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Chapter 6 Buckling of Plate Elements

1. Differential Equation of Plate Buckling, a Linear Theory


Consider an isolated freebody of a plate element in the deformed configuration (necessary for
stability problems examining equilibrium in the deformed configuration, neighboring
equilibrium). The plate material is assumed to be isotropic, homogeneous and obey Hookes law.
The plate is assumed to be prismatic (constant thickness) and forces expressed per unit width of
the plate are assumed constant.
Fig. 6-1 In-plane forces on plate element
z
F

for
x
N
:
2
2
0
x x
w w w
N dx dy N dy
x x x
_
+


,
x
y
dy
dx
y
N
w
y

w
x

w
y

w
x

x
N
y
N
x
N
xy
N
yx
N
yx
N
xy
N
t
w w
dx
x x x
_
+


,
w w
dx
y x y
_
+


,
w w
dy
x y x
_
+


,
w w
dy
y y y
_
+


,
1
for
y
N
:
2
2
0
y y
w w w
N dy dx N dx
y y y
_
+


,
for
xy
N
:
2
0
xy xy
w w w
N dx dy N dy
y x y y
_
+


,
for
yx
N
:
2
0
yx yx
w w w
N dy dx N dx
x x y x
_
+


,
Since
xy yx
N N
(this can be readily proved by taking the in-plane moment at a corner), it follows
Fig. 6-2 Bending shear
z
F

:
2 2 2
2 2
2
x y xy
w w w
N N N dxdy
x y x y
_
+ +


,
(a)
y
x
Q
Q
dxdy
x y
_
+


,
(b)
(b)
From (a) and (b), one obtains
2 2 2
2 2
2 0
y
x
x y xy
Q
Q w w w
N N N
x y x y x y


+ + + +

(6-1)
y
Q
x
x
Q
x
x
Q
Q dx
x

z
y
y
y
Q
Q dy
y

2
Fig. 6-3 Moment components
It should be noted that the positive direction of
xy
M
in Fig. 6-3 is reversed from that given by
Timoshenko and Woinowsky-Krieger (2nd edition, McGraw-Hill, 1959).
xy yx
M M
0
x
M

(The condition that the sum of moments about the x-axis must vanish yields.)
0
2
y xy y
x
y
M M Q
Q dxdydy
dydx dxdy Q dxdy dxdydy
y x x y

+

Neglecting the higher order terms, the above equation reduces to
0
y xy
y
M M
Q
y x

+

(6-2)
Similarly, moments about the y-axis leads to
0
yx
x
x
M
M
Q
x y

+

(6-3)
x
y
z
y
M
yx
M
xy
M
x
M x
x
M
M dx
x

yx
yx
M
M dy
y

xy
xy
M
M dx
x

y
y
M
M dy
y

3
Differentiating Eqs. (6-2) and (6-3) and substituting the results into Eq. (6-1), yields
2 2
2 2 2 2
2 2 2 2
2 2 0
xy y
x
x y xy
M M
M w w w
N N N
x x y y x y x y


+ + + + +

(6-4)
If one considers (at least temporarily)
x y xy
N , N , and N
are known, then Eq. (6-4) contains four
unknowns,
x y xy
M , M , M , and w
. In order to determine these quantities uniquely, one needs
three additional relationships. These three additional equations may be obtained from the
geometric compatibility conditions.
g
Moment-Displacement Relationship
2
2
t /
x x
t /
M zdz

(6-5)
2
2
t /
y y
t /
M zdz

(6-6)
2
2
t /
xy xy
t /
M zdz

(6-7)
and
x y
M M
are positive when ( )
x y

and z are positive. Note the in-plane shear stress,
xy

,
due to twisting moment,
xy
M
, is positive if it directs toward positive axis at positive z.
From Hookes law of plane stress problems, it follows immediately
( )
( )
( ) 2 1
x x y
y y x
xy xy xy
/ E
/ E
/ G / E


(6-8)
Solving for stresses, yields
( ) ( )
( ) ( )
( ) ( )
2
2
1
1
2 1
x x y
y y x
xy xy
E /
E /
E /


+
;

+ 1

]

(6-9)
4
From curvature-strain relationships, one obtains
2
2
2
2
2
2
x
y
xy
w
z
x
w
z
y
w
z
x y

(6-10)
Substituting the relationships presented in Eqs. (6-0) and (8.9) into Eqs. (6-5), (8.6), and (6-7)
and carrying out necessary integrals, gives
( )
2 2
2 2
2 2
2 2
2
1
x
y
xy
w w
M D
x y
w w
M D
y x
w
M D
x y

_
+


,

_
+
;

,

(6-11)
where
( )
3
2
12 1
Et
D

(6-12)
The value D is the flexural rigidity of the plate element of thickness t per unit width.
Substituting Eqs. (6-11) and (6-12) into Eq. (6-4), gives
4 4 4 2 2 2
4 2 2 4 2 2
2 2
x y xy
w w w w w w
D N N N
x x y y x y x y
_
+ + + +


,
(6-13)
or
t
1
5
a
b
x
y
x
N
4 4 4 2 2 2
4 2 2 4 2 2
2 2
x y xy
w w w w w w
D t
x x y y x y x y

_ _
+ + + +


, ,
Recall
x x y y xy xy
N t , N t , N t
.
Eq. (6-13) is the differential equation of a rectangular plate element under the action of in-plane
forces (linear problems).
2. Critical Load of a Plate Uniformly Compressed in One Direction
Fig. 6-4 Simply supported plate subjected to uniaxial force
For the problem depicted in the Fig. 6-4,
0
y xy
N N
. The governing equation becomes
4 4
0 0
x ,xx x ,xx
D w N w or w N w / D + +
If the plate is simply supported at 0 and x x a (conservative assumption), then
,
0 at 0,
xx
w w x a
Assume the solution to be of a form
( ) ( ) , sin with 1, 2, 3 . . .
n n
n x
w x y Y y n
a


This is a standard procedure of separating variable to transform a partial differential equation
into ordinary differential equation, which will reduce the computational efforts significantly.
( )
n
Y y
is a function of the independent variable y only.
Taking appropriate derivatives and substituting into the governing equation above, gives
6
2 4 2
2 sin 0
iv x
n n n
N n n n n x
Y Y Y
a a D a a

1
_ _ _

+
1 ' ;

, , ,
1
]
(6-14)
Since sin 0
n x
a

for all values of x, the expression inside the brace must vanish. Let
2
2 x
N a
u
D n
_


,
, then
( )
2 4
2
2 1 0
iv
n n n
n n
Y Y u Y
a a
_ _

+

, ,
(6-15)
Assume the homogeneous solution of Eq. (6-15) to be of a form
my
n
Y e . Taking successive
derivatives, substituting back to Eq. (6-15), and solving the resulting characteristic equation,
gives
1 1 2 1 3 2 4 2
cosh sinh cos sin
n
Y c k y c k y c k y c k y + + +
where
1 2
1 and 1
n n
k u k u
a a
_ _
+

, ,
Assume the rectangular plate shown in Fig. 6-5 is simply supported at / 2 x a t and elastically
restrained at
/ 2 y b t
. Then, the deflection corresponding to the smallest
x
N
is a symmetric
function of y based on the coordinate system given. Hence,
n
Y
must be an even function and
2 4
0 c c
. The deflection surface becomes
( ) ( )
1 1 3 2
, cosh cos cos
n x
w x y c k y c k y
a

