Buckling of Shells: An Old Idea with a New Twist

by John Roorda, Assoc. Prof.; Solid Mechanics Div., Univ. of Waterloo, Waterloo, Canada,

Serial Information: Journal of the Engineering Mechanics Division, 1972, Vol. 98, Issue 3, Pg. 531-538

Document Type: Journal Paper


The erratic buckling behavior of cylindrical shells in axial compression is analyzed using the concept of equivalent imperfections. It is postulated that the sum of all departures from perfection in a real shell can be replaced by a hypothetical axisymmetric imperfection in a corresponding shell of infinite length. The equivalent imperfect is treated as a random variable with a normal distribution whose mean and variance are assumed to be directly proportional to the shell radius to thickness ratio. This leads to a design formula which is compared with the results of some 360 cylinder buckling experiments published elsewhere. An appropriate choice of proportionality constants yields a curve which gives a good lower bound on the experimental buckling loads over the whole range of radius to thickness ratios. An analogy is drawn between the Perry-Robertson strut formula and the one proposed here for cylinders.

Subject Headings: Buckling | Thickness | Cylinders | Structural behavior | Cylindrical shells | Compressive strength | Axisymmetry | Curvature

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