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# Compiled by;

Dr P R Venkatesh
Associate Professor
Mechanical Dept
RVCE, Bangalore-560059

## Dr P R Venkatesh, Mech Dept, RVCE,

Bangalore
Mechanics of Materials (12ME/CV/IM33)
UNIT 4
Analysis of Columns & Struts
Introduction, Euler’s theory on columns, effective
length, Slenderness ratio, Short & long columns,
Assumptions, Derivation of Euler’s buckling load
for different end conditions, Limitations of Euler’s
theory, Rankine’s formula, Numerical problems.
Dr P R Venkatesh, Mech Dept, RVCE,
Bangalore
Introduction
• A long slender member with relatively small lateral
dimensions is known as column.
• Based on the ratio of length of the column to the
least lateral dimension, columns may be classified
as short, medium & long columns.
• A column supports an axial load and are generally
made of wood, steel, concrete, etc.
Ex: Water tank pillars, Truss members, building columns, Connecting
rods, screw jack, etc.
Dr P R Venkatesh, Mech Dept, RVCE,
Bangalore
Connecting rod
Screw
Jack

Crane jib

## Dr P R Venkatesh, Mech Dept, RVCE,

Bangalore Building pillars
Slenderness ratio
• It is the ratio of length of the column to the
• The slenderness ratio for a short column is less
than 32 & that of a long column is greater than
120. Medium columns have a value greater
than 32 & less than 120.
• Short columns fail due to compressive stress or
crushing, while long columns fail by lateral
bending or ‘Buckling’ or ‘Crippling’
• Medium columns fail due to a combination of
crushing & buckling.
Dr P R Venkatesh, Mech Dept, RVCE,
Bangalore
• Radius of gyration of a body or an area is defined as
the distance from an axis of reference, where the
whole mass or area of the body is assumed to be
concentrated.

## • If the moment of inertia of an area about the X-axis is

I xx
Ixx, then the radius of gyration w.r.t x-axis is k 
A

I
Note : In case of mass moment of inertia, I = mk  k  2

m
Dr P R Venkatesh, Mech Dept, RVCE,
Bangalore
Radius of gyration for shafts :
d4
2
I 64  d d
For a solid shaft k   
A d 2
16 4
4
 (d  d )
4
0 i
4

I 64
For a hollow shaft k  
A  (d 02  di2 )
4
(d 02  di2 )(d 02  di2 )  d 0  di 
k  
16(d 0  di )
2 2
 4 
Dr P R Venkatesh, Mech Dept, RVCE,
Bangalore
Strut
• Pin jointed structures subjected to compressive
forces are known as struts. They may be vertical
or inclined. Ex: Links in a roof truss or bridge
Factor of safety
• It is the ratio of the buckling load to the safe
Factor of safety =
Failure of columns

Pcr

Pcr

## Failure by Failure by Buckling failure

Short column plastic deformation oblique shear of long columns
(Ductile materials) (Brittle materials)

## Dr P R Venkatesh, Mech Dept, RVCE,

Bangalore
Euler’s formula for long columns
(Swiss mathematician Leonard Euler, 1957)
• Euler developed equations for the minimum
load that causes lateral deflection of a slender
column which is known as Buckling or crippling
• The various end fixity conditions considered are;
(i) Both ends hinged or pinned
(ii) Both ends fixed
(iii) One end fixed & other end free
(iv) One end fixed & the other end hinged.
Assumptions made in Euler’s column theory
1. The column material is perfectly elastic, homogeneous &
isotropic.
2. The column is initially straight & load applied is truly axial.
3. The flexural rigidity EI & the cross section area is uniform
throughout the length of the column.
4. The self weight of the column is negligible.
5. The length of the column is very large compared to its lateral
dimensions & hence failure occurs by buckling alone.
6. The direct compressive stress is negligible compared to
crippling stress.
Sign conventions for Bending moment in columns:
(i) Columns bending in such a way that there is convexity towards its initial
central line as shown in fig (a) is taken as positive.
(ii) Columns bending in such a way that there is concavity towards its initial
central line as shown in fig (b) is taken as negative.
Convexity
Concavity

## (a) Positive Bending Moment (b) Negative Bending Moment

(i) Both ends hinged or pin jointed :
P Consider a column of length L with pinned ends as shown.

