The Euler–Lagrange equations and the associated boundary conditions have been derived for an inextensible beam undergoing large deflections. The inextensibility constraint between axial and transverse deflection is considered via two alternative approaches based upon Hamilton's principle, which have been proved to yield equivalent results. In one approach, the constraint has been appended to the system Lagrangian via a Lagrange multiplier, while in the other approach the axial deflection has been expressed in terms of the transverse deflection, and the equation of motion for the transverse deflection has been determined directly. Boundary conditions for a cantilevered beam and a free–free beam have been considered and allow for explicit results for each system's equations of motion. Finally, the Lagrange multiplier approach has been extended to equations of motion of cantilevered and free–free plates.

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