The paper is concerned with the problem of buckling of finite columns with initial imperfections, resting on a “softening” nonlinear elastic foundation. The approach is probabilistic. The initial imperfections are assumed to be Gaussian random fields with given mean and autocorrelation functions, and the problem is solved by the Monte Carlo Method. For each realization of the initial imperfection function, the buckling load was found through transformation of the two-point nonlinear boundary-value problem into an initial-value problem and results were used in constructing the empirical reliability function at the specified load (relative number of columns with buckling loads exceeding this specified load). Numerous results are presented with regard to the influence of the parameters of the columns on their imperfection sensitivity.

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