Types of Column Failure – Quick Tip

How do Columns fail?

You know that columns are used to transfer the load vertically to the horizontal beam.

Every material used in the building experience both compression and tension stress that’s how we designed the modern buildings.

Columns consist of two major material one is concrete and second one is steel. Architects do calculate the total stress caused by the live and dead load of the entire building and will design the internal components (foundation, beam, and columns) of the building.

So if the applied stress exceeds allowable stress (calculated) then structures start to fail.

Types of Column Failure

Columns fail in two condition

  • Compression Failure
  • Buckling Failure

What is compression failure?

Compression failure is the material itself crushing or yielding not the column. (refer the pic)

Shorter and wider column normally fails under compression failure.

When the axially loaded stress exceeds allowable stress, compression failure occurs. Concrete starts to fail or bulge as shown in the picture.

Load on Column
Burst column - Compression Failure

We know the column consists of two major components concrete and steel. Compressive strength is normally how much load that the material can withstand before it could completely fail.

Normally different materials have different compressive strength. (Steel > Wood)

We can learn this on the upcoming compressive strength post.

What is Buckling Failure?

Buckling failure occurs in long column(slender column) where the columns displace laterally or horizontally.   

You can search “buckling of columns” on Google to find more accurate images.

Buckled Column

We don’t need to analyze the design of the structural members.

But we do have the responsibility to identify the type of failures occurred whether it is because of the concrete we used or the design mistake.

Hope you enjoyed this quick tip.

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Happy Learning. 🙂