The author discusses the requirements of an ideal formula for determining the stresses in machine columns and points out the fact that although the secant formula meets several of these requirements the relationships are so involved that it has always been necessary to use one of several empirical equations because of the uncertainty regarding the probable eccentricity of the load. The author describes a relationship which makes the secant formula usable and presents a universal chart adapted to the solution of problems of steel columns having any type of cross section when subjected to axial loading.

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