## Let the column undergo lateral deflection y at section x - x

at a distance x from the lower support. Bending moment at
section x-x is given by M x   Py (concavity w.r.t original )
y
L d 2x d 2x  P 
X X
 EI 2   Py or   y  0
dy dy  EI 
2

x
The solution of the above differential equation is;

 P   P 
P
y  A cos  x   B sin  x 
 EI   EI 
A & B are constants which can be determined using

## boundary conditions of the column.

P Boundary conditions : At x = 0, y = 0
 0  A  0 or A  0
 P 
Also at x = L, y = 0  0 = 0 + B sin  L 
 EI 
 P 
B  0, (As both A & B can not be zero),sin  L   0
 EI 
L y
X X
P
L  0,  , 2 ,3
EI
x
P
Conidering the first non zero value, L 
EI
P π 2 EI
L2
Note : 1. The beam when subjected to a load equal to above makes the column unstable
P
& hence a safe load may be applied. Psafe = , (FOS = factor of safety)
FOS
2 . The value of moment of inertia I is the is the least among I xx & I yy
(ii) Both ends fixed :
Consider a column of length L with fixed ends as shown.
P
Let the column undergo lateral deflection y at section x - x
B
at a distance x from the lower support. Bending moment at
M
section x-x is given by M x  M  Py

## (where M is the reactive moment at fixed supports)

L y d 2x d 2x  P  M
X X  EI 2  M  Py or    y 
dy dy 2  EI  EI
x The solution of the above differential equation is;
A
M  P   P  M
y  A cos  x   B sin  x  
 EI   EI  P
A & B are constants which can be determined using

## boundary conditions of the column.

Boundary conditions : Here,
 P   P  M
y  A cos  x   B sin  x   (i )
P
 EI   EI  P
B dy P  P  P  P 
 A sin  x   B cos  x  (ii )
dx EI  EI  EI  EI 
M dy P
At x = 0, = 0 putting in (ii), 0 = 0 + B or B  0
dx EI
M M
At x = 0, y = 0, putting in (i), 0 = A +0 +  A  
P P
L y M  P  M
X X Also at x  L, y  0,  0   cos  L   0 
P  EI  P
 P  P
x  cos  L   1 or L  0, 2 , 4 , 6
 EI  EI
A
M P
Conidering the first non zero value, L  2
EI
4π 2 EI
L2
(iii) One end fixed & the other end free :
Consider a column of length L with one end fixed & the other end
P
a free. Let the column undergo lateral deflection y at section x - x

## B at a distance x from the lower support. Bending moment at

section x-x is given by M x  M  Py  Pa  Py  P(a  y )
y (where M is the reactive moment at fixed supports)
X X
d 2x d 2x  P   P 
 EI 2  P (a  y ) or    y   a
dy dy  EI 
2
 EI 
x
M The solution of the above differential equation is;
A

 P   P 
y  A cos  x   B sin  x   a
 EI   EI 
A & B are constants which can be determined using

## boundary conditions of the column.

Boundary conditions : Here,
 P   P 
y  A cos  x   B sin  x   a (i )
a
P  EI   EI 
dy P  P  P  P 
B  A sin  x   B cos  x  (ii )
dx EI  EI  EI  EI 
dy P
y At x = 0, = 0 putting in (ii), 0 = 0 + B or B  0
dx EI
X X
At x = 0, y = 0, putting in (i), 0 = A+ 0 + a  A  a
 P 
x Also at x  L, y  a,  a  a cos  L   0  a
M  EI 
A
 P  P  3 5
 cos  L   0 or L  , ,
 EI  EI 2 2 2
P 
Conidering the first non zero value, L 
EI 2
π 2 EI
4L2
(iv) One end fixed & the other end hinged :
Consider a column of length L with one end fixed & the other end
P
hinged. Let the column undergo lateral deflection y at section x - x
R at a distance x from the lower support. Bending moment at
B
x-x is given by M x  M  Rx  Py  RL  Rx  Py  R( L  x)  Py

## (where M is the reactive moment at fixed supports)

d 2x d 2x  P  R( L  x)
L y  EI 2  R ( L  x)  Py or    y 
X X dy dy 2  EI  EI
The solution of the above differential equation is;
x
M
 P   P  R( L  x)
R
A y  A cos  x   B sin  x  
 EI   EI  P

