Shear Area Types and Their Meaning

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If you look at the cross‑section properties of the metal category, you can see that there are three types of shear areas:
~ Shear area
~ Effective shear area according to EC 3
~ Plastic shear area
Their meaning and calculation is now described in detail.

1. Shear area
The shear area is required for determination of the elastic deformation due to shear forces. The formula for calculating the shear area is shown in Figure; detailed information can be found in the RFEM manual, Chapter 4.13, and RSTAB manual, Chapter 4.3.
Important: Elastic shear stresses cannot be determined by means of the shear area, but with the formula τ = V × S / (I × t). The correlation of shear area and shear stresses is described, among others, in Petersen: Stahlbau, 4. edition, page 1211 ff.

2. Shear area according to EC 3
This type of shear area is used to determine the plastic shear capacity of a cross‑section. In EN 1993‑1‑1, 6.2.6 (3), you can find the formulas for various cross‑section types in order to calculate the effective shear areas.

3. Plastic shear area
This is a simplified entry for determination of the plastic shear capacity. You can easily generalize it as the cross‑section is divided into rectangular elements. Fillets and elements of the transverse force direction are neglected. Inclined elements will be considered with regard to the angle.
The stand‑alone program SHAPE‑THIN performs the calculation of the plastic shear areas according to the same method.


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RFEM Main Program
RFEM 5.xx

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Structural engineering software for finite element analysis (FEA) of planar and spatial structural systems consisting of plates, walls, shells, members (beams), solids and contact elements

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