Thin-walled steel tubular circular columns are widely used as cantilever bridge piers due to their geometric efficiency, aesthetic appearance, and high earthquake resistance. However, local buckling, global buckling, or interaction between both is usually the main reason of significant strength and ductility loss in these columns, which eventually leads to their collapse. This paper investigates the behavior of uniform circular (C) and graded-thickness circular (GC) thin-walled steel tubular columns under constant axial and cyclic lateral loading. The GC column with size and volume of material equivalent to the C column is introduced and analyzed under constant axial and cyclic lateral loading. The analysis carried out using a finite-element model (FEM), which considers both material and geometric nonlinearities. The accuracy of the employed FEM is validated based on the experimental results available in the literature. The results revealed that, significant improvements in strength, ductility, and post-buckling behavior of thin-walled steel columns obtained using the GC column.
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