Masters Theses


"The Vierendeel Truss, or Rigid Frame Truss, was first introduced by Professor Arthur Vierendeel in Belgium at the beginning of the century. The Vierendeel Truss differs from the more common triangulated truss in that it contains no diagonal members. The members of the truss are joined rigidly together and each member is required to transmit bending, shear and direct stress.

Professor Vierendeel claimed that Vierendeel Trusses are 20 to 30 percent cheaper than the conventional type of truss. This statement has been challenged by many who believe that this type of truss is fundamentally inferior to the more conventional type. The chords of a Rigid Frame Truss will necessarily be heavier than the chords of a conventional truss of the same depth, since the axial loads in the chords of both types will be the same, whereas the chords of the Vierendeel Truss will have bending stresses in addition to axial stresses. The total weight of the web members however, will be less in the case of the Vierendeel Truss. D. L. Dean, in a comparative study, found that weight-wise there is very little difference between the two types of trusses.

Possible advantages of the rigid frame truss are simplicity of form, simpler details, and resulting cheaper fabrication. In the case of the rigid frame truss, the rigidity of the joints, which is almost automatically obtained by the use of welded connections, is fully utilized. In the conventional type of truss, joint rigidity is the cause of embarrassment due to the so-called "secondary stresses" which result. Therefore it seems possible that higher allowable stresses could be used in the case or the Vierendeel Truss.

The Vierendeel Truss in its various forms has been used extensively in Europe, particularly in Belgium. In the United States, however, with the exception of a series of of [sic] Highway Bridges built in California in 1937, the Vierendeel Truss has not been widely used. The widespread controversy which exists as to the merit and economy of this type or construction, coupled with the apparent complexity of the analysis accounts for its lack of acceptance.

The purpose of this study is to make a critical review of the methods of analysis of Vierendeel Trusses and to recommend a rational and practical method for design"--Introduction, pages 1-2.


Best, John, 1925-2015

Committee Member(s)

Carlton, E. W.
Hansen, Peter G., 1927-2010
Johnson, Charles A.


Civil, Architectural and Environmental Engineering

Degree Name

M.S. in Civil Engineering


Missouri School of Mines and Metallurgy

Publication Date



v, 46 pages

Note about bibliography

Includes bibliographical references (page 45).


© 1959 Richard Denis Pearson, All rights reserved.

Document Type

Thesis - Open Access

File Type




Subject Headings

Trusses -- Analysis
Strains and stresses
Bridges -- Design and construction

Thesis Number

T 1199

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