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Three types of equilibrium branching behavior

The bifurcation point (small circle in each panel) lies on the primary nonlinear equilibrium path. (It represents the same state in each of the three panels, a,b,c. The solid curves represent stable equilibrium; the dashed curves represent unstable equilibrium.

Lambda represents load
Q represents generalized displacement

From:

Thompson, J. M. T., “Dynamic buckling under step loading”. In Dynamic stability of structures, Proc. of an International Conference, Northwestern Univ., Evanston, Illinois, Pergamon Press, 1965

ABSTRACT: (cannot cut and paste it)

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