## boundary conditions of the column.

Boundary conditions : Here,
 P   P  R( L  x)
y  A cos  x   B sin  x   (i )
P  EI   EI  P
dy P  P  P  P  R
R  A sin  x   B cos  x   (ii )
B dx EI  EI  EI  EI  P
dy P R R EI
At x = 0, = 0 put in (ii), 0 = 0 + B  or B 
dx EI P P P
RL RL
At x = 0, y = 0, putting in (i), 0 = A+0 +  A
y
P P
L
X X Also at x  L, y  0,
RL  P  R EI  P 
0 cos  L   sin  L   0
x P  EI  P P  EI 
M
A  P  P P
R  tan  L   L or L  2
 EI  EI EI
2π 2 EI
L2
Equivalent (or Effective) Length of a column
• The expressions for Euler’s crippling load for all end
conditions may be generalized as ;
 2 EI
PE = 2
where Le  Equivalent length of the column
Le
• Effective length or Equivalent Length of a column with
any given end condition is the length of an equivalent
column of same material & cross section with hinged
ends having the same value of crippling load as that of
the given column.
Table of equivalent Length of a column
Sl.No End Condition Buckling load Equivalent length
 2 EI  2 EI
1 Both ends hinged 2
 2
Le  L
L Le

4 2 EI  2 EI L
2 Both ends fixed 2
 2
Le 
L L 2
 
2
One end fixed &  2 EI  2 EI
3 2
 Le  2 L
other end free 4L (2 L) 2
One end fixed & 2 2 EI  2 EI L
4 2
 2
Le 
other end hinged L  L  2
 
 2 
Limitations of Euler’s theory
The general expression for Euler’s crippling load is;
 2 EI  2 EAk 2  2 EA
PE = 2
= 2
 I  Ak   PE =
2
2
Le Le  Le 
 
 k 
PE  2E  Le 
Crippling stress  cr = = ,where   is called slenderness ratio.
 k 
2
A  Le 
 
 k 
• The above equation suggests that for small values of
(Le/k), the crippling stress approaches infinity, but it is
impractical as the material fails at it its yield point.
• Hence there is a limiting value of slenderness ratio
below which Euler’s equation is not applicable.
The limiting value of crippling stress is

 2E
yield point  yp . i.e.  cr = 2
  yp
 Le 
 
Crippling stress  cr

 k 

 yp  Le   2E
Euler's curve
 Limiting value of   
 k   yp
Limiting value

## For mild steel;

Slenderness ratio (L/k)

## yield point  yp  330 MPa, E  2 105 N / mm 2

  2.110
5
L 
2
 e    79.25  80
 k  330
Hence if the slenderness ratio is less than 80,

## Euler's formula for mild steel column is not valid.

Rankine-Gordon formula
• Euler’s formula holds good only for long slender
columns. Moreover the effect of direct compressive
stress (crushing stress) is neglected.
• Medium columns fail due to combined effect of
buckling & crushing.
• Considering all these, Rankine & Gordon developed a
formula which is widely accepted & found suitable for
columns of all slenderness ratios, i.e. short, medium &
long columns.
Accordingly, if Pcr is the actual crippling load, PE is the Euler's crippling load,
1 1 1
& Pc is the crushing load, the relationship is given by;  
Pcr PE Pc
Rankine - Gordon formula :
1 1 1 P P Pc
  Taking LCM & inverting, Pcr  E c 
Pcr PE Pc PE  Pc  Pc 
1  
 PE
 2 EI  2 EAk 2
But, PE = 2
= 2
& Pc =  c  A, where  c  crushing stress
Le Le

c  A c  A c  A
Substitituing, Pcr   
 c  A  2   L 
2
 L 
2
1  2 2 
 Le 1  c  e  1    e 
  EAk   2E  k   k 
c
where   2 is called Rankine's constant.
 E
1
Note : 1. For mild steel ,  c  330 N / mm 2 , and  
7500
1
2. For Cast iron,  c  550 N / mm 2 , and  
1600
1
3. For Timber ,  c  50 N / mm , and  
2

