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Mode of failure under compression of a structural component that is thin (seeshell structure) or much longer than wide (e.g., post, column, leg bone). Leonhard Euler first worked out in 1757 the theory of why such members buckle. The definition by Thomas Young of the elastic modulus significantly propelled building construction science forward. The elastic theory formed the basis of structural analysis until World War II, when the behaviour of bomb-damaged buildings forced the modification of some of the theory's underlying assumptions. See alsopost-and-beam system.
This entry comes from Encyclopædia Britannica Concise. For the full entry on buckling, visit Britannica.com.