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98 W. Guggenberger et al.

Two shell slendernesses were investigated: R/tl = 200 with R/t = 300 and R/tl 500 with R/t = 750. The study was pursued by seeking the minimal height required of the lower course hl,min to give the same buckling strength as the value for a uniformly thicker wall (whole shell of thickness tl ). These were geometrically and materially nonlinear analyses (GMNA) without consideration of imperfections. This procedure is relatively quick and yields results that are generally on the safe side (larger hl,min ) and independent of uncertain or ambiguous imperfection assumptions.

Buckling behaviour of an unstiffened cylinder
Example problem An example cylinder is used here to illustrate the phenomena caused by local support forces and the associated shell buckling. A linear stress analysis is shown first to provide a basic understanding of the stress distributions. Thereafter, all the strength predictions are obtained using nonlinear analyses. The load factor used here is applied to the reference loading described in the previous section. The underlying finite element model is shown in Figs 3.3(a) and 3.4(b); the coordinate system and the boundary conditions are shown in Fig. 3.5. Axial membrane stress distribution in the shell The pattern of axial compressive membrane stress σxx above the support is illustrated in Fig. 3.8 for the load factor of = 10. The stress varies in both the meridional and circumferential directions, with the highest stress immediately above the support, but it declines rapidly as the force is dispersed into the shell. The form of the bell-shaped distribution in the circumferential direction affects the buckling behaviour, since a finite area of the highly stressed shell is needed for a buckle to occur, and the rate at which the axial stress falls with height is closely related to the circumferential width of the highly stressed zone. Because symmetry has been assumed at the cylinder half-height, the axial stress remains quite nonuniform around the circumference at this position, but this does not influence the buckling behaviour markedly because the buckle is very local. When the support is narrow, very high local axial stresses can occur above it, and buckling may be preceded by yielding. Yielding commences directly above the support (Fig. 3.8), but this position is restrained by the support and the yielded region is small compared with the dimensions of a buckle. Although high bending stresses develop a little higher above the support, and first surface yield occurs at this point, these stresses have little influence on the plastic buckling strength. The bell-shaped circumferential variation of axial stress plays a key role in the buckling behaviour and strength. The shape and amplitude of the distribution at a height L/20 above the support are illustrated in Fig. 3.9(a) and (b) for different support widths.