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P-delta is a geometric non-linear effect that occurs in structures that are subjected to compressive loads and lateral displacement. Under the action of compressive loads and lateral displacement, tall slender structures will experience additional stresses and deformations due to the change of position of the structure. First-order structural analysis will normally consider small displacements and will compute the equilibrium of the structure and internal stresses based on the unreformed geometry. However, second-order analysis considers the deformed geometry of the structure and may require an iterative approach for the computation of equilibrium.
During the simultaneous action of vertical and horizontal loads, the structure deflects due to the action of the horizontal load. As the structure deflects, the position of the vertical load P shifts by a distance A such that the vertical load instead of acting axially along the column now induces a moment reaction at the base P.A. The interaction of the compressive force (P) and lateral displacement (4) to produce additional secondary effects in a structure is handled under P-delta analysis.