Europhys. Lett.
Volume 69, Number 6, March 2005
Page(s) 952 - 958
Section Electromagnetism, optics, acoustics, heat transfer, classical mechanics, and fluid dynamics
Published online 18 February 2005
Europhys. Lett., 69 (6), pp. 952-958 (2005)
DOI: 10.1209/epl/i2004-10442-8

Buckling cascade of free-standing mesoscopic beams

S. M. Carr, W. E. Lawrence and M. N. Wybourne

Department of Physics and Astronomy, Dartmouth College - Hanover, NH 03755, USA

received 30 June 2004; accepted in final form 20 January 2005
published online 18 February 2005

We have observed a striking change in the static equilibrium shape of free-standing mesoscopic buckled beams as a function of the length-to-width aspect ratio. At low values of the aspect ratio the shape is well described by classical Euler buckling. At higher values the buckled shapes become more complex and are well described by a superposition of buckling modes. The data are consistent with a mode-coefficient sum rule obtained from a nonlinear elastic field theory. Further, for beams of low aspect ratio the theory can predict the equilibrium shape of the buckling, while at high aspect ratios the lower bound on the buckling shape function is obtained.

46.32.+x - Static buckling and instability.
46.70.-p - Application of continuum mechanics to structures.
68.65.-k - Low-dimensional, mesoscopic, and nanoscale systems: structure and nonelectronic properties.

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