This lesson covers the fundamental concepts of elastic stability of structures, focusing on the phenomenon of buckling. It explains the basic approaches for estimating the critical load of structural elements and discusses different types of buckling. The lesson uses the example of a simply supported column to illustrate these concepts. It also delves into the importance of understanding structural stability for engineers, highlighting the catastrophic consequences of instability failures, such as the collapse of the Quebec bridge. The lesson further explains the characteristics of equilibrium and the concept of critical load. It concludes by discussing various methods to calculate the critical load, including the equilibrium approach, energy approach, imperfection approach, and dynamic approach.

- Buckling is a phenomenon where a structural element becomes unstable under certain loading conditions.
- The critical load is the load at which the equilibrium of a structure changes from stable to neutral, leading to instability.
- Understanding the characteristics of equilibrium (stable, neutral, and unstable) is crucial in structural engineering.
- Various methods can be used to calculate the critical load of a structural element, including equilibrium, energy, imperfection, and dynamic approaches.
- The equilibrium approach involves writing the equilibrium equation in a bent configuration and solving the resulting eigenvalue problem.

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