On the Buckling of Elastic Rings by External Confinement

Research output: Contribution to journalArticle


We report the results of an experimental and
numerical investigation into the buckling of thin
elastic rings confined within containers of circular or
regular polygonal cross section. The rings float on the
surface of water held in the container and controlled
removal of the fluid increases the confinement of
the ring. The increased compressive forces can cause
the ring to buckle into a variety of shapes. For the
circular container finite perturbations are required to
induce buckling, whereas in polygonal containers the
buckling occurs through a linear instability that is
closely related to the canonical Euler column buckling.
A model based on Kirchhoff–Love beam theory is
developed and solved numerically, showing good
agreement with the experiments and revealing that in
polygons increasing the number of sides means that
buckling occurs at reduced levels of confinement.

Bibliographical metadata

Original languageEnglish
JournalRoyal Society of London. Proceedings A. Mathematical, Physical and Engineering Sciences
Issue number2093
Early online date3 Apr 2017
StatePublished - 13 May 2017