750
Numerical Problems
1. A column of timber section is 200 mm x 300 mm
& 5 m long. One end of the column is fixed &
the other end is free. If the young’s modulus of
timber is 17.5 KN/mm2, determine the safe load
using a factor of safety 2.5 according to Euler’s
formula.
Given : b = 200 mm, h = 300 mm ,E = 17.5  10 3 N / mm 2 , L  5m, FOS = 2.5
 2 EI
Solution : Euler's crippling or buckling load is given by; PE = 2
where;
Le

  bh3   hb3  
I = least of I xx & I yy = I yy  As h > b, I xx     I yy   
  12   12 
hb3 300  2003
I    200  106 mm 4
12 12
L = 5m  Le  2 L  10 m ( Fixed - free end condition)
 2 17.5 103  200 106
Euler's buckling load PE =  345.44 KN
10 10 
3 2

 Safe load on column =   138.2 KN
Factor of safety 2.5
Numerical Problems
2. A hollow circular column of 100 mm outer
diameter and wall thickness 5 mm is used to carry
an automobile of mass 2000 kg through a height of
3 meters. One end of the column is fixed and the
other end is free. Taking E= 200 GPa, determine
factor of safety the crippling stress.
Given : d o = 100 mm, t = 5 mm  di = (d o - 2t)= ( 100 - 10)= 90 mm,

E = 200  10 3 N / mm 2 , L  3 m,
Safe load on column = Weight of automobile = (2000× 9.81)N ,
FOS = ?
Solution :

 2 EI
3m Euler's crippling or buckling load is gien by; PE = where;
100 mm L2e

## I = least of I xx & I yy But, for circular (& hollow circular) section I xx = I yy

  d 04  di4 
I  & Le  2 L ( Fixed - free end condition)
64

PE   d 02  di2 
Also crippling stress  cr  , Here, A 
A 4
Factor of safety =  E
 (d o2  di2 )  (1002  902 )
Area of cross section A=   14.92 × 10 2 mm 2
4 4
 (d o4  di4 )  (1004  904 )
Moment of inertia I    1.688 × 10 6 m m 4
64 64
Effective length for one end fixed & one end free condition Le  2 L  2  3  6m
(i) Crippling load & crippling stress :
 2 EI  2  2 105  1.688  106
Pcr = 2
 2
= 92.6 KN
Le 6000
Pcr 92.6 103
 Crippling stress  cr    62MPa
A 14.92 10 2

## (ii) Factor of safety :

Factor of safety =   4.72
Numerical Problems
3. A column with circular section of 28 mm
diameter has its both ends fixed and is subjected to
an axial compressive load. Determine minimum
length of column for which Euler’s formula can be
applied. Take c= 320 MPa & E=200 Gpa for the
material of the column.
Given : d = 28 mm, E = 200 GPa  200  10 3 N / mm 2 ,  c  320 MPa, L  ?

 2 EI
Solution : Euler's crippling or buckling load is gien by; PE =
L2e

Here, Crippling load   c  A  320  (28) 2  197 KN
4
d4   284
I=   30.172  103 mm 4
64 64
 2  200 103  30.172  103
i.e.197 103 = 2
 Le  550 mm
L e

L
But Le  ( Both ends fixed)
2
 Actual length of column L = 2 L  2  550  1100 mm
Numerical Problems
4. A column has a square section of side 40 mm.
Taking the factor of safety as 4, determine the safe
load for the end conditions, (i) Both ends hinged (ii)
One end is fixed and the other end free (iii) Both
ends fixed (iv) One end fixed & the other hinged.
Take E=210 Gpa.
Given : b = h = 40 mm,E = 210 GPa  210  10 3 N / mm 2 , L  2m, FOS  4

 2 EI
Solution : Euler's crippling or buckling load is gien by; PE =
L2e

bh3 b 4 404
Here, I =    213.33 103 mm 4 ,
12 12 64
(i) Both ends hinged : Le  L  2m  2000 mm

##  2  210 103  213.33 103

i.e. PE = 2
 110.5 KN
2000
 Safe load =   27.62 KN
FOS 4
(ii) One end fixed & other end free : Le  2 L  2  2  4m  4000 mm

##  2  210 103  213.33 103

i.e. PE =  27.63 KN
 4000 
2

 Safe load =   6.9 KN
FOS 4
L 2
(iii) Both ends fixed : Le    1 m  1000 mm
2 2
 2  210 103  213.33  103
i.e. PE = 2
 442 KN
1000
 Safe load =   110.54 KN
FOS 4
L 2
(iv) One end fixed & other end hinged : Le    2m  2000 mm
2 2
 2  210 103  213.33 103
i.e. PE =  221 KN
 
