# Mechanics of Materials Laboratory Column Buckling Test

David Clark Group C:
David Clark Jacob Parton Zachary Tyler Andrew Smith

10/27/2006

Abstract
Leonhard Euler first derived a series of equations that can successfully determine the buckling behavior of columns. The following procedure attempts to verify one of these equations. The maximum load, the highest load a column can support without buckling, is correlated to the Young's modulus, moment of inertia, length of a beam, and method of support. The practice of using a column buckling machine can be very accurate with proper testing materials and procedure. The results within this experiment exhibited up to 44% error.

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1. Introduction & Background............................................................4 1.1. General Background..............................................................4 2. Equipment and Procedure............................................................5 2.1. Equipment..............................................................................5 2.2. Experiment Setup...................................................................6 2.3. Procedure...............................................................................6 3. Data, Analysis & Calculations.......................................................6 3.1. Theoretical Calulcations.........................................................7 4. Results........................................................................................10 5. Conclusions.................................................................................10 6. References..................................................................................11 7. Raw Notes...................................................................................12

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1. Introduction & Background
1.1.General Background
The physicist and mathematician Leonhard Euler first derived a series of equations to determine the deformation of columns under loads. The following procedure attempts to verify one of these buckling equations for steel columns. Euler determined the following expression for determining the critical load. Pcr =

π 2E I 2 Le

Equation 1 • • • E is the elastic modulus of the specimen I is the second moment of area (moment of inertia) Le is the effective length.

The method of support determines the effective length. The figure below demonstrates what these effective lengths are, as well as provide a visual explanation why the effective length per setup is different.

Figure 1

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When a critical load is applied, the buckling occurs in the plane perpendicular to the corresponding principal axis of inertia. To utilize this, the radius of gyration is introduced. "In structural engineering, the two-dimensional radius of gyration is used to describe the distribution of cross-sectional area in a beam around its centroidal axis" (Wikipedia). The radius of gyration is given by the following formula r= I min A

Equation 2 Combining Equation 1 and 2, the expression for critial loading becomes Pcr =

π 2E A ( Le / r ) 2

Equation 3 The critical load can be used to find the stress in the beam being loaded.

σ cr =

Pcr π 2E = A ( L / r) 2

Equation 4

2. Equipment and Procedure
2.1.Equipment
1. Column Buckling Machine 2. Three Metal Beams: In this experiment, steel beams of known length were used. The modulus of elasticity for the material tested was predefined. 3. Calipers, a Dial Gage, and a Tape Measure: Calipers should be used to measure the width and thickness of the beam. Dial gages will be used to measure deflection along the length of the beam. The tape measure is used to measure the length between supports

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4. Specimens to be Tested: The following procedure utilizes three speciments: one specimen prepared to be fixed at both ends, one specimen that models a pinning support at both ends, and a final specimen that has one fixed end and another end acting as a pin support.

2.2.Experiment Setup
The specimen should be secured on the column buckling machine with each end of the specimen being supported per case requirements. The effective length (the distance between supports) should be measured and recorded. A dial gage should be attached to the column buckling machine such that any deflection of the beam can be easily measured and recorded.

2.3.Procedure
A load is then induced onto the beam by the column buckling machine. The deflection should be recorded from the dial gage secured to the apparatus. The load is measured by reading the load gage after balancing the beam applying the force. After each applied load, record the force and deflection.

3. Data, Analysis & Calculations
In the following set of results, the scenarios are labeled as follows: o Case 1 : A beam fixed on both ends o Case 2: A beam fixed on one end with the second end acting as a pin support o Case 3: A beam with both ends acting as a pin support The following table categorizes known dimensional data of the test specimens.
Beam Dimensions (inches) Length 15.00 Width 0.750 Thickness 0.133 Area 0.100

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The length, L, was the distance measured between supports. The area is the product of the width multiplied by the thickness.

3.1.Theoretical Calulcations
The following calculations should serve as an example for the calculations used in all three cases. The effective length, second moment of area, radius of gyration, and critical load were found using Equations 1 through 3 and Figure 1. Le = 1 1 L = (15) = 7.5 inches 2 2 Equation 5 I min = 1 1 3 b t 3 = ( 0.750 )( 0.133) = 14.7 × 10 −4 inches 4 12 12 Equation 6 r= I min 14.4 × 10 −4 = = 3.84 × 10 − 2 inches A 0.100 Equation 7 Pcr =

π 2 E A π 2 ( 30 × 10 6 )( 0.100 ) = = 774 pounds ( Le / r ) 2 ( 7.500 / 3.84 × 10 −2 ) 2
Equation 8

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Case 1 Deflection 0.000 0.007 0.019 0.038 0.052 0.078 0.095 0.113 0.132 0.134 0.152 0.173 0.192 0.200 0.259 0.287 0.301 0.340 0.384 0.420 0.467 0.502 0.526 Load 0 25 55 100 130 180 205 230 255 255 272 290 310 315 355 365 375 390 402 412 422 437 437 0.000 0.028 0.068 0.110 0.158 0.250 0.343 0.432

Case 2 Deflection Load 0 85 155 205 245 285 305 310 0.000 0.180 0.235 0.310 0.358

Case 3 Deflection Load 0 180 190 200 202

Table 1
Load vs Deflection - Case 1
500 450 400 350 300 Load (lb) 250 200 150 100 50 0 0 0.1 0.2 0.3 Deflection (in) 0.4 0.5 0.6

Figure 2 8

Load vs Deflection - Case 2
350

300

250

200

150

100

50

0 0 0.05 0.1 0.15 0.2 0.25 Deflection (in) 0.3 0.35 0.4 0.45 0.5

Figure 3
Load vs Deflection - Two Pinned Supports
250

200

150 Load (lb) 100 50 0 0 0.05 0.1 0.15 0.2 Deflection (in) 0.25 0.3 0.35 0.4

Figure 4 The following figure combines Figures 2 through 4 to demonstrate how different support conditions change the buckling load.

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500 450 400 350 300 Load (lb) 250 200 150 100 50 0 0 0.1 0.2 0.3 Deflection (in) 0.4 0.5 0.6 Case 1 Case 2 Case 3

Figure 5

4. Results
Results Theoretical 774 395 193 Actual 437 310 202 Error 43.54% 21.50% 4.39%

Case 1 Case 2 Case 3

Table 2

5. Conclusions
The error within this experiment was grossly inaccurate and exhibited unacceptable error. The main source of error was due to poor testing technique. Even with proper technique, however, persistent and large error was still present. The remaining error was due to ill conditioned test samples and poorly calibrated equipment. The samples had experienced buckling many times previous to this test, and the clamps were not aligned to place the force parallel along the beam.

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6. References
Gilbert, J. A and C. L. Carmen. "Chapter 4 – Column Buckling Test." MAE/CE 370 – Mechanics of Materials Laboratory Manual. June 2000.

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7. Raw Notes

Figure 6

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Figure 7

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