+ (6-16)
7
Fig. 6-5 Elastically restrained rectangular plate
Fig. 6-6 Elastically restrained boundary condition
The elastically restrained boundary conditions shown in Fig. 6-6 are
at / 2
y
w
M k y b
y

and
at / 2
y
w
M k y b
y

where
k = rotational spring constant
where
( )
, , y yy xx
M D w w +
and
/ 2 , y b yy
M Dw
t

since
/ 2 ,
0 0
y b xx
w w
t

2 2
1 1 1 3 2 2
cosh cos
n
y c k k y c k k y


/ 2 1 1 3 2
0 cosh cos 0
2 2
y b
b b
w c k c k
t
+
(a)
x
N
x
N
y
x
y
M
y
M
y
, z w
w
y

w
y

8
2 2
1 1 1 3 2 2
2 2
1 1 1 3 2 2
cosh cos cos
2 2
sinh sin cos
2 2
y b b
y y
w b b n x
M k D c k k c k k
y a
b b n x
k c k k c k k
a

,
_


,
(b)
2 2
1 1 1 3 2 2
2 2
1 1 1 3 2 2
cosh cos cos
2 2
sinh sin cos
2 2
y b b
y y
w b b n x
M k D c k k c k k
y a
b b n x
k c k k c k k
a

,
_


,
(c)
It is noted that equation (c) is identical to equation (b). Let
2D
bk
. Then equation (b) becomes
2 2
1 1 1 3 2 2 1 1 1 3 2 2
cosh cos sinh sin
2 2 2 2

D b b b b
c k k c k k c k k c k k
k
_ _


, ,
2 2
1 1 1 1 1 3 2 2 2 2
sinh cosh sin cos 0
2 2 2 2 2 2
b b b b b b
c k k k k c k k k k
_ _


, ,
(d)
Setting the coefficient determinant of equations (a) and (d) for the constants
1
c
and
3
c
, yields
1 2
2 2
1 1 1 1 2 2 2 2
cosh cos
2 2
0
sinh cosh sin cos
2 2 2 2 2 2
b b
k k
b b b b b b
k k k k k k k k

+
( )
2 2 2 1 1 2 1 2
1 2 2 1
1
cos cosh cosh sin sinh cos
2 2 2 2 2 2 2
k b k b k b k b k b k b
b k k k k + +
( )
2 2 2 2 1 2
1 2 2 1
1
cos sin tanh cos
2 2 2 2 2
k b k b k b k b
b k k k k + +
( )
2 2 2 1
1 2 2 1
1
tan tanh
2 2 2
k b k b
b k k k k + + , ( )
2 2 1 2
1 2 1 2
1
tanh tan 0
2 2 2
k b k b
k k b k k + +
Let a / b , the aspect ratio of the rectangular plate. Then
1
1
2 2
b n
k u

+ and
2
1
2 2
b n
k u


9
1tanh 1 1tan 1 0
2 2
n n n
u u u u u


_ _ _
+ + +

, , ,
(e)
Equation (e) is the general buckling condition equation. If the plate is simply supported along
the boundary at
/ 2 y b t
, then
0 k B
. Then, equation (e) becomes
1tan 1 0
2
n
u u

_


,
as
1tanh 1
2
n
u u

_
+ +

,
is a finite value.
tan 1 1 1 1
2 2 2
n n n
u u u


_


,
( )
2
2 2
2 2
2
2 2
1 1 1 1
x
N n a
u u u
n n D n


1
_ _
+
1

, ,
1
]
( )
2 2
2 2
3 2
2 2 2
2
2 2
2 2 2
2
2 2 2 2
1 1
12 1

xcr
n Et a n
N D
n a n b a
na n D a nb D n
D
n ab a b nb a b n

1 1 _
_ _ _
+ +
1 1
, , ,
1 , ] ]
_
_ _
+ + +

, ,
,
( )
2 2
2
2
/
12 1
cr xcr
t E a nb
N t
b nb a

_ _
+

, ,
Let
2
'
n
k
n

_
+

,
. Then
( )
2
2
2
'
12 1
cr
k E
b
t


,
(6-17)
For the smallest
xcr
N
,
2
2 2
2 2
2 1
0 0
xcr
dN D n n
n
d b n n


_ _
+

, ,
If 1 n , then
( )
2 2
2 2
2
4 '
1 ' 4 '=4
12 1
xcr cr
D k E
k N k
b
b
t


,
10
If 2 n , then 2 ' 4 k
If 3 n , then 3 ' 4 k
Fig. 6-7 Plate buckling coefficient
3. Longitudinally Stiffened Plates
Fig. 6-8 Longitudinally stiffened plate strip
Consider a rectangular plate simply supported on all four edges with a longitudinal
stiffener at the center of the plate as shown in Fig. 6-8. From Eqs. (6-14) and (6-16), the
deflection surfaces can be written
n= 4 n= 3 n= 2
n= 1
4
1 3 4 2 2 6

k

A
A
y
z
1
w
2
w
2
b
+
2
b

a
2
b
2
b
x

y
x
S.S.
S.S.
11
A-A
( )
1 1 1 2 1 3 2 4 2
sin cosh sinh cos sin for 0
n x
w c k y c k y c k y c k y y
a

+ + +
( )
2 1 1 2 1 3 2 4 2
sin cosh sinh cos sin for 0
n x
w c k y c k y c k y c k y y
a

+ + + <
Boundary conditions (8 bcs) to determine
1
c
-
4
c
are
1 2
at 0 w w y
(1)
1 2
at 0
w w
y
y y



(2)
2
1
2
0 at / 2 . .
w
y b s s
y

(3)
1
0 at / 2 w y b
(4)
2
2
2
0 at / 2
w
y b
y

(5)
2
0 at / 2 w y b
(6)
One needs two additional conditions. Consider the juncture where the stiffener and the plate
meet as shown in Fig. 6-9. Consider the isolated stiffener alone.
Fig. 6-9 Stiffener juncture
q
1
Q
2
Q
q
y
M
y
M
1
Q
2
Q
12
The behavior of the stiffener can be described by a beam equation
(know
x
A N
,
1 2
at 0 w w w y
).
4 2
4 2
w w
EI A q
x x


+

( )
bm:
iv
EIy Py q +
(7)
From the theory of plates
( ) ( )
2 2 2 2
1 1 2 2
1 2 2 2 2 2
0
2 2
y
w w w w
Q Q q D
y y x y x

1
+
1

]
The distributed torque on the stiffener is
3
2 1 3
T
y y T w
M M M GK EI
x x



(positive torquecounterclockwise) (8)
where
T
GK
and
w
EI
are properties of the stiffener.
2 2 2 2
2 2 1 1
2 1 2 2 2 2
T
y y
w w w w
M M D D M
y x y x

1 _ _
+ + +
1

, , ]
If
T
GK
and
w
EI
are negligibly small (small stiffener), then
( )
1 2
at 0 M 0
T
y y
M M y
(9)
Consider symmetric and antisymmetric buckling separately. Introducing parameters
( )
2
3
12 1 I
EI
bt Db



bending rigidity ratio, Db EI effect of plate element of b width
A
bt
area ratio ( A=area of stiffener)
From symmetry,
2 2
1 2
1 2 2 2
0
/ 2
y
w w
Q Q q
x x

_



,
13
3
1
0 3
2
y
w
q D
y

(a)
Hence, for the stiffener (which is a beam element)
3 4 2
1 1 1
0 0 3 4 2
2
y x y
w w w
D EI N
y x x


+

The above equation transforms to the following in terms of

and .
4 2 3
1 1 1
0 4 2 3
2 0
c
y
bt w w w
b
x D x y



+ +

(b)
The available boundary conditions for the four unknowns,
1
c
-
4
c
are
(3) and (4),
1
0
0
y
w
y

(due to symmetry), and (b). Applying these four boundary conditions


yields four homogeneous equations for the integral constants,
1
c
-
4
c
. Setting the coefficient
determinant of these simultaneous equations gives the stability condition for the symmetric mode
of buckling.
( )
1 1 1 2 1 3 2 4 2
sin cosh sinh cos sin for 0
n x
w c k y c k y c k y c k y y
a

