degree Name

Doctor of Philosophy (PhD)


Civil Engineering


Ken Siva Sivakumaran


Bassam Halabieh



Committee Member

Michael J. Tait


A large rectangular industrial duct consists of plates stiffened with parallel wide flange sections. The plates along with stiffeners acts to resist the pressure loads and to carry other loads to the supports. The behaviours of the components of large industrial ducts are significantly different from the behaviours on which the current design methods are based on. Investigation presented herein deals with the design methods for spacing stiffeners, proportioning stiffeners and calculating shear resistance of side panel.

Current method of spacing stiffeners is based on large deflection plate theory. A parametric study was conducted on dimensionless parameters identified in order to benefit from membrane action in partially yielding plate for spacing stiffeners. Design equations were established in terms of dimensionless pressure, plate slenderness and normalized out-of-plane deflection for three cases namely; 0%, 16.5% and 33% of through thickness yielding of the plate. Results show that approximately 50% increase in stiffener spacing when yielding of 16.5% of thickness is permitted.

Under suction type pressure load, the unsupported compression flange and restrained tension flange lead to distortional buckling of the stiffeners. The current methods do not address distortional buckling adequately. A parametric study on dimensionless parameters governing the behaviour and strength of stiffened plat panels was conducted. The study indicated that the behaviour and strength of the stiffened panels could be a function of web slenderness and overall slenderness of the stiffener. The study also identified the slenderness limit of stiffener web for which the stiffener reaches the yield moment capacity. This study demonstrated the conservatism of current method. Finally a method was established to calculate the strength of stiffened plate panel subjected lateral pressure.

Side panels adjacent to the supports transfer large amount of shear to the supports and, in addition, resist internal pressure. Currently the design of side panels for shear is based on the methods used for the web of fabricated plate girders. The behaviour and the characteristics between the web of plate girder and the thin side panels are significantly different. A parametric study was conducted on dimensionless parameters identified. It was concluded that the plate slenderness dominates the normalized shear strength of stockier side panels. The aspect ratio and plate slenderness influence the normalized shear strength of slender side panels. Design methods to calculate the shear strength of side panels were proposed.

McMaster University Library

Files over 3MB may be slow to open. For best results, right-click and select "save as..."