Beams and columns

A beam is defined as a generally horizontal element which is subjected mainly to transverse loading and does not develop significant axial compression in the 'design seismic situation' (a limit of 0.1 is prescribed for the normalized axial compression va = NeJAJcA of a beam in the design seismic situation). In contrast, a column is defined as a generally vertical element which supports gravity loads by axial compression or develops a non-negligible axial compression in the design seismic situation (vd greater than the above limit of 0.1). This definition will not (re-)classify as a 'beam' any column which is lightly loaded, for example at the top storey(s) of a building, even though it may also carry transverse loads. It will classify, though, as a 'column' any element with significant axial compression, vertical, horizontal or inclined, with or without transverse loading.

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