+ + +
( )
1
1 1 1 1 2 1 2 3 2 2 4 2
sin sinh cosh sin cos
w n x
k c k y k c k y k c k y k c k y
y a

+ +

( )
2
2 2 2 2 1
1 1 1 1 2 1 2 3 2 2 4 2 2
sin cosh sinh cos sin
w n x
k c k y k c k y k c k y k c k y
y a

+

( )
3
3 3 3 3 1
1 1 1 1 2 1 2 3 2 2 4 2 3
sin sinh cosh sin cos
w n x
k c k y k c k y k c k y k c k y
y a

+ +

( )
1
1 1 2 1 3 2 4 2
cos cosh sinh cos sin
w n n x
c k y c k y c k y c k y
x a a

+ + +

( )
2
2
1
1 1 2 1 3 2 4 2 2
sin cosh sinh cos sin
w n n x
c k y c k y c k y c k y
x a a
_
+ + +

,
14
( )
3
3
1
1 1 2 1 3 2 4 2 3
cos cosh sinh cos sin
w n n x
c k y c k y c k y c k y
x a a
_
+ + +

,
( )
4
4
1
1 1 2 1 3 2 4 2 4
sin cosh sinh cos sin
w n n x
c k y c k y c k y c k y
x a a
_
+ + +

,
Boundary condition (3)
2
2 2 2 2 1 1 1 2 2
/ 2 1 1 1 2 2 3 2 4 2
0 sin cosh sinh cos sin
2 2 2 2
y b
w k b k b k b k b n x
k c k c k c k c
y a

_
+

,
2 2 2 2 1 1 2 2
1 1 1 2 2 3 2 4
cosh sinh cos sin 0
2 2 2 2
k b k b k b k b
k c k c k c k c + (c)
Boundary condition (4)
1 1 2 2
1 / 2 1 2 3 4
0 sin cosh sinh cos sin
2 2 2 2
y b
k b k b k b k b n x
w c c c c
a

_
+ + +

,
1 1 2 2
1 2 3 4
cosh sinh cos sin =0
2 2 2 2
k b k b k b k b
c c c c + + + (d)
( )
1
0
0 due to symmetry
y
w
y

1 2 2 4
0 k c k c +
(e)
Boundary condition (b)
( )
4 4 4
1
0 1 3 4 3 4
sin
y
w n n x
b c c
x b a

( )
2 2 2
1
0 1 3 2 2
sin
c c
y
bt t w n n x
c c
D x Db a

( )
3
3 3 1
0 1 2 2 4 3
2 2sin
y
w n x
k c k c
y a

4 2 3
1 1 1
4 2 3
0
2 0
c
y
bt w w w
b
x D x y

_
+ +


,
15
( ) ( ) ( )
4 4 2 2
3 3
1 3 1 3 1 2 2 4 3 4 2
2 0
c
t n n
c c c c k c k c
b Db


+ + +
4 4 2 2 4 4 2 2
3 3
1 1 2 3 2 4 3 4 2 3 4 2
2 2 0
c c
t t n n n n
c k c c k c
b Db b Db


_ _
+ +

, ,
(f)
The coefficient determinant is
2 2 2 2 1 1 2 2
1 1 2 2
1 1 2 2
1 2
4 4 2 2 4 4 2 2
3 3
1 2 3 4 2 3 4 2
cos sin cos sin
2 2 2 2
cos sin cos sin
2 2 2 2
0 0
2 2
c c
k b k b k b k b
k h k h k k
k b k b k b k b
h h
k k
t t n n n n
k k
b Db b Db




Let
4 4 2 2
3 4 2
c
t n n
big
b Db


. Then
2 2 2 2 1 1 2 2
1 1 2 2
1 1 2 2
1 2
3 3
1 2
cos sin cos sin
2 2 2 2
cos sin cos sin
2 2 2 2
0 0
2 2
k b k b k b k b
k h k h k k
k b k b k b k b
h h
k k
big k big k

Expanding the determinant, gives


( ) ( ) ( )
3 3 5 5 2 2 2 2
1 2 1 2 1 2 1 1 2 2 1 2
det cos 4 2 2 sin cos ch k k k k k k big ch k k k sh k k k
1
+ + + + +
]
where
1
cosh
2
k b
ch
_


,
,
1
sinh
2
k b
sh
_


,
,
2
cos cos
2
k b _


,
,
2
sin sin
2
k b _


,
( ) ( ) ( )
2
2 2 2 2 2 2
1 2 1 2 1 1 2 2 1 2
det 2 cos sin cos k k k k ch big k k k ch k k k sh
1
+ + + +
]
Letting the determinant equal to zero for the stability condition, yields
16
( ) ( ) ( )
( ) [ ]
2
2 2 2 2 2 2
1 2 1 2 1 1 2 2 1 2
2 2
1 2 1 2 1 2
0 2 cos sin cos
2 cos sin cos
k k k k ch big k k k ch k k k sh
k k k k ch big k ch k sh
1
+ + + +
]
+ +
Dividing both sides by
1 2
cos k k ch
, gives
( )
4 4 2 2
2 2 1 2
1 2 3 4 2
1 2
1 1
0 tanh tan 2
2 2
c
t k b k b n n
k k
k k b Db


_ _
+

, ,
(6-18)
Eq. (6-18) gives the relationship between the stiffener rigidity versus the compressive stress,
c

,
at the instance of symmetric buckling. As Yoo, et al. (2001, 1Yoo, Chai H., Choi, Byung H., and
Ford, Elizabeth M., "Stiffness Requirements for Longitudinally Stiffened Box Girder Flanges,"
Journal of Structural Engineering, ASCE, Vol. 127, No. 6, pp. 705-711.) and Choi and Yoo
(2005, 1Choi, B.H., and Yoo, C.H., "Strength of Stiffened Flanges in Horizontally Curved Box
Girders," Journal of Engineering Mechanics, ASCE, Vol. 131, No. 2, pp. 167-176.) discovered
in their numerical investigations, the symmetrical buckling mode occurs with n=1. Hence, the
critical compressive stress of the plate,
c

, given by Bryan is substituted into Eq. (6-18) with


k=4, conservatively,
( ) ( )
2 2
2 2
2 2
12 1 3 1
2 2
c
k E E
b b
t t



_ _


, ,
(6-19)
Bleich (Buckling Strength of Metal Structures, McGraw-Hill, 1952, pp. 366) used Eq. (6-18) to
generate the following figure for
0

versus

.
Fig. 6-10 Definition of mode shapes
Symmetric Anti-symmetric
17

It is clear that the aspect ratio,

, used in the figure is for the original unstiffened rectangular


plate as there is no mention in the Bleichs text as to any other definition. The number of half
waves, n, is not clear whether it is for the symmetrical buckling mode or the antisymmetric
buckling mode. The aspect ratio of numerous antisymmetric buckling mode shapes observed
during the course of finite element analyses, remains close to one as expected (since it gives the
lowest critical stress). Hence, the number of half waves must be equal to two corresponding to
1 in the above figure, since the aspect ratio of the subpanel created by one longitudinal
stiffener considered in this model is equal to two. Also the number of half waves remains to be
one in the symmetric buckling mode. Furthermore, the longitudinal stiffener is essentially a rod
subjected to a compressive force. Therefore, the stiffness of such a rod must be increased in a
geometric proportion corresponding to a higher aspect ratio of the subpanel (i.e., a higher
18
effective length). Examination of the above figure based on these two fundamental reasons,
reveals that the above figure does not appear plausible.
It should be reminded that the above derivation is basically for elastic buckling. Although Bleich
adopted a tangent modulus concept using the modular ratio of

in the case of inelastic buckling,


the tangent modulus theory has been proven to yield unconservative prediction of critical stresses
in the inelastic range.
It is, therefore, recommended that the following formula derived numerically at Auburn
University referenced above be used for the minimum required moment of inertia of longitudinal
stiffeners:
2 3
0 3
s
I . n wt (6-20)
where n=number of longitudinal stiffeners, w=width of subpanel. Eq. (6-20) is also valid for
inelastic buckling. Eq. (6-20) also works for horizontally curved box girders.
4. Strain Energy of Bending in Plates
Fig. 6-11 In-plane stress elements
dy
dx
dz
x

yx

xy

19
For thin-walled plates where the thickness, t, is not greater than, say, one tenth of the plate side
dimensions, the constitutive relationship becomes a plane stress problem; i.e.,
0
z xz yz

