'nder certain circumstances structures will fail by elastic instability. This occurs when the load produces a ending or twisting moment that is proportional to the deformation. The most common example is the Euler column. #n this case, a slender column is loaded axially. The load results in small de(ections, up to a critical load value. t this magnitude of load, the member collapses. )ailure occurs even though the stress in the member remained below the yield values. The mathematical equation for elastic buc!ling of a long column is* +here P total load, area of section, -r slenderness ratio, and $ is the coe/cient of constraint %depends on end constraints 00 usually 1 or 2 is used for end conditions that occur in practice. 3eference boo!s have tabulated equations that cover a wide variety of geometric cases %non0uniform cross0sections, tapered bars, etc.&, loadings, and end constraints. 4ther examples of this phenomenon are thin plates in compression, thin cylinders under compression, etc. Elastic buc!ling behavior is only seen in structures that are much longer in one or two directions than the other one or two directions. +hen columns %and thin plates, etc.& are short %or thic!& enough, these structures can exhibit behavior that re(ects a combination of eects. The slenderness ratio where this occurs starts roughly between 125 and 165. Theequation given no longer holds for these cases. )ormulas exist for nding thecritical loading for these structures as well, but these equations are more complicated, and contain terms that have been empirically ad"usted to agreewith testing.
+hen a loads on a system result in the lac! of static equilibrium %where the sum of all forces are 7ero&, we can say that dynamic eects are important. 4ften the inertial eects of the structure itself are important, when it moves with appreciable velocity. ll structures tend to vibrate with specic mode shapes, at specic frequencies of vibration. These tendencies are termed the natural frequencies of the structure, and are dependent on stiness and mass distribution. +hen a structural member is excited with a dynamic load that acts with a frequency near one of its8 natural frequencies, the resultant de(ections %and stresses& can be very large. The inertia forces in the structure may become important, as the spring0bac! forces of the structure tend to add to the eectof the dynamic loads 4ften, the rst step in attac!ing a dynamic structural problem is to determine the natural frequencies of the structure involved. This can be doneby hand calculations, or more li!ely, through nite element analysis. The natural frequencies are dependent on geometry, material, and constraints only. They are independent of loading. fter nding the natural frequencies, it then must be determined whether or not the dynamic loads will tend to excite these frequencies within the structure. #t is often valuable simply to compare the frequencies of the loads to the natural modes directly.