Compliant Mechanisms (CMs) are used to transfer motion, force and energy, taking advantages of the elastic deforma- tion of the involved compliant members. A branch of spe- cial type of elastic phenomenon called (post) buckling has been widely considered in CMs: avoiding buckling for better payload-bearing capacity and utilizing post-buckling to pro- duce multi-stable states. This paper digs into the essence of beam's bucking and post-bucking behaviors where we start from the famous Euler–Bernoulli beam theory and then ex- tend the mentioned linear theory into geometrically nonlin- ear one to handle multi-mode buckling problems via intro- ducing the concept of bifurcation theory. Five representative beam buckling cases are studied in this paper, followed by detailed theoretical investigations of their post-buckling be- haviors where the multi-state property has been proved. We finally propose a novel type of bi-stable mechanisms termed as Pre-buckled Bi-stable Mechanisms (PBMs) that integrate the features of both rigid and compliant mechanisms. The theoretical insights of PBMs are presented in detail for future studies. To the best of our knowledge, this paper is the first ever study on the theoretical derivation of the kinematic models of PBMs, which could be an important contribution to this field.

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