Web handling is germane to a diverse set of industries, including paper, polymer, textile, and sheet metal processing. Angular misalignment of the guides used to position a web in its transport system generates non-uniform in-plane forces that can result in transverse buckling of the web, even for misalignments as small as a fraction of a degree. In this paper, the state of stress, the associated in-plane deformation, out-of-plane vibration, and stability of webs with misaligned guides are investigated experimentally and theoretically. The onset of edge buckling, in which transverse corrugations are present along an entire free edge or are localized near a guide, is governed by the stability of a relatively high mode of the nominally aligned web. Two models of common web transport components—termed “free sliding” and “edge guided” —are developed and discussed in the light of laboratory measurements for predicting and bounding critical buckling angles.

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