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This experiment was carried out to investigate the deflection shape of columns in three different configurations.

The experiment was carried out using aluminium and iron columns. The aluminium and iron columns were tested using fixed-fixed, fixed-free and free-free configurations. Pictures of each type of material undergoing different configurations are posted above. From the pictures, it can be seen that the aluminium and iron columns deflected more when they were subjected to the free-free configuration. The aluminium and iron columns also recorded the smallest critical force during the free-free configuration. This reason for this is that during a free-free configuration, the columns deflect and become unstable due to both ends of the column allowing the column to rotate. This reduces the critical force that causes the column to deflect. Other than that, the aluminium and iron columns tested using the fixed-fixed configuration recorded the highest critical force to cause the columns to deflect. From the pictures, it can also be seen that the aluminium and iron columns under fixed-fixed configuration do not deflect as much as the columns in free-free and fixed-free configuration. The reason that the column in a fixed-fixed configuration recorded the highest critical force is because the ends of the column were in a fixed position which prevented the columns from deflecting under small loads. By comparing the critical forces between Aluminium and Iron, we know that Iron requires a higher critical force to deflect. Its critical force is about 3 to 4 times higher than Aluminium. However, the value of critical force that we calculate is much more higher than that we did in the experiment. This is due to the variation of the Youngs Modulus in different types of Aluminum and Iron. The Youngs modulus that we found from internet is much higher than the actual Youngs modulus of the materials during the experiment. Based on the results obtained from this experiment, it can be concluded that and iron column with a fixed-fixed configuration is the best option for a column that would support a structure. This is because the iron column with a fixed-fixed configuration had the highest critical force of 3.47 x 109 N. This value concludes that the iron column requires a force higher than this value to fail and cause a deflection in the column. While undertaking this experiment, there were a few errors that the group experienced. Few of the common ones are zero error, parallax error and human error. Zero error and human error happened while the loading mechanism was spinned. There are instances when the person who spins the loading mechanism moves his or her hand back, this human error causes the force meter to stick to the previous value and the value stops from increasing. Zero error happens due to the slight accidental spin of the loading mechanism. This causes the load meter to start at slightly more than zero Newton instead of zero.

Parallax error happened while the test specimen was being measured by ruler or vernier callipers. Lack of proper eye-view may have influenced the measurement. The slight bend in the test specimens may have also affected the measurement, especially the value of the length. Besides that, there were a few errors that occurred while clamping the test specimen onto the plate of the strut apparatus. While tuning the test specimen block screw, it was impossible to make sure that the test specimen was clamped exactly 90o to the horizontal plate below. This may influence the value in the force meter for fixed-free column and fixed-fixed column. There was also an uncertainty whether the holder screw was tuned in a way that it perfectly fitted the test specimen onto the holder. If there was a slight slant, then this affects the value in the force meter. The final error can be found in the test specimen itself. Because the modulus of elasticity of both the aluminum and iron specimen is unknown, the group was forced to assume their modulus of elasticity using external references in order to proceed with the calculation. In order to overcome the errors, a few steps or solutions has been or can be taken. To overcome the human error, the strut apparatus must be designed in a way that the loading mechanism spins automatically without human force. To overcome the zero error, the final value in the force meter should be minused with the initial value. To overcome parallax error, 3 readings of the length, width and depth are taken and the average value was calculated. To prevent any form of bend or deformities in the test specimen, the specimen should be well kept away from external forces before the experiment.

To make sure that the test specimen is clamped perfectly 90o to the holder, the strut apparatus should be modified such a way that it doesnt have a screw system to clamp the specimen. This is because screwing causes irregularities as to how well the specimen has fitted in. Lastly, the internal measurements of the test specimens such as the modulus of elasticity should be known before the experiment. This can be done by asking the manufacturers or buying specimens that provides this kind of measurements beforehand.