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Duke University
Pratt School of Engineering
EGR 75L — Mechanics of Solids
Laboratory #4
Buckling of Columns
1 Introduction and Objectives
When a column is subjected to a compressive force, it will fail in one of two ways. If the
slenderness ratio, L/r, is small, it will fail by compressive yielding or cracking when the
compressive stress exceeds the yield stress of the material. However, for a long thin member, the
compressive forces can induce sudden changes in geometry, such as bowing or bending.
This
occurs when the compressive stress is still well within the range of linear elasticity, but the
change in geometry can destroy the column’s equilibrium and leads to collapse. This failure is
called buckling, and it is an example of an elastic instability. The objective of this laboratory is
to introduce students to the buckling test and to evaluate the effect that specimen length and
thickness have on the failure load. Before the lab, students should compute the theoretical failure
loads for each specimen using Euler’s equation for column buckling,
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 Spring '08
 VIRGIN

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