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J.G. Teng and J.M. Rotter

(in-plane) prebuckling stress distribution. It is almost universally referred to as the classical elastic buckling stress. Early tests (Robertson 1929; Flugge 1932; Lundquist 1933; Wilson and Newmark 1933) indicated that real cylinders buckle at much lower loads, with experimental values even below 30% of the classical load being common. Moreover, the test strengths were found to be very scattered, even when great care was taken with the testing. The search for the reasons for this major discrepancy led to an enormous amount of research in the following decades. Similar discrepancies are found for externally pressurised spherical shells, but cylinders under other loading conditions and shells of other geometries display the same behaviour in less marked form. However, because of its economic importance, high sensitivity to geometric imperfections and simplicity of testing, the axially compressed cylinder has been studied more extensively than any other shell buckling problem. The big discrepancy between the experimental and simple theoretical strengths has commonly been attributed to one of four factors: 1 2 3 4 prebuckling deformations and their associated changes in stress, boundary conditions, eccentricities and non-uniformities in the applied load or support, and geometric imperfections and associated residual stresses.

Whilst the effects of each of these factors has been investigated for many shell buckling problems, their effects are briey outlined here for axially compressed isotropic and stringer-stiffened cylinders. The outline provides a brief glimpse of the development of ideas on thin-shell buckling and indicates the boundary of current knowledge. Axially compressed isotropic cylinders Introduction Most shell buckling research has, in the past, concentrated on simple uniform loads. These are load cases that, in principle, produce a constant membrane prebuckling stress state throughout the shell. They include axial compression, external pressure, torsion and their combinations. The following historical description therefore relates principally to these conditions: more realistic loading conditions are discussed later in the chapter. It is probably fair to say that the foundations of shell stability theory were almost all laid in the study of cylinders under uniform axial compression, so this topic provides a useful starting point. A much fuller description of the different phenomena is given in Chapter 2. Prebuckling stresses and nonlinear changes before buckling The classical linear buckling theory assumes that the state of stress before buckling is perfectly uniform and consists of membrane stresses alone. In the case of