Shear deformable beams have been widely used in engineering applications. Based on the matrix structural analysis (MSA), this paper presents a method for the buckling and second-order solutions of shear deformable beams, which allows the use of one element per member for the exact solution. To develop the second-order MSA method, this paper develops the element stability stiffness matrix of axial-loaded Timoshenko beam–columns, which relates the element-end deformations (translation and rotation angle) and corresponding forces (shear force and bending moment). First, an equilibrium analysis of an axial-loaded Timoshenko beam–column is conducted, and the element flexural deformations and forces are solved exactly from the governing differential equation. The element stability stiffness matrix is derived with a focus on the element-end deformations and the corresponding forces. Then, a matrix structural analysis approach for the elastic buckling analysis of Timoshenko beam–columns is established and demonstrated using classical application examples. Discussions on the errors of a previous simplified expression of the stability stiffness matrix is presented by comparing with the derived exact expression. In addition, the asymptotic behavior of the stability stiffness matrix to the first-order stiffness matrix is noted.
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