.
Consider the plate element shown in Fig. 6-11 subjected first to
x

only.
Then, the force
x x
P dA dzdy
moves a distance equal to
/
x xx x
dx dx E V
. Hence,
2
1
1 1
2
x
dU dx dy dz
E
(6-21)
then, the element is subjected to
y

. The strain energy due to


y

is
2
2
1 1
2
y
dU dx dy dz
E
(6-22)
However, this time, the force in the x direction rides a distance
y
dx
E

. Hence,
3
1
y x
dU dx dy dz
E
(6-23)
Assuming that normal stresses produce no shear stresses and vice versa, it is possible to obtain
strain energy of a plate element due to shear independent from the normal forces. Due to a shear
stress, there exists a force,
xy
dxdz
and a deformation
xy
dy
. Hence,
( )
2
4
1 1
2
xy xy xy
dU dxdz dy dxdydz
E


+
(6-24)
Fig. 6-12 Shear strain
y
xy
dy
x
xy

xy

20
The total strain energy is then
( )
2 2 2
1
2 2 1
2
x y x y xy
dU dxdydz
E
1 + + +
]
(6-25)
For the entire plate of length a, width b, and thickness t, the strain energy becomes
( )
/ 2
2 2 2
/ 2 0 0
1
2 2 1
2
t b a
x y x y xy
t
U dxdydz
E

1 + + +
]
(6-26)
As a consequence of neglecting
yz
, ,
z xz

, Eq. (6-26) is limited to thin plates only, but it is not
limited to problems of neither small displacements nor membrane forces only. Eq. (6-26) can
and will be used for other cases depending upon the proper expression of these stresses. If one
considers only for bending and substituting the corresponding expressions for these stresses, one
obtains;
( )
( )
2 2 2
2 2 2 2 2
/ 2
2
2 2 2 2 2
/ 2 0 0
2 2 1
2 1
t b a
t
E w w w w w
U z dxdydz
x y x y x y


1
_ _ _
+ + + 1


1 , , ,
]

(6-27)
After carrying out the integral with respect to z, Eq. (6-27) becomes
( )
2 2 2
2 2 2 2 2
2 2 2 2
0 0
2 2 1
2
b a
D w w w w w
U dxdy
x y x y x y

1
_ _ _
+ + + 1


1 , , ,
]

(6-28)
a
a
x
y
x
N
x
N
21
Fig. 6-13 Square plate fixed on all four sides
Example:
Compute the critical load,
xcr
N
of a square plate fixed for flexure on all four boundaries.
Solution:
The geometric boundary conditions are:
0 at 0,
2 2
1 cos 1 cos
0 at 0,
w
w x a
x y x
w A
w
a a
w y a
y


_ _

;

, ,

meets bcs
2 2 2
sin 1 cos
w A x y
x a a a
_ _

, ,
,
2 2 2
sin 1 cos
w A y x
y a a a
_ _

, ,
2 2
2 2
4 2 2
cos 1 cos
w A x y
x a a a
_ _

, ,
,
2 2
2 2
4 2 2
cos 1 cos
w A y x
y a a a
_ _

, ,
2 2
2
4 2 2
sin sin
w A x y
x y a a a
_ _



, ,
Substituting the above derivatives into Eq. (6-27), leads to
( )
2 2
2 2
4 2
4
0 0
2 2
2 2
2 2 2
cos 1 2cos cos
2 2 2
cos 1 2cos cos
16
2
2 2 2 2
2 cos cos cos cos
2 2
2 1 sin sin
a a
x y y
a a a
y x x
D A a a a
U dxdy
a
x x y y
a a a a
x y
a a

1 _
+
1
,
1
1
_
+ +
1
,
1

1
_ _
+
1
, ,
1
1
+
1
]

Making use of the following definite integrals, the strain energy becomes
22
2 2
0 0
0 0
sin , cos
2 2
,
sin 0, cos 0
x x
dx dx
x x
dx dx








: any integer
4 2
2
16D A
U
a

The loss of potential energy of externally applied load due to shortening of the plate element is
Fig. 6-14 Axially loaded plate strip
( )
2 2
0 0 0
1
2 2
a a a
x
x
N w w
dV N dy dx V dy dx
x x
1
_ _

1


, ,
1
]

which yields upon integration,
2 2
3
2
x
N A
V


2 2 4 2
2
3 16
2
x
N A D A
U V
a

+
4
2
2
32
0 3 0
x
d D A
N A
dA a

, since 0 A
x
y
x
N dy
y
d
x
N dy
23
2 2
2 2
32 10.67
3
xcr
D D
N
a a

an upper bound solution
M. Levys infinite series for w gives
( )
2
2
10.07
6%
xcr
D
N
a

.
5. Shear Buckling of a Plate Element by Galerkins Method
Assume a two-term trigonometric displacement function such that
2
2
1 2 2
2
0 at 0,
2 2
sin sin sin sin
0 at 0,
w
w x a
x y x y x
w A A
a a a a w
w y a
y





+
;


The assumed displacement function meets geometric boundary conditions and natural boundary
conditions.
Fig. 6-15 Square plate subjected to in-plane shear
Galerkin equation takes the following form:
( ) ( )
0 0
,
a a
i
Q w g x y dxdy

with 1 2 i ,
x
y
xy
N
a
S.S.
. . S S
S.S.
S.S.
a
24
where
( )
4 4 4 2
4 2 2 4
2
2
xy
N
w w w w
Q w
x x y y D x y

+ + +

( )
1
, sin sin
x y
g x y
a a

( )
2
2 2
, sin sin
x y
g x y
a a

Since there are two terms in the assumed displacement function, two Galerkin equations must be
written.
4 4
2 2 1 2
4 4
2
1
2
0 0
2
2
2
4 64 2 2
sin sin sin sin sin sin
cos sin cos sin
2
4 2 2
cos sin cos sin
a a
xy
A A x y x x y y
a a a a a a a a
A x x y y
dxdy
N
a a a a a
D
A x x y y
a a a a a



1
+
1
1
1 _
1
1 +
1
+

1
, ]

and
4 4
2 2 1 2
4 4
2
1
2
0 0
2
2
2
4 64 2 2 2 2
sin sin sin sin sin sin
2 2
cos sin cos sin
2
4 2 2 2 2
cos sin cos sin
a a
xy
A A x x y y x y
a a a a a a a a
A x x y y
dxdy
N
a a a a a
D
A x x y y
a a a a a



1
+
1
1
1 _
1
1 +
1
+

1
, ]

Recall
2 2
0 0
0 0
0 0
sin , cos
2 2
sin sin 0, cos cos 0 m n
2 2 2 4
cos sin , sin cos
3 3
a a
a a
a a
m x a m x a
dx dx
a a
m x n x m x n x
a a a a
x x a x x a
dx dx
a a a a




'




Hence, the Galerkin equations reduce to
25
2 2
4 2
4
1 2
4 2
1 2 2
2 2 4
4 2
2 1
1 2 2
4 2
2
4 4 2 32
0
0
2 3
9

32
16 2
64 4
0
0
9
2 3
xy
xy
xy
xy
N
A A a a N
A A
a D a
a D
or
N
N
A A a a
A A
D a
a D a

