The effects of friction and curvature on buckling, post-buckling, and unbuckling behavior of rods laterally constrained within an enclosure are studied experimentally. The experimental apparatus, measurement procedures, and uncertainty analysis are described. Results indicate that friction significantly delays the onset of buckling, and causes noticeable hysteresis in the post-buckling behavior. As a result, the unbuckling loads are always less than the corresponding buckling loads. The drag-related loss, which eventually leads to lock-up, is also measured and reported in this work. Friction is also a cause of post-buckling snapping and reversals in the direction of wrap of the helix. As expected, the effects of friction become less significant as the inclination decreases. It is shown that predictions of current theory agree with experimentally measured unbuckling rather than buckling loads. When friction is significant, current theory underestimates the compressive loads at which buckling occurs in straight or curved wellbores. Ignoring friction or curvature limits the estimated weight on bit well below the safe load that can be used in many drilling and completion operations in extended reach or horizontal wells. Moreover, the hysteresis effect of friction means that once buckling has occurred, the compressive loads must be reduced to values much below the buckling initiation loads to fully straighten the buckled pipe.

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