Rotational Stability of Plastic Hinges

Michael Roberts, J. Michael Davies

Research output: Contribution to conferencePaperpeer-review


This paper is part of a larger project that considers the design of large steel-framed warehouses
and distribution centres (‘Big Sheds’) in the context of the SCOSS Alert “Effects of Scale” [1]. These
buildings are currently designed to Standards and design procedures that were intended for much
smaller structures, and are now long out of date. In the UK, the steel frames of such buildings are
generally designed on the basis of plastic theory [2],the fundamental research initiated at the University of Cambridge being continued under Horne at the University of Manchester and culminating in the publication in 1981 of Horne and Morris [3]. Since that date, design procedures have
largely stood still while Big Sheds have increased enormously in both scale and complexity. In the
UK, plastic design is still largely used; while the early design procedures have been automated so
that the entire calculation can be dedicated to a computer. Nevertheless, the fundamental plastic
design procedures have changed little. In this context, which is continuing to evolve, this paper
returns to the fundamentals and questions some of the basic premises. Current design procedures, based on laboratory tests on small stocky sections, can only be extrapolated to the contemporary situation with the aid of advanced numerical modelling and this process has only just begun. Even at this early stage of the research, it is suggested that the use of plastic theory for the
design of large structures typified by Big Sheds needs serious reconsideration.
Original languageEnglish
Number of pages10
Publication statusPublished - 1 Sept 2021
Event9th European Conference on Steel and Composite Structures - Sheffield, United Kingdom
Duration: 1 Sept 20213 Sept 2021
Conference number: 9


Conference9th European Conference on Steel and Composite Structures
Abbreviated titleEurosteel
Country/TerritoryUnited Kingdom


  • plastic hinge
  • steel
  • stability
  • plastic analysis
  • finite element analysis


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