_ _
+
+

, ,
;
_ _
+
+


, ,
Setting the determinant for
1 2
, A A
equal to zero, gives
( )
4
2
2
2
4
2
32
9
0 11.1 18.8% upper bound
32
16
9
xy
xycr
xy
N
a D
N D
N a
D a


A more precise analysis gives
2
2
9.34
xycr
N D
a

Inelastic plate buckling analysis may be performed using an iterative procedure on commercially
available general purpose 3D finite element package such as ABAQUS, NASTRAN, ADINA,
etc. Inelastic buckling at the transition zone is fairly sensitively affected by the initial
imperfection assumed.
6. Large (Finite) Deflection Theory of Plates
26
Fig. 6-16 In-plane forces acting on plate element - large displacement theory
The term, large deflection, means that the deflection of a plate element is in the order of the plate
thickness. Hence, the approximations used in the micro-geometry, 1 cos , sin , hold. It
is also possible to approximate the curvature with second derivatives. The only difference in the
large deflection theory compared to the small deflection theory is that the in-plane forces are
assumed to vary (do not remain constant).
Consider equilibrium of in-plane force components in the deformed configuration.
x-direction: 0
yx
x
N
N
x y

+

(6-29)
y-direction: 0
y xy
N N
y x

+

(6-30)
w w
dx
x x x
_
+


,
x
y
dy
dx
y
N
w
x

w
y

w
x

x
N
yx
N

t
w w
dx
y x y
_
+


,
w w
dy
x y x
_
+


,
w w
dy
y y y
_
+


,
y
y
N
N dy
y

yx
yx
N
N dy
y

x
x
N
N dx
x

xy
xy
N
N dx
x

w
y

27
Equilibrium of
x
N
force components in the z-direction is
2
2
x
x x
N w w w
N dy N dx dx dy
x x x x
_ _
+ + +


,
,
After simplifying and neglecting higher order terms, gives
2
2
x
x
N w w
N dxdy dxdy
x x x

+

(6-31)
In a similar manner, equilibrium of
y
N
force components in the z-direction is
2
2
y
y
N
w w
N dxdy dxdy
y y y


+

(6-32)
The shearing force components (
,
xy yx
N N
) in the z-direction are
2
xy
xy
N
w w
N dxdy dxdy
x y x y


+

(6-33)
2
yx
yx
N
w w
N dxdy dxdy
x y y x


+

(6-34)
By adding Eqs. (6-1)-(6-34) and making use of Eqs. (6-29) and (6-30), one obtains
2 2 2
2 2
2
x y xy
w w w
N N N dxdy
x y x y
_
+ +


,
(6-35)
To obtain the equation of equilibrium of forces in the z-direction, the contribution of in-plane
forces must be added to the transverse shearing forces which were derived in Eqs. (6-2), (6-3),
and (6-4). Rewriting Eq. (6-4), gives
2 2
2 2 2 2
2 2 2 2
2 2 0
xy y
x
x y xy
M M
M w w w
N N N
x x y y x y x y


+ + + + +

(6-36)
Substituting the moment-curvature relationships, Eq. (6.36) becomes
4 4 4 2 2 2
4 2 2 4 2 2
2 2 0
x y xy
w w w w w w
D N N N
x x y y x y x y
_
+ + + + +


,
(6-37)
28
Rearranging Eq. (6.37), yields
4 4 4 2 2 2
4 2 2 4 2 2
2 2 0
x y xy
w w w w w w
D N N N
x x y y x y x y
_
+ +


,
(6-38)
, ,
x y xy
N N N
in Eq. (6-38) are variables in x and y while they are constants in Eq. (6-13). Hence,
Eq. (6-38) is a 4th order partial differential equation with variable coefficients with 4 unknowns.
The additional relationships required to eliminate three unknowns are provided by the
compatibility condition.
g
Compatibility
The axial strains in x- and y-directions are obtained by adding the in-plane contribution and the
bending (vertical) effect. Hence,
2
2
1
2
1
2
x
y
u w
e
x x
v w
e
y y

_
+



,

;
_

+



,
recall Green-Lagrange strain (6-39)
The shear strain (angular change) may consist of the in-plane contribution and the bending
(vertical) contribution.
The in-plane contribution is
n
u v
y x


+

29
Fig. 6-17 In-plane angle change
Fig. 6-18 Out of plane angle change
The bending contribution is
' ' '
2 2
w w
BOA B O A


_


,
From the elementary geometry (law of cosine),
( ) ( ) ( ) ( ) ( )
2 2 2
' ' ' ' ' ' 2 ' ' ' ' cos
2
w
A B O A O B O A O B

_
+

,
where
0
0'
dx
dy
B
A
B
A
u
v
u
dy
y

u
u dx
x

v
dx
x

0
0'
dx
dy
B
A
B
A
w
w
w
y

w
dx
x

w
x

w
dy
y

30
( )
( )
( )
2
2
2
2
2
2
2
2
2 2
' '
' '
' '
w
O A dx dx
x
w
O B dy dy
y
w w
A B dx dy dy dx
y x

_
+

_
+
;

_

+ +


,
from the Pythagoras theorem
Neglecting higher order terms, one has
( ) ( ) ' ' ' ' O A O B dxdy
Recognizing that
cos
2
w w


_


,
for small angles, then
( )
2 2
2
2
2 2 2 2
' ' 2
w
w w w w
A B dx dx dy dy dxdy dx dy dy dx
x y y x

_ _ _
+ + + + +


,
, ,
which leads to
w
w w
x y


Hence,
u v w w
y x x y


+ +

(6-40)
In a plane stress problem (
0
z yz xz
N N
)
( )
( )
( )
1
1
2 1
x x y
y y x
xy xy
e N N
Et
e N N
Et
N
Et

(6-41)
From Eqs. (6-39) and (6-40), after proper differentiations
31
2
2 2
2 2 2 2
2 2 2 2
y xy
x
e
e w w w
y x x y x y x y
_
+


,
(6-42)
Equation (6.42) is the deformation compatibility equation.
Introducing a stress function, ( ) , F x y
such that
2
2
2
2
2
x
y
xy
F
N t
y
F
N t
x
F
N t
x y

(6-43)
Combining Eqs. (6-43) and (6-41), gives
( )
2 2
2 2
2 2
2 2
2
1
1
2 1
x
y
xy
F F
e
E y x
F F
e
E x y
F
E x y

_



,

_

;

,

(6-44)
Substituting Eq. (6-44) into Eq. (6-42), yields
2
4 4 4 2 2 2
4 2 2 4 2 2
2
F F F w w w
E
x x y y x y x y
1
_
+ + 1


1 ,
]
(6-45)
and substituting Eq. (6-43) into Eq. (6-38), gives
4 4 4 2 2 2 2 2 2
4 2 2 4 2 2 2 2
2 2 0
w w w t F w F w F w
x x y y D y x x y x y x y
_
+ + +


,
(or =
q
D
) (6-46)
Eqs. (6-45) and (6-46) are known as von Krmn equation as he is credited for the derivation.
7. Postbuckling of Plate Elements
32
Eqs. (6-45) and (6-46) are non-linear coupled partial differential equations. As is the case for all
non-linear equations, there is no closed form general solution available to these equations.
Consider as an example, a square plate simply supported on all four edges subjected to a uniform
compressive force,
x
N
. Examine the stress pattern in the postbuckling range.
Fig. 6-19 Simply supported square plate subjected to uniaxial force
Assumptions
1. All edges remain straight and maintain the original 90 degrees.
2. The shearing forces, ( )
xy yx
N N
vanish on all four edges.
3. The edges,
0, y a
are free to move in the y-direction.

