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Class 2 cross-sections are those which can develop

Steel Design to Eurocode 3 their plastic moment resistance, but have limited
rotation capacity because of local buckling.

Local Buckling and Cross- Class 3 cross-sections are those in which the stress in
the extreme compression fibre of the steel member
Section Classification assuming an elastic distribution of stresses can reach
the yield strength, but local buckling is liable to prevent
development of the plastic moment resistance.
In Eurocode 3 you will need to refer to the following
clauses when classifying a section and determining the Class 4 cross-sections are those in which local
cross-sectional resistance:
buckling will occur before the attainment of yield stress
Clause 5.5 covers the cross section classification in one or more parts of the cross-section.

Clauses 6.1 and 6.2 covers the cross-sectional

Sections with slender webs or flanges will be more
susceptible to local buckling, where the element will The limits between the classes depend on the factor
fail before the design strength is reached. Eurocode 3 which is calculated using fy, the yield strength of the
takes into account the effects of local through the steel.
process of cross section classification.

BS 5950 EC3
BS 5950 EC3
Plastic Class 1
= (275/py)0.5 = (235/fy)0.5
Compact Class 2
Semi-compact Class 3
Values of are given at the bottom of Table 5.2:
Slender Class 4
fy 235 275 355 420 460

1.00 0.92 0.81 0.75 0.71

Class 1 EN 1993-1-1 Table 5.2

Class 2

Class 3
fy Yield Strength
Class 4
The UK National Annex says that material properties
should be taken from the product standards.
Source: Extract from EN 10025-2 - fy (yield strength) values for
hot rolled steel:
Similarly to BS 5950, cross sections will be placed into fy (N/mm )
one of four behaviour classes. Class 1 is the least nominal thickness of element,
susceptible to local buckling and class 4 is the most t (mm)
40 < t 63

63 < t 80

16< t 40

The classification of a section will depend mainly on:


The material yield strength, fy

c/t ratio

Eurocode 3 defines the classes in Clause 5.5.2: S 275 275 265 255 245
Class 1 cross-sections are those which can form a S 355 355 345 335 325
plastic hinge with the rotation capacity required from
plastic analysis without reduction of the resistance. EN 10025-2 (Table 7)
c/t Width-to-Thickness Ratio Class 3: Semi-compact

The width-to-thickness ratios differ in EC3 differs from BS (Table 11) EC3 (Table 5.2)
BS 5950: Flange
b/T = < 15 c/tf = < 14
BS 5950 EC3

Web in
d/t = < 120 d/tw = < 142
Web in
d/tw = < 42

Class 4: Slender

An element that doesnt meet the class 3 limits should

be taken as a class 4 section. Effective widths are
assigned to Class 4 compression elements to make
Outstand c = (b tw
b = B/2 allowance for the reduction in resistance as a result of
Flange 2 r)/2
local buckling
Compressio d= c= To calculate the effective width of a Class 4 section,
n D2T2r h 2 tf 2 r refer to the relevant section in the Eurocodes:
Section Type Reference
Appropriate values of c and t are defined at the top of
Table 5.2 for different types of sections. Cold-formed sections EN 1993-1-3
Table 5.2 Hot-rolled and
EN 1993-1-5
fabricated section
Internal compression parts and outstand flanges are CHS EN 1993-1-6
assessed against the limiting width to thickness ratios
for each class. The limits are provided in table 5.2.

Table 5.2 is made up of three sheets: Overall Cross-Section Classification

Sheet 1 Internal Compression Parts Clause 5.5.2(6) states that a cross-section is classified
according to the highest (least favourable) class of its
Sheet 2 Outstand Flanges
compression parts.
Sheet 3 Angles and Tubular Sections

Cross-section Classification
1. Determine fy (UK NA recommends you use the
Class 1: Plastic product standards)
2. Determine from Table 5.2
BS (Table 11) EC3 (Table 5.2)
3. Substitute the value of into the class limits in
b/T = < 9 c/tf = < 9 Table 5.2 to work out the class of the flange and

Web in
d/t = < 80 d/tw = < 72
bending Flange
Web in outstand Web in bending
d/tw = < 33
compression limiting limiting value, d/tw
value, c/tf
Class 2: Compact Class 1 9 72
Class 2 10 83
BS (Table 11) EC3 (Table 5.2) Class 3 14 124
Flange If it does not meet Class 3
b/T = < 10 c/tf = < 10
outstand Class 4 requirements, the section is classified

Web in as Class 4
d/t = < 100 d/tw = < 83
Web in 4. Take the least favourable class from the flange
d/tw = < 38
compression and web results