Stable Spatially Localized Configurations in a Simple Structure—A Global Symmetry-Breaking Approach

Shrinidhi S. Pandurangi, Ryan S. Elliott, Timothy J. Healey, Nicolas Triantafyllidis

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

4 Scopus citations


We revisit the classic stability problem of the buckling of an inextensible, axially compressed beam on a nonlinear elastic foundation with a semi-analytical approach to understand how spatially localized deformation solutions emerge in many applications in mechanics. Instead of a numerical search for such solutions using arbitrary imperfections, we propose a systematic search using branch-following and bifurcation techniques along with group-theoretic methods to find all the bifurcated solution orbits (primary, secondary, etc.) of the system and to examine their stability and hence their observability. Unlike previously proposed methods that use multi-scale perturbation techniques near the critical load, we show that to obtain a spatially localized deformation equilibrium path for the perfect structure, one has to consider the secondary bifurcating path with the longest wavelength and follow it far away from the critical load. The novel use of group-theoretic methods here illustrates a general methodology for the systematic analysis of structures with a high degree of symmetry.

Original languageEnglish (US)
Pages (from-to)163-199
Number of pages37
JournalJournal of Elasticity
Issue number1
StatePublished - Nov 1 2020

Bibliographical note

Funding Information:
All authors would acknowledge support from the École Polytechnique and its Laboratore de Mécanique des Solides (LMS). The work was initiated in part by grants from École Polytechnique and the C.N.R.S. (Centre National de Recherche Scientifique) during the AY 2017-2018, while TJH was a Distinguished Visiting Professor and SSP a visiting doctoral student. RSE acknowledges several visits to LMS during this period supported by the LMS. The work of SSP and TJH was also supported in part by the National Science Foundation (NSF) through grant DMS-1613753. The work of RSE was also partially supported by the NSF grant CMMI-1462826.

Publisher Copyright:
© 2020, Springer Nature B.V.


  • Bifurcation
  • Energy methods
  • Localization
  • Nonlinear elasticity
  • Symmetry


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