0
1
a
x avg x
N dy
at

(a)
hence,
x avg

is positive when
x
N
is in compression.
x
N
is assumed to vary as a result of large
displacement in the postbuckling range. The plate boundary conditions are
2 2
2 2
0 at 0, and 0 at 0,
w w
w x a w y a
x y



Assume
a
a
x
y
x
N
x
N
33
sin sin
x y
w f
a a

(b)
Substituting equation (b) into Eq. (6-45), gives
4 4 4 4
2 2 2 2 2
4 2 2 4 4
4
2
4
2 cos cos sin sin
2 2
cos cos
2
F F F E x y x y
f
x x y y a a a a a
E x y
f
a a a


_
+ +


,
_
+

,
(c)
Let the solution of equation (c) be
t h p
F F F +
. The implication of the homogeneous solution is
that the right hand side of equation (c) is equal to zero. That is the transverse deflection of the
plate is either zero or negligibly small in the state just prior to buckling. At this state,
x
N
is
constant at any point of the plate.
2
2
2 x h
F
N t F Ay
y

2
2
2
2
xavg
x
xavg xavg h
y
N F
F
t y



(d)
Assume
2 2
cos cos
p
x y
F B C
a a

+
4 4 4 4 4
4 4 4 4 2 2
16 2 16 2
cos , cos , 0
F x F y F
B C
x a a y a a x y



Upon substituting into equation (c), yields
4 4 2
2
4 4
16 2 2
cos cos
2 32
x E x Ef
B f B C
a a a a


Hence, the total solution is
2
2
2 2
cos cos
32 2
xavg
t
y
Ef x y
F
a a

_
+

,
(e)
34
To determine the coefficient,
f
, use the Galerkin method.
( ) ( )
0 0
, 0
a a
Q f g x y dxdy

(f)
where
( )
4 4 4 2 2 2 2 2 2
4 2 2 4 2 2 2 2
2 2
w w w t F w F w F w
Q f
x x y y D y x x y x y x y
_
+ + +


,
( ) , sin sin
x y
g x y
a a

Using (b) for w and (e) for F, one can write ( ) Q f


as
( )
4 3 4 2
4 4 2
1 4 2 2
cos cos sin sin
8
xavg
fD Etf x y x y
Q f tf
D a a a a a a a

1
_
+
1
,
]
Hence, the Galerkin equation takes the following form:
4 2
2 2
4 2
3 4 0 0
2 2 2 2
4
4
sin sin
1
2 2
cos sin sin cos sin sin
8
xavg
a a
fD x y
tf
a a a a
dxdy
D
Etf x x y y x y
a a a a a a a


1 _
_

1
,
,
1
1
_
1 +

1
, ]

Recall
2 2
2 2
0 0 0
2 1 2 2
cos sin cos cos
2
2 2 2
cos , sin , cos 0
2 2
a a a
x x x x
a a a a
x a x a x
dx dx dx
a a a


_


,


4 2 2 3 4
2 2
4 2 4
0 0
4 2 2
cos sin cos sin 0
4 8 2
a a
xavg
fD a Etf a x x y y
tf dx dy
a a a a a a a

_
_
+

,
,

4 2 3 4
2 2
0
4 32
xavg
fD Etf
tf
a a

+
( )
2 2 2 2 2 2
2
2 2 2 2
4 8
8 8
xavg cr xavg cr
D E f E f a
f
ta a a E

+ +
35
Fig. 6-20 shows the variation of
xavg

.
Fig. 6-20 Postbuckling stress
Recall equation (e)
2
2
2 2
cos cos
32 2
xavg
t
y
Ef x y
F
a a

_
+

,
and
( )
2 2 2 2 2
2 2 2 2
2 2 8
cos cos
8 8
x
x xavg xavg xavg cr
N F E f y E y a
t y a a a a E

+ +

Hence,
( )
2
cos
x xavg xavg cr
y
a

+
In a similar manner,
( )
2 2 2 2 2
2 2 2 2
2 2 8
cos cos
8 8
y
y xavg cr
N
F E f x E x a
t x a a a a E

Hence,
( )
2
cos
y xavg cr
x
a


Fig. 6-21 shows the variation of
x

and
y

.
f
Parabolic
xa

36
Fig. 6-21 Effective width concept
As can be seen from Fig. 6-21, the tensile stress,
y

, developed in the middle of the plate is


believed to be the source of the postbuckling strength. Also, the degree of the uneven stress
distribution,
x

, in the postbuckling stage, could be reflected in the determination of the effective


width of thin plates in compression.
It should be noted that the postbuckling strength discussed above is due to the geometric
nonlinearity. As can be seen from Fig. 6-20, any significant postbuckling (reserve) strength can
only be recognized after a considerable deformation. Therefore, in most design specifications
dealing with hot rolled structural plates subjected to inplane compression, the postbuckling
strength is not recognized whereas it is recognized in the design of cold-formed structures. One
exception to this practice is found in web panels of plate girders, where the postbuckling strength
is due to a combination of the geometric and material nonlinearity. Yoo and Lee (Yoo. C.H., and
Lee, S.C., Mechanics of Web Panel Postbuckling Behavior in Shear, J. Structural Engineering,
ASCE, Vol. 132, No. 10, October 2006, pp. 1580-1589) and Lee et al. (1Lee, Sung C., Yoo,
C.H., and Yoon, D.Y., New Design Rule for Intermediate Transverse Stiffeners Attached on
x

e
b
e
b
37
Web Panels, Journal of Structural Engineering, ASCE, Vol. 129, No. 12, December 2003, pp.
1607-1614.) provides a new theory and procedures in the design of transverse intermediate
vertical stiffeners consolidating partially correct existing theories.
Example:
A square plate of dimension a is simply supported on all four boundaries. The plate is
subjected to a uniformly distributed compressive load on four sides as shown in Fig. 6-22. Using
the differential equation method discussed, determine the critical load.
Fig. 6-22 Square plate subjected to load on four sides
Solution
The governing differential equation of the problem may be written as per Eq. (6-13) as
4 4 4 2 2
4 2 2 4 2 2
2 0
w w w w w
D N
x x y y x y
_ _
+ + + +


, ,
Assume the displacement field function w to be
1 1
sin sin with , 1, 2, 3 . .
mn
m n
m x n y
w A m n
a a


a
a
x
y
N
N
N
N
S.S.
S.S.
S.S.
S.S.
38
The assumed function satisfies the geometric and natural boundary conditions. According to
Vlasovs observation, the assumed function is indeed the correct solution to the differential
equation. Substitution of the appropriate derivatives of the assumed solution function, w, into
the differential equation leads to
( )
4 4 2 2 4 4 4 2
2 2
4 4 4 2
1 1
2 sin sin 0
mn
m n
m m n n N m x n y
A m n
a a a Da a a


1
+ + +
1
]

Since the sum of an infinite number of independent functions cannot be equal to zero, the only
way to satisfy the above equation to be zero is if the coefficient of every one of the terms is equal
to zero. Thus
( )
4 4 2 2 4 4 4 2
2 2
4 4 4 2
2 0
mn
m m n n N
A m n
a a a Da
1
+ + +
1
]
0
mn
A
for nontrivial solution. Hence the expression in the brackets must be equal to zero.
Thus
( ) ( ) ( )
4 2 2
2
2 2 2 2 2 2
4 2 2
0
N D
m n m n N m n
a Da a
1
+ + +
1
]
Obviously, the smallest critical load is obtained for m=1 and n=1. Hence
2
2
2
cr
D
N
a

Consider a square plate of dimension "a" subjected to


x
N
. The boundary condition perpendicular
to
x
N
is changed to pinned (immovable). Due to the effect of Poisson's ratio,
0.3
, forces are
induced in the y-direction equal to
y x
N N
. Determine the critical load,
x cr
N
.
Solution
The governing differential equation of the problem may be written as per Eq. (6-13) as
39
( )
4 4 4 2 2
4 2 2 4 2 2
2 0.3 0
w w w w w
D N
x x y y x y
_ 1
+ + + +
1

