MATHEMATICAL PROBLEMS IN ENGINEERING, 2013 (SCI İndekslerine Giren Dergi)
Members with varying geometrical and/or material properties are commonly used in many engineering applications. Stepped columns with internal axial loads constitute a special case of such nonuniform columns. Crane columns in industrial buildings or structural columns supporting intermediate floors are important applications of stepped members in civil engineering. Since neither axial load nor stiffness is constant along the column height, the stability analysis of a stepped column is usually more complicated than that of a uniform column. Determination of exact buckling loads for stepped columns with different end conditions is not always practical. This paper shows that variational iteration method (VIM), a kind of analytical technique recently proposed for solution of nonlinear differential equations, can satisfactorily be used to obtain approximate solutions for buckling loads of stepped columns with internal axial loads. VIM solutions perfectly match with the exact solutions available in the literature for some special cases of two-segment stepped columns. For many other cases, that is, for various values of three design parameters, namely, (i) load ratio, (ii) stiffness ratio, and (iii) length ratio, approximate buckling loads for two-segment stepped columns are determined using VIM and presented in tabular form which can easily be used by design engineers.