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The deformation of columns under load is a significant property of material which has to be
taken into account for designing and engineering calculation. Leonard Euler was the first
scientist who worked on that and derived the equations related.
In buckling test, the maximum load which is the largest load a column can support before
deformation is associated with Young modulus (E), moment of inertia and the length of
specimen. If a proper material used, the result will be reliable and accurate enough.

To determine the buckling load for a pinned ended strut.

Column buckling machine
Steel column
Measuring tape

1. Switch on the digital indicator and warm it up for at least 10 minutes before start the
2. Choose a specimen and measure it length.
3. Calculate the theoretical buckling load for a strut with pinned end condition. This is to
ensure that the load applied to the strut does not exceed the buckling load.
4. Placed the grooved support into the slot of the attachment for the end condition and
tightened the side screw.
5. Move the top platen upwards or downwards to bring the distance between the two
supports closer to the length of strut.
6. Press the tare button on the digital indicator to set the reading to zero.
7. Place the specimen in the groove of the top support.
8. While holding the specimen, adjust the jack so that the lower end of the specimen just
rest in the groove of the bottom support.
9. Note the reading on the digital indicator. If the load is greater than 10 N turn the jack
handle counter clockwise to bring it to less than 10 N.
10. Check the position of the dial gauge to ensure that it is at the mid-length of the
specimen. Set the dial gauge reading to zero.
11. Press the tare button to set the load indicator to zero.
12. Load the specimen in small increments by turning the screw jack handle slowly in the
clockwise direction.
13. For each load increment record the load and the corresponding mid-span deflection.
14. Unload specimen by turning the jack in the counter clockwise direction.

The column buckling machine exert a force on the beam and the deflection can be recorded
by dial gauge.
From the graph we can see that there is a linear section and non-linear section. It can be
shown that the linear section illustrate the steel column before buckling in which the column
can get back to the initial position. However, as soon as the buckling occurs, elongation
increase but not with increase in applying load.
Whenever the applied load reaches to the critical load, the buckling occurs in a perpendicular
plane to the axis of inertia. Euler determine the critical load for a beam under compression as:
P=(.E.I) / L

Length of member = 650 mm
Width of member = 25 mm
Thickness of member = 3 mm
Second moment of area, I= 572.14 x 10
P= (
x 572.14x10

= 2673039.28x10
So, the critical load will equal to 2673039.28x10
Load, P Mid-span Deflection, d d/P
N div mm mm/N(x10
14 10.0 0.10 7.14
25 19.0 0.19 7.60
32 26.0 0.26 8.13
40 31.0 0.31 7.75
44 37.0 0.37 8.41
50 45.0 0.45 9.00
55 50.0 0.50 9.09
59 55.0 0.55 9.32
69 66.0 0.66 9.57
77 76.5 0.77 10.00
83 85.0 0.85 10.24
89 95.5 0.96 10.79
93 103.5 1.04 11.18
100 115.0 1.15 11.50

To conclude, this report has described the whole process of this experiment and analyzed
results and errors. According the analysis of results, it has got the prediction that strut with
the high ration of second moment of area and length can performance better when its ends are
both fixed under the compression. Apart from this, it also points out that the theoretical
gradient ratio is larger than the experimental one, and this results that the theoretical buckling
load is larger than the experimental one. To recommend, in order improving the accuracy of
results, more times for each specimen in one end condition should be operated. In addition, if
allowed, the strut specimens used in the experiment should be avoided to be reused in the

According above results, it can be easy to obtain that the experimental buckling load is less
than the theoretical one because that the theoretical gradient ratio is larger than the
experimental one. Another significant finding is that the shorter strut has the higher buckling
resistance, and fixed struts performance better in resisting buckling. In view of this, it can be
predicted that larger ration between the second moment of area and length of the strut will
result in the better performance in buckling resistance in real engineering.

Hibbeler R.C. (2010). Structural Analysis SI (7
Edition). Pearson Education.
Prakash D.S. (1996). Structural Analysis: A unified approach. Orient Blackswan.
University of Liverpool buckling of struts(2011) .coursework briefing sheet.