A direct theory of a one-dimensional structured continuum is introduced in order to study the postbuckling behavior of thin-walled beams. A simply supported beam bent by end couples is analyzed showing that, in the case of nonsymmetric cross sections, lateral buckling gives rise to imperfection sensitivity. Then an axially loaded beam is studied taking also into account the interaction between torsional and flexural buckling. The results obtained prove that in this case imperfection sensitivity, though slighter than in the previous case, arises also for symmetric cross sections.

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