, ]
Assume the displacement field function w to be
1 1
sin sin with , 1, 2, 3 . .
mn
m n
m x n y
w A m n
a a


The assumed function satisfies the geometric and natural boundary conditions. According to
Vlasovs observation, the assumed function is indeed the correct solution to the differential
equation. Substitution of the appropriate derivatives of the assumed solution function, w, into
the differential equation leads to
( )
4 4 2 2 4 4 4 2
2 2
4 4 4 2
1 1
2 0.3 sin sin 0
mn
m n
m m n n N m x n y
A m n
a a a Da a a


1
+ + +
1
]

Since the sum of an infinite number of independent functions cannot be equal to zero, the only
way to satisfy the above equation to be zero is if the coefficient of every one of the terms is equal
to zero. Thus
( )
4 4 2 2 4 4 4 2
2 2
4 4 4 2
2 0.3 0
mn
m m n n N
A m n
a a a Da
1
+ + +
1
]
0
mn
A
for nontrivial solution. Hence the expression in the brackets must be equal to zero.
Thus
( ) ( ) ( ) ( )
4 2 2
2 2
2 2 2 2 2 2 2 2
4 2 2
0.3 0 / 0.3
N D
m n m n N m n m n
a Da a
1
+ + + +
1
]
Obviously, the smallest critical load is obtained for m=1 and n=1. Hence
2
2
3.077
cr
D
N
a

Example:
40
A square plate of dimension a is simply supported on all four boundaries. The plate is
subjected to a linearly varying compressive load,
x
N
, as shown in Fig. 6-23. Using the energy
method discussed, determine the critical load.
Solution
As per Eq. (6-28), the strain energy of the deformed square plate is
Fig. 6-23 Linearly varying load

( )
2 2 2
2 2 2 2 2
2 2 2 2
0 0
2 2 1
2
a a
D w w w w w
U dxdy
x y x y x y

1
_ _ _
+ + + 1


1 , , ,
]

The geometric boundary conditions are:
2
2
2
2
0 at 0,
sin sin
0 at 0,
w
w x a
x y x
w A
a a w
w y a
y






;


meets bcs
w A x y
cos sin
x a a a

,
w A x y
sin cos
y a a a

2 2
2 2
w A x y
sin sin
x a a a

,
2 2
2 2
w A x y
sin sin
y a a a

a
x
y
0
N
S.S
S.S. S.S.
S.S.
0
N
41
2 2
2
w A x y
cos cos
x y a a a


Substituting the above derivatives into Eq. (6-28), leads to
( )
2 2
4 2
2 2
4
0 0
2 2
2sin sin
2 sin sin
2
2 1 cos cos
a a
x y
a a
D A x y
U dxdy
a a a
x y
a a

1
1
1
1
+
1
1
1
+
1
]

Making use of the following definite integrals, the strain energy becomes
2 2
0 0
0 0
sin , cos
2 2
,
sin 0, cos 0
x x
dx dx
x x
dx dx








: any integer
4 2
2
2
D A
U
a

The loss of potential energy of externally applied load due to shortening of the plate element is
( )
2 2
0 0 0
1
2 2
a a a
x
x
N w w
dV N dy dx V dy dx
x x
1
_ _

1


, ,
1
]

2 2 2 2
2 2 2 0
0 2
0 0 0
1
1 cos sin 1 sin
2 4
a a a
A N y A x y y y
V N dy dx dy
a a a a a a a
_
_ _


, ,
,

Know (from Math Tables or Maple

, etc.)
2
2
0
sin
4
a
y a
y dy
a

this yields upon integration,


2 2 2 2
0 0
4 2 4 16
A N A N a a
V
a

_


,
42
2 2 4 2
0
2
2 16
N A D A
U V
a

+
2 4
0
2
0 0
8
N A d D A
dA a

, since 0 A
2
2
8
xcr
D
N
a

an upper bound solution


Using an infinite series for the deflection (
m=1 1
w= sin sin
mn
n
m x n y
a
a a

), Timoshenko and Gere


(Theory of Elastic Stability, McGraw-Hill, 1961, pp. 377) obtained
2
2
7.8
xcr
D
N
a

.
The followings are Maple

commands to evaluate U and V above:


restart:
with (student):
eq:=A*sin(Pi*x/a)*sin(Pi*y/a);
dwx2:=diff(eq,x,x);
dwy2:=diff(eq,y,y);
dwxy:=diff(eq,x,y);
func:=dwx2^2+dwy2^2+2*mu*dwx2*dwy2+2*(1-mu)*dwxy^2;
i1:=Doubleint(func,x=0..a,y=0..a);
v1:=value(i1);
U:=D/2*v1;
dwx:=diff(eq,x);
v1:=-1/2*N0*(Doubleint((1-y/a)*dwx^2,x=0..a,y=0..a);
V=value(v1);
43
Example:
A square plate of dimension a is simply supported on edges parallel to the uniformly
distributed load,
x
N
, and fixed on edges perpendicular to the load. Using the energy method
discussed, determine the critical load.
Fig. 6-24 Square plate with simple-fixed boundaries
Solution
As per Eq. (6-28), the strain energy of the deformed square plate is
( )
2 2 2
2 2 2 2 2
2 2 2 2
0 0
2 2 1
2
a a
D w w w w w
U dxdy
x y x y x y

1
_ _ _
+ + + 1


1 , , ,
]

The geometric boundary conditions are:
2
2
0 at 0,
0 at 0,
w
w x a
x
w
w y a
y




;




Assume a four-term displacement function
a
a
x
y
x
N
x
N
Fxd.
S.S. S.S.
Fxd.
44
11 12
21 22
2 4
sin 1 cos sin 1 cos
2 2 2 4
sin 1 cos sin 1 cos
x y x y
w A A
a a a a
x y x y
A A
a a a a


_ _
+

, ,
_ _
+ +

, ,
Making use of Maple

, the strain energy becomes


( )
4
2 2 2 2
11 12 21 22 11 12 21 22 2
27 291 96 432 4 64
8
D
U A A A A A A A A
a

+ + + + +
Making use of Maple

, the loss of energy of applied load becomes


( )
2
2 2 2 2
11 12 21 22 11 12 21 22
3 3 12 12 4 16
8
N
V A A A A A A A A

+ + + + +
( )
( )
4
2 2 2 2
11 12 21 22 11 12 21 22 2
2
2 2 2 2
11 12 21 22 11 12 21 22
27 291 96 432 4 64
8
3 3 12 12 4 16
8
D
U V A A A A A A A A
a
N
A A A A A A A A

+ + + + + +
+ + + + +
( ) ( )
4 2
11 12 11 12 2
11
54 4 3 2 0
8 4
D N
A A A A
A a

+ +

( ) ( )
4 2
12 11 12 11 2
12
582 4 3 2 0
8 4
D N
A A A A
A a

+ +

( ) ( )
4 2
21 22 21 22 2
21
192 64 12 8 0
8 4
D N
A A A A
A a

+ +

( ) ( )
4 2
22 21 22 21 2
22
864 64 12 8 0
8 4
D N
A A A A
A a

+ +

45
2 2
2 2
2 2
2 2
2 2
2 2
2 2
2 2
27 2
3 2 0 0
2 291
2 3 0 0
0
96 32
0 0 12 8
32 432
0 0 8 12
D D
N N
a a
D D
N N
a a
D D
N N
a a
D D
N N
a a







Expanding, gives
( ) ( )
2 4 2 2 2 4 2 4 2 2 2 4
2528 364 5 7853 946 5 0 D D Na N a D D Na N a + +
Solving for N, yields
2
2
7.78
cr
D
N
a

