The stability bound for the classical nonlinear Euler beam is determined in the case that its deflection is limited by an obstacle parallel to the plane of the beam. Let a clamped or simply supported beam be axially compressed by a force P > P0, where P0 denotes the critical load. So far only a linear theory has been applied to analyze the stability of the solutions in contact with the obstacle and the jumping to a different state. Utilizing a free boundary problem formulation we analytically as well as numerically answer these questions for the nonlinear beam.
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