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STRUCTURAL MECHANICS

Lecture 15 : Buckling of Compression Members


Introduction and Euler Buckling

Introduction

Consider a 1 m long 6 mm diameter steel rod


Then if loaded in tension:

Typical failure load is 7000N. Material failure.


But if loaded in compression:

Typical failure load is 80N. Buckles - bending failure.


Strut will only buckle if something causes some curvature of strut as load is applied.
In practice this can result from a number of different imperfections:
1) Strut not initially perfectly straight.
2) Member not perfectly homogeneous due to manufacturing imperfections.
3) Load not applied exactly on strut axis.
Buckling load depends on 1) Magnitude of imperfections
2) Strut effective length
3) Strut cross section
4) Elastic modulus of the material.
Consider a strut with NO imperfections but with a small side load F

If F removed 3 things can happen:


1) Strut returns to original position -STABLE EQUILIBRIUM
2) Strut does not move - NEUTRAL EQUILIBRIUM - BUCKLING LOAD (Critical
Load)
3) Strut deflects further - UNSTABLE EQUILIBRIUM
In practice, due to imperfections, struts buckle without a force F

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Euler Buckling

Calculates critical (buckling) loads for struts, but WITHOUT any allowance being made for
imperfections.

Consequently BUCKLING LOADS ARE OVERESTIMATED

Pin-ended struts

Consider strut deflected in a state of neutral equilibrium

X = Pv + M = 0
∴ M = - Pv
d 2v M Pv
Now = =−
dx 2 EI EI

P d 2v
Putting µ2 = gives 2
+ µ 2v = 0
EI dx
Solution takes the form: v = A cos µx + B sin µx

Boundary conditions: v = 0 at x = 0 ∴ A=0

v = 0 at x = l ∴ B sin µl = 0

For B sin µl = 0 then either B = 0 or sin µl = 0

B ≠ 0 since if B = 0, v = 0 for all values of x

∴ sin µl = 0

∴ µl = 0 or π or 2π etc.

P
Since µ= ≠ 0 and l ≠ 0, then µl ≠ 0
EI

∴ lowest load when strut in neutral equilibrium given when µl = π.

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π 2 EI
∴ P= (Euler equation)
l2
Note: putting µl = 2π etc. corresponds to the neutral equilibrium loads when strut
deformed in other mode shapes

i.e. P′ =
( 2π ) EI
2

l2
Euler equation written as :

π 2 EI
Euler critical load PE =
le2

where le is the effective length of the strut.


Equation can also be expressed in terms of the average compressive stress on the strut :
P
σ=
A
Since I = Ak2 where k is the radius of gyration

π 2E k2
then Euler critical stress σE =
le2

π 2E le
or σE = where is the slenderness ratio
(le / k ) 2
k

Typical relationship for mild steel:

le
Often σ E 〉 σ yield when 〈 100
k

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Fixed end struts

Indeterminate beam analysis shows that MC = M A = M B

and that M H = M K = 0 if AH = HC = CK = KB = l 4

Therefore H and C are points of contraflexure (no moments) and length HK is analogous to a
l
pin-ended strut (no end moments) of length HK = with:
2

π 2 EI 4π 2 EI
Critical load ( PE ) fixed = =
( l 2)
2
l2

∴ ( PE ) fixed = 4( PE ) pinned and (le ) fixed = 0.5(le ) pinned = 0.5l

le for other support conditions can be found in textbooks and design codes. Design codes
make allowances for actual degree of restraint likely to be provided in different
circumstances.

For cantilever:

(le ) cantilever = 2l

( PE ) pinned
Hence: ( PE ) cantilever =
4

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Euler Buckling Example

Determine the Euler critical stress and load for a hollow tubular steel pin-ended strut that has
an outside diameter of 100mm, a wall thickness of 3.5mm and an effective length of 3.5m.
Assume E = 200kN/mm2.

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