Thin-walled elastic beams represent a significant simplified model to analyze longitudinally developed structures made up of thin shell elements. This simplified model is particularly useful in the global analysis of complex structures, assimilable to beams, with multi-connected cross-sections, such as the hull girders. The main advantage of this theory, as regards the finite element analysis, is the great easiness in the structure schematization and the possibility to obtain a simple physical model, that permits to clearly understand the behaviour of the structure and to properly design it. Particularly, this paper focuses on the application of Saint-Venant bending-shear theory to thin-walled beams, generally analyzed assuming the fundamental Vlasov hypothesis of maintenance of the cross-section contour. New relations have been obtained for the tangential stresses and the normal ones; a numerical method, based on a Ritz variational procedure, has been developed and a procedure to determine the vertical position of the shear center is presented. Finally, in order to verify the suitability of the proposed theory, two numerical applications, the first one based on a simplified structure considered by Hughes, the second one based on a bulk-carrier, have been carried out.
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