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Shock and Vibration
Volume 19 (2012), Issue 5, Pages 929-937

Uncertainty in Loading and Control of an Active Column Critical to Buckling

G.C. Enss,1 R. Platz,2 and H. Hanselka1,2

1System Reliability and Machine Acoustics SzM, TU Darmstadt, Darmstadt, Germany
2Fraunhofer Institute for Structural Durability and System Reliability LBF, Darmstadt, Germany

Received 25 April 2012; Accepted 25 April 2012

Copyright © 2012 Hindawi Publishing Corporation. This is an open access article distributed under the Creative Commons Attribution License, which permits unrestricted use, distribution, and reproduction in any medium, provided the original work is properly cited.


Buckling of load-carrying column structures is an important design constraint in light-weight structures as it may result in the collapse of an entire structure. When a column is loaded by an axial compressive load equal to its individual critical buckling load, a critically stable equilibrium occurs. When loaded above its critical buckling load, the passive column may buckle. If the actual loading during usage is not fully known, stability becomes highly uncertain.

This paper presents an approach to control uncertainty in a slender flat column structure critical to buckling by actively stabilising the structure. The active stabilisation is based on controlling the first buckling mode by controlled counteracting lateral forces. This results in a bearable axial compressive load which can be theoretically almost three times higher than the actual critical buckling load of the considered system. Finally, the sensitivity of the presented system will be discussed for the design of an appropriate controller for stabilising the active column.