Abstract In engineering work, the handling of boundary conditions is not as perfect as required due to the present immaturity of engineering techniques. Hence the actual buckling load of an element is sometimes not consistent with that predicted in the design. For design considerations, the establishment of a method of analysis for determining the buckling load experimentally is necessary. The proposed approach is suitable for all kinds of boundaries, and an axial force is not required in the testing process. In practice, the dynamic parameters determined experimentally are utilized to calculate the buckling load.