On the static and dynamic stability of beams with an axial piezoelectric actuation

C. Zehetner, H. Irschik

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

20 Citations (Scopus)


The present contribution is concerned with the static and dynamic stability of a piezo-laminated Bernoulli-Euler beam subjected to an axial compressive force. Recently, an inconsistent derivation of the equations of motions of such a smart structural system has been presented in the literature, where it has been claimed, that an axial piezoelectric actuation can be used to control its stability. The main scope of the present paper is to show that this unfortunately is impossible. We present a consistent theory for composite beams in plane bending. Using an exact description of the kinematics of the beam axis, together with the BernoulliEuler assumptions, we obtain a single-layer theory capable of taking into account the effects of piezoelectric actuation and buckling. The assumption of an inextensible beam axis, which is frequently used in the literature, is discussed afterwards. We show that the cited inconsistent beam model is due to inadmissible mixing of the assumptions of an inextensible beam axis and a vanishing axial displacement, leading to the erroneous result that the stability might be enhanced by an axial piezoelectric actuation. Our analytical formulations for simply supported Bernoulli-Euler type beams are verified by means of three-dimensional finite element computations performed with ABAQUS.

Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)67-84
Number of pages18
JournalSmart Structures and Systems
Issue number1
Publication statusPublished - Jan 2008
Externally publishedYes


  • Bernoulli-Euler beam
  • Buckling load
  • Dynamic stability
  • Piezoelectric actuation
  • Smart beam
  • Static stability


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