Intro to Structural Instabilities — Lesson 1

Structural instability is an important factor to consider in engineering and daily life. It begins as early as a baby trying to stand and take their first steps.


Have you ever wondered why helicopters have a tail rotor? Its purpose is to prevent the helicopter from rotating in the direction opposite to the rotation of the main rotor blades due to Newton's Third Law of Motion. In other words, the purpose of the tail rotor is to stabilize the helicopter.


If you have played a Jenga game, you would have noticed that moving some blocks can cause the collapse of the whole structure. In this lesson, we introduce the concept of structural instability and what causes it. Let's get started!


Alternate video link.



Here are the accompanying handout slides for this lesson.