Local stability refers to thin local features that fail to carry shear and/or compression loads. Local stability failure does not imply a break or rupture, although uncontrolled local stability failure can lead to component, sub-assembly or complete installation failure.
Stability failures refer to a situation where the loaded item tends to move out-of-plane while carrying an in-plane load. The ability to resist stability failure depends on the out-of-plane stiffness of the feature, both in terms of the simple thickness of the feature or other design features that add out-of-plane stiffness such as stiffeners and gussets.
In this section the terms sheet, plate and panel are used interchangeably as they are all features that could be analyzed as a web. In general terms, a plate is usually thicker than a sheet and a panel is a removable feature that can be thick or thin.
Web refers to a panel that is restrained along all edges and can carry shear, compression and/or bending.
Flange refers to a panel with one edge free and can carry compression and/or bending.
Column refers to a feature that carries compression and/or bending and is restrained at the ends only.
Stiffeners and gussets are features that add out of plane stiffness to a web or flange.
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