Some Thoughts on the Southwell Plot

by John Roorda,

Serial Information: Journal of the Engineering Mechanics Division, 1967, Vol. 93, Issue 6, Pg. 37-48

Document Type: Journal Paper


Since its inception for column buckling problems, the Southwell method has also been used to determine the critical load in frame and plate buckling experiments. Although its use in these cases has been justified in the context of small deflection theory, little is known about the effect that nonlinearities in such structures have upon the Southwell line. The Southwell Plot is examined in relation to the initial post-buckling behavior of the structure. It is found that, depending on the nature of the post-buckling behavior, the Southwell method may under-estimate or overestimate the critical load. Consequently, a knowledge of the post-buckling behavior is essential in the correct interpretation of a Southwell plot. Some experimental results are included.

Subject Headings: Post buckling | Critical loads | Columns | Frames | Plates | Case studies | Structural deflection | Nonlinear analysis

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