Stability of a Structural Column under Stochastic Axial Loading
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Columns subjected to time varying axial load may exhibit dynamic instability due to parametric resonance. This type of instability is inherent in structures; it is not due to material or geometrical imperfections, and can occur even in perfectly constructed structures. This characteristic makes parametric resonance a very difficult to predict and therefore dangerous phenomenon. In this thesis the stability of a structural column under bounded noise axial load is studied by use of Lyapunov exponents. Bounded noise is especially useful as a loading because it may be used to represent both wide and narrow band processes, making the stability equations developed general enough to handle a wide variety of real world probabilistic loadings. The equation of motion of the first mode of vibration for this system is a second-order nonlinear stochastic ordinary differential equation. The nonlinearity makes the system exhibit bifurcating behaviour where stability shifts from the trivial solution to a non-zero mean stationary solution. The stability of the trivial and non-trivial solutions is important in obtaining a complete picture of the dynamical behaviour of the system. The effect that damping, the amplitude of noise, and the level of nonlinearity have on the stability of a structural column is studied using both analytical and numerical approaches. The largest Lyapunov exponent of the trivial solution is determined analytically by using time averaged versions of the original equation of motion. The validity of the analytical time averaged equation of motion is also verified with Monte Carlo simulations. Due to the mathematical complexity the largest Lyapunov exponent of the non-trivial stationary solutions is obtained using Monte Carlo simulation only.