Thin-walled metal tubes are extensively used in aircraft and automobile industries as energy absorbers during collision. When a thin wall tube is subjected to an axial compressive load, lobes are formed sequentially and each lobe undergoes a large plastic deformation without any cracking; this is referred to as progressive buckling. The focus of this paper is to study the displacement and strain fields near the buckled zone of a thin-walled square tube both experimentally and numerically. Quasi-static test was conducted on thin-walled square tubes made of aluminum alloy AA-6063 and the displacement and full-field strain was measured using Digital Image Correlation (DIC) technique. It is noted that while one face of the tube undergoes tensile deformation, the adjacent faces undergo compressive deformation. The strain levels exceed the fracture strain obtained during a tensile test. Strain estimated from DIC was found to be in good agreement with the strain gauge measurements at far field. Further, strain estimations obtained through numerical simulations showed a reasonable agreement with DIC measurements.

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