Buckling analysis evaluates the stability of a structure under compressive loading conditions. A weight lifting system under compressive loads will be required to check the stability of the structure.

The buckling analysis in FE analysis is linear buckling analysis. A static structural analysis must be carried out first then followed by a linear buckling analysis. The results from a linear buckling analysis are buckling load factors, which are scales of the loads applied in the static structural analysis. The buckling failure will occur in the structure when this scale of static loading is achieved. A structure has infinite number of buckling load factors. Similar to modal analysis, each load factor is associated with a different instability pattern. However, the lowest load factor is of interest to most of us.

If there are more than one load and some of them are constant (self-weight) and other loads are variable (externally applied loads), a series buckling analyses will be needed to find out the limit of the external loads before buckling.

In Buckling Mode Analysis, shape displays are helpful information in understanding how the structure deforms when buckling. This information will give a guide on how to strengthen the structure if necessary. However, the displacements of the structure do not represent actual values.

It is important to note that the load factor from linear buckling analysis is a theoretical result. The factors such as material imperfection, non-linearity (large deformation) may lead to buckling occur earlier than predicted loading conditions. Sufficient safety margin should be considered when evaluating the result of linear buckling analysis.

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