The coefficient is reduced to 7.78 from 9.0 by using a four-term displacement function (instead
of one).
Using an infinite series for the deflection (
m=1 1
2
w= sin 1 cos
mn
n
m x n y
a
a a

), Timoshenko
and Gere (Theory of Elastic Stability, McGraw-Hill, 1961, pp. 367) obtained
2
2
7.69
xcr
D
N
a

.
Example:
A square plate of dimension a is simply supported on all four boundaries. The plate is
subjected to a linearly varying compressive load,
x
N
, as shown in Fig. 6-25. Using the energy
method discussed, determine the critical load.
Solution
As per Eq. (6-28), the strain energy of the deformed square plate is
46
Fig. 6-25 Square plate subjected to stresses due to bending and axial force
( )
2 2 2
2 2 2 2 2
2 2 2 2
0 0
2 2 1
2
a a
D w w w w w
U dxdy
x y x y x y

1
_ _ _
+ + + 1


1 , , ,
]

The geometric boundary conditions are:
2
2
2
2
0 at 0,
sin sin
0 at 0,
w
w x a
x y x
w A
a a w
w y a
y






;


meets bcs (one-termRayleigh method, two
or more-termRayleigh Ritz method)
cos sin
w A x y
x a a a

,
sin cos
w A x y
y a a a

2 2
2 2
sin sin
w A x y
x a a a

,
2 2
2 2
sin sin
w A x y
y a a a

2 2
2
cos cos
w A x y
x y a a a


Substituting the above derivatives into Eq. (6-28), leads to
x
0
N
0
1
2
N
3
a
S.S.
S.S.
S.S.
S.S.
0
3
1
2
x
y
N N
a
_


,
47
y
a
2
3
a
( )
2 2
4 2
2 2
4
0 0
2 2
2sin sin
2 sin sin
2
2 1 cos cos
a a
x y
a a
D A x y
U dxdy
a a a
x y
a a

1
1
1
1
+
1
1
1
+
1
]

Making use of the following definite integrals, the strain energy becomes
2 2
0 0
0 0
sin , cos
2 2
,
sin 0, cos 0
x x
dx dx
x x
dx dx








: any integer
4 2
2
2
D A
U
a

The loss of potential energy of externally applied load due to shortening of the plate element is
( )
2 2
0 0 0
1
2 2
a a a
x
x
N w w
dV N dy dx V dy dx
x x
1
_ _

1


, ,
1
]

2 2 2 2
2 2 2 0
0 2
0 0 0
1 3 3
1 cos sin 1 sin
2 2 4 2
a a a
A N y A x y y y
V N dy dx dy
a a a a a a a
_
_ _


, ,
,

From Maple

,
2 2
0
32
A N
V


2 2 4 2
0
2
2 32
N A D A
U V
a

+
2 4
0
2
0 0
16
N A d D A
dA a

, since 0 A
2
2
16
xcr
D
N
a

an upper bound solution
48
This solution can be improved by assuming a four-term displacement function as was done
before.
11 12 21 22
2 2 2 2
sin sin sin sin sin sin sin sin
x y x y x y x y
w A A A A
a a a a a a a a

+ + +
Using Maple

, the strain energy stored is given by


( )
4
2 2 2 2
11 12 21 22 2
4 25 25 64
8
D
U A A A A
a

+ + +
Using Maple

, the loss of potential energy of the applied load is


2 2 2 2
2 2 2 2
11 12 21 22 11 12 21 22
4 16
2 16 16 4 4 3 3
N
V A A A A A A A A
_
+ + + + +

,
( )
4
2 2 2 2
11 12 21 22 2
2 2 2 2
2 2 2 2
11 12 21 22 11 12 21 22
4 25 25 64
8
4 16

2 16 16 4 4 3 3
D
U V A A A A
a
N
A A A A A A A A


+ + + +
_
+ + + + +

,
4 2
11 12 2
11
2
0
16 3
D N N
A A
A a
_

,
4 2
11 12 2
12
2 25
0
3 4 16
N D N
A A
A a
_
+

,
4 2
21 22 2
21
25 8
0
4 4 3
D N N
A A
A a
_

,
4 2
21 22 2
22
8 16
0
3 4
D N
A A
A a
_
+

,
49
4 2
2
4 2
2
4 2
2
4 2
2
2
0 0
16 3
2 25
0 0
3 4 16
0
25 8
0 0
4 4 3
8 16
0 0
3 4
D N N
a
N D N
a
D N N
a
N D N
a







Expanding, gives
( )
( )
2 8 4 2 4 2
2 8 6 2 4 4 2
14400 801 1015
14400 1044 9 1024 0
D D a N a N
D Da N a N


+ +
1
+
]
The solution of the bracket expression, yields
2 2
2 2 2
133.516 13.528 16
= cf
cr
D D D
N
a a a
_


,
Consider a two-term displacement function such that
2
sin sin sin sin
x y x y
w A B
a a a a

+
The critical load computed from the assumed displacement function yields exactly the same
value as that obtained from a four-term function as shown in the Maple

printout. This indicates


that the square plate buckles in a mode shape having a half sine wave with respect to the x axis
and a full sine wave with respect to the y axis.
Galerkins Method
It has been shown that Galerkins method is another approximate method available when the
governing differential equation for the problem is available. In this case, the governing
differential equation of the problem is
50
4 4 4 2
4 2 2 4 2
2 0
x
w w w w
D N
x x y y x
_
+ + +


,
Assume an approximate displacement function such that
( ) , sin sin with i=1
approx i i
x y
w c g x y c
a a

and ( )
1
,
n
i i
i
c g x y

The differential operator is


4 4 4 2
4 2 2 4 2
2
x
Q D D N
x x y y x
1 _
+ + +
1

, ]
The Galerkin equation becomes
( )
0 0
0
a a
Q dxdy

Since

is a function of n parameters,
i
c
,
1 2 1 1 2 2
1
1 2
. . . .
n
i i
i
c c g c g c g c
c c


+ + + +


( ) ( )
0 0
1
, 0
n
a a
i i
i
Q g x y c dxdy


Since it has been assumed that ( ) ,
i
g x y
are assumed independent of each other, the only way to
hold the above equation is that each integral of the above equation mush vanish, i.e.,
( ) ( )
0 0
, 0 for =1,2, . . ,
a a
i i
Q g x y c dxdy i n

Since
i
c
are arbitrary, hence
0
i
c
.
( ) ( )
0 0
, 0 for =1,2, . . ,
a a
i
Q g x y dxdy i n

4 2
0
0 0
3
4 sin sin 1 sin sin sin sin
2
a a
x y y x y x y
cD cN dxdy
a a a a a a a a a

1
_ _ _

1 ' ;

, , ,
1
]

51
4 2 2
2 4
0
0 2
4 0
2 2 8 16
N a a a D
cD c N c
a a a
_
_ _ _ _ _


, , , , ,
,
2
2
16
the same result as before for one-term displacement function
cr
D
N
a


Problems 6.5 and 6.6, Chajes
Using the energy method, determine the critical load for the one-degree-of-freedom model of a
flat plate shown in Fig. 6-26. The model consists of four rigid bars pin connected to each other
and to the supports. At the center of the model two linear rotational springs of stiffness
/ C M connect opposite bars to each other. Also, each of the two transverse bars contains a
linear extensional springs of stiffness K. For small lateral deflections the energy in the
extensional springs can be neglected. (
4 /
cr
P C a
)
Fig. 6-26
Using the same model, obtain and plot relationships for the load P versus the lateral deflection d
when
(a) the lateral deflection is large,
52
(b) the lateral deflection is large and the loads are applied eccentrically to the plane of the
undeformed model.
Which fundamental buckling characteristics of an actual plate are demonstrated by these models?
(Note: for large deflections the energy in the extensional springs must be considered.)
53