Basic analysis of shell structures


To describe the basic characteristics of pre- and post-buckling shell behaviour and to explain and compare the differences in behaviour with that of plates and bars.


The combined bending and stretching behaviour of shell structures in resisting load is discussed. Their buckling behaviour is also explained and compared with that of struts and plates. The effect of imperfections is examined.


Lecture 8.6 introduced several aspects of the structural behaviour of shells in an essentially qualitative way. Before moving on to consider design procedures for specific applications, it is necessary to gain some understanding of the possible approaches to the analysis of shell response. It should then be possible to appreciate the reasoning behind the actual design procedures covered in Lectures 8.8 and 8.9.

This lecture, therefore, presents the main principles of shell theory that underpin the design methods for unstiffened and stiffened cylinders. Comparisons are drawn with the behaviour of columns and plates previously discussed in Lectures 6.6.1, 6.6.2, and 8.1.

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