2
2000

 Safe load =   55.25 KN
FOS 4
Numerical Problems
5. Fig shows two sections whose areas are equal.
Determine the buckling loads in each case, taking the
length of the column as 2 meters. Take E=200 GPa

y b=10t
y
t

x x x x
40 mm
12t

y
20 mm t
y
Given :
Area of rectangular section, AR = Area of T- section, AT
E = 210 GPa  210  10 3 N / mm 2 , L  2m
y Assume both ends hinged for both cases.
Solution :
x x (i) Rectangular section :
40 mm
 2 EI
Euler's crippling or buckling load; PE =
L2e
y
20 mm bh3 20  403
Here, I xx =   106.67 103 mm 4 ,
12 12
Rectangular Section hb3 40  203
I yy =   26.67  103 mm 4
12 12
As I yy  I xx , I  I yy as the column may buckle on y-axis.
Le  L  2000 mm
 2 EI  2  210 103  26.67 103
 PE = 2
 2
 13.82 KN
Le 2000
(i) T - section : Given areas are equal; AR  AT
b=10t
y  (20  40)  (10t  t )  (12t  t )  22t 2 ,  t  6 mm
t
 Flange width b  10t  10  6  60 mm &
x x
Depth of web d  12t  12  6  72 mm
12t
By inspection, I yy < I xx  I  I yy

t 6  603 72  63 40  203
I yy =    109.3 × 10 3 mm 4
y 12 12 12
Le  L  2000 mm
T- Section
 2 EI  2  210 103 109.3 103
 PE = 2
 2
 56.63 KN
Le 2000

## Buckling load with T-section 56.5

  4.1  Hence T - section is 4 times
Buckling load with Rect. section 13.83
stronger in buckling than rectangular section of same cross section area.
Numerical Problems
6. A 2.5 meters long column with hollow circular cross
section is hinged at both ends. External diameter is 140
mm & thickness of wall is 20 mm. Taking E=80 Gpa,
Rankine’s constant = 1/1600, and c=550 MPa, compare

## (i) Euler’s formula (ii) Rankine’s formula

Also find the length of the column for which both formulae
Given : d o = 140 mm, t = 20 mm  di = (d o - 2t)= ( 140 - 40)= 100 mm,

1
E = 80  10 N / mm , L  2.5 =2500 mm,  c  550 MPa,  
3 2

1600
Assume pinned ends for both cases.
Solution :

 2 EI
(i) Euler's crippling or buckling load : PE = 2
where;
L
e

##   d 04  di4   1404  1004 

I  =  13.95  106 mm 2
64 64
& Le  L  2500 mm ( Both ends hinged condition)

##  2  80 103 13.95 106

PE = 2
 1762 KN
2500
Dr P R Venkatesh, Mech Dept, RVCE,
Bangalore
(ii) Rankine's crippling or buckling load :
c A 1
Pcr  2
Here,   ,  c  550 MPa, Le  L  2500 mm,
L  1600
1   e 
 k 
 1402  1002  I 13.95 106
A  7540 mm 2 , k    43 m m
4 A 7540
550  7540
 Pcr  2
 1332 KN
1  2500 
1  
1600  43 
(iii) Length of column for same buckling load :
 2 EI c A
PE  Pcr   2
L2e L 
1   e 
 k 
 2  80 103 13.95  106 550  7540
i.e. 2
 2
 Le = 5100 mm
L 1  Le 
1
e
 
1600  43 
Numerical Problems
7. A column with a circular section of 20 mm diameter is
hinged at its both ends. The column with two different lengths
is tested under buckling load resulting in the following values;

300 60

400 47

## Determine the Rankine’s constant & crushing (yield) stress for

the material of the column.
Solution :
  202
From the data, A   314.2 mm 2 ,
4
  204 I 7854
I  7854 mm 4 , k    5 mm
64 A 314.16
c A
Rankine's formula Pcr  2
where Le  L ( pinned ends)
L 
1 a  e 
 k 
 c  314.2
When L = 300mm & Pcr = 60KN : 60 10  3
2
 300 
1   
 5 
 60 103  2.16 108   314.2 c (i )
 c  314.2
When L = 400mm & Pcr = 47 KN : 47 103  2
 400 
1   
 5 
 47 103  3  108   314.2 c (ii)
1
Solving (i ) & (ii ) ,  = , σ c = 297MPa
6462