The lateral response of a slightly curved viscoelastic column subjected to a periodic axial load P0 + P1 cos ωt is investigated. The analysis makes use of the complex modulus representation for linear viscoelastic materials. It is shown that the lateral vibrations stemming from imperfections can be of significant amplitude. Experimentally determined amplitude-frequency curves for a polymethyl methacrylate (Plexiglas) column are presented, and are found to be in excellent agreement with the theory. It is shown that there is an analogy between the dynamic instability and the static buckling of imperfect columns.

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