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Old 5th September 2010, 10:37 AM   #1
Tony Bryer
Join Date: Apr 2008
Location: Melbourne, Australia
Posts: 824
Default Why I hate Eurocode 3!

If you've been to one or more Eurocode courses you'll no doubt have been warned that Eurocodes are much less user friendly than the British Standards they replace. How true! If progress on our EuroBeam program is less than I would wish it's because Eurocode 3 is such hard work - it's like trying to dig a hole in a tar lake: you go to bed and next morning have to start all over again.

Just as an example, Table 5.2 gives the limiting dimensions that determine section classifications - it's not dissimilar to Table 11 in BS5950. For sections subject to axial compression and bending Table 11 has r1 and r2 factors whose derivation immediately follows the table. EC3 Table 5.2 has an alpha factor. How this is to be calculated may or may not appear in EC3, but so far I've not found it. Fortunately the SCI publication Concise Eurocodes P362 puts the derivation of alpha at the bottom of the table. Saved! Until my test calculation didn't agree with the one in SCI Worked Examples - Open Sections P364. Then I spot a note on p.142 which says that -1.0 < alpha < 1.0. All is explained. But it's far from obvious (if I'm wrong I apologise in advance).

This happens time and again with Eurocode 3 and for now I stand by the advice I have given a number of you by email. If you're prepared to put in a huge amount of work trying to make sense of Eurocode obfuscation then sign up for our EuroBeam Early Experience programme (you need to have SuperBeam or ProSteel with current update cover to be eligible) and hopefully we can work together to get a proper understanding of Eurocode design. Otherwise I would advise sticking with design to British Standards for as long as is possible: we know they deliver safe designs and they are well understood.
Tony Bryer, Greentram Software Pty Ltd
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