Buckling failure load of stainless steel columns under compressive stress was experimentally measured in severe accident conditions, which addresses the accidents in Fukushima Daiichi nuclear power plants. Firstly, buckling failure load defined as load which causes failure of the column (plastic collapse) was measured in a wide range of temperatures from 25 °C up to 1200 °C. The load values measured in this study were compared to numerical estimations by eigenvalue simulations (for an ideal column) and by nonlinear simulations (for a column with initial bending). Two different methods for measurement of the buckling failure load were employed to examine the effect of thermal history on buckling failure. Different load values were obtained from two methods in high temperature conditions over 800 °C. The difference in the buckling failure load between two methods increased with temperature, which was explained by the effect of creep at high temperatures. Moreover, the influence of asymmetric temperature profiles along a plate column was also explored with regard to the failure mode and the buckling failure load. In present study, all of the buckling processes were visualized by a high speed camera.

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