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**1: Introduction to Plate Behavior and Design
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OBJECTIVE/SCOPE To introduce the series of lectures on plates, showing the uses of plates to resist in-plane and out-of-plane loading and their principal modes of behaviour both as single panels and as assemblies of stiffened plates. SUMMARY This lecture introduces the uses of plates and plated assemblies in steel structures. It describes the basic behavior of plate panels subject to in-plane or out-of-plane loading, highlighting the importance of geometry and boundary conditions. Basic buckling modes and mode interaction are presented. It introduces the concept of effective width and describes the influence of imperfections on the behavior of practical plates. It also gives an introduction to the behavior of stiffened plates.

1. INTRODUCTION

Plates are very important elements in steel structures. They can be assembled into complete members by the basic rolling process (as hot rolled sections), by folding (as cold formed sections) and by welding. The efficiency of such sections is due to their use of the high in-plane stiffness of one plate element to support the edge of its neighbour, thus controlling the out-of-plane behavior of the latter. The size of plates in steel structures varies from about 0,6mm thickness and 70mm width in a corrugated steel sheet, to about 100mm thick and 3m width in a large industrial or offshore structure. Whatever the scale of construction the plate panel will have a thickness t that is much smaller than the width b, or length a. As will be seen later, the most important geometric parameter for plates is b/t and this will vary, in an efficient plate structure, within the range 30 to 250.

**2. BASIC BEHAVIOUR OF A PLATE PANEL
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Understanding of plate structures has to begin with an understanding of the modes of behaviour of a single plate panel.

**2.1 Geometric and Boundary Conditions
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The important geometric parameters are thickness t, width b (usually measured transverse to the direction of the greater direct stress) and length a, see Figure 1a. The ratio b/t, often called the plate slenderness, influences the local buckling of the plate panel; the aspect ratio a/b may also influence buckling patterns and may have a significant influence on strength.

In addition to the geometric proportions of the plate, its strength is governed by its boundary conditions. Figure 1 shows how response to different types of actions is influenced by different boundary conditions. Response to in-plane actions that do not

cause buckling of the plate is only influenced by in-plane, plane stress, boundary conditions, Figure 1b. Initially, response to out-of-plane action is only influenced by the boundary conditions for transverse movement and edge moments, Figure 1c. However, at higher actions, responses to both types of action conditions are influenced by all four boundary conditions. Out-of-plane conditions influence the local buckling, see Figure 1d; in-plane conditions influence the membrane action effects that develop at large displacements (>t) under lateral actions, see Figure 1e.

2.2 In-plane Actions

As shown in Figure 2a, the basic types of in-plane actions to the edge of a plate panel are the distributed action that can be applied to a full side, the patch action or point action that can be applied locally.

When the plate buckles, it is particularly important to differentiate between applied displacements, see Figure 2b and applied stresses, see Figure 2c. The former permits a redistribution of stress within the panel; the more flexible central region sheds stresses to

the edges giving a valuable post buckling resistance. The latter, rarer case leads to an earlier collapse of the central region of the plate with in-plane deformation of the loaded edges.

**2.3 Out-of-plane Actions
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Out-of-plane loading may be:

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uniform over the entire panel, see for example Figure 3a, the base of a water tank. varying over the entire panel, see for example Figure 3b, the side of a water tank. a local patch over part of the panel, see for example Figure 3c, a wheel load on a bridge deck.

In other cases the in-plane flexibilities of the panels lead to distributions of stresses that cannot be predicted from simple theory. the distribution of edge actions on the panels of a plated structure are self-evident. for example at the change in . In the box girder shown in Figure 4b. the in-plane shear flexibility of the flanges leads to in-plane deformation of the top flange. Where these are interrupted.2.4 Determination of Plate Panel Actions In some cases. for example in Figure 4a.

this is called shear lag. . the resulting change in shear deformation leads to a non-linear distribution of direct stress across the top flange.direction of the shear at the central diaphragm.

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In members made up of plate elements. Only panel A does not have shear coincident with the longitudinal compression. . many of the plate components are subjected to more than one component of in-plane action effect. such as the box girder shown in Figure 5.

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there would also be transverse direct stresses arising from the interaction between the plate and the stiffeners. a shape that cannot be formed just by bending). transverse membrane action effects become significant as the plate deforms into a non-developable shape.5 Variations in Buckled Mode i.If the cross-girder system EFG was a means of introducing additional actions into the box. Aspect ratio a/b In a long plate panel. (As the plate moves more into the post-buckled regime. the greatest initial inhibition to buckling is the transverse flexural stiffness of the plate between unloaded edges. as shown in Figure 6. . i.e. 2.

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with one half wave transversely and in half waves longitudinally. boundary conditions influence both the buckled shapes and the critical stresses of elastic plates. The greatest influence is the presence or absence of simple supports. By contrast introducing rotational restraint to one edge between case 1 and case 2 increases the buckling stress by 1. As the aspect ratio increases the critical mode changes. more than one buckled mode is possible.4. Bending conditions As shown in Figure 7. for example the removal of simple support to one edge between case 1 and case 4 reduces the buckling stress by a factor of 4. The behavior of a long plate panel can therefore be modeled accurately by considering a simply-supported. . ii.425 or 9. tending towards the situation where the half wave length a/m = b.35. in this instance.As with any instability of a continuous medium. square panel.0/0.

Thus in Figure 8b(i) the presence of low transverse compression does not change the mode of buckling. as shown in Figure 8b(ii). .iii. high transverse compression will cause the panel to deform into a single half wave. (In some circumstances this forcing into a higher mode may increase strength. there will be more than one mode and therefore there may be interaction between the modes. pre-deformation/transverse compression may increase strength in longitudinal compression. However. in case 8b(ii).) Shear buckling as shown in Figure 8c is basically an interaction between the diagonal. for example. Interaction of modes Where there is more than one action component. destabilizing compression and the stabilizing tension on the other diagonal.

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and uniaxial compression and shear. .Where buckled modes under the different action effects are similar. Figure 9 shows the buckling interactions under combined compression. the buckling stresses under the combined actions are less than the addition of individual action effects.

They therefore have greater post buckling stiffness and carry a greater proportion of the action. . the transverse buckling restraint is augmented by transverse membrane action. As the grillage moves more into the post buckling regime.2. A series of longitudinal columns carry the longitudinal actions.6 Grillage Analogy for Plate Buckling One helpful way to consider the buckling behaviour of a plate is as the grillage shown in Figure 10. those nearer the edge have greater restraint than those near the centre from the transverse flexural members. When they buckle.

As the plate initially .7 Post Buckling Behaviour and Effective Widths Figures 11a. 11b and 11c describe in more detail the changing distribution of stresses as a plate buckles following the equilibrium path shown in Figure 11d.2.

As the buckling continues this redistribution becomes more extreme (the middle strip of slender plates may go into tension before the plate fails).buckles the stresses redistribute to the stiffer edges. These are self equilibrating unless the plate has clamped in-plane edges. . tension at the mid panel. Also transverse membrane stresses build up. is resisted by compression at the edges. which restrains the buckling. which are restrained from out-of-plane movement.

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Figure 11e shows how effective width varies with slenderness (λp is a measure of plate slenderness that is independent of yield stress. . Figure 12 shows how effective widths of plate elements may be combined to give an effective cross-section of a member.0 corresponds to values of b/t of 57. 275N/mm2 and 355N/mm2 respectively). 53 and 46 for fy of 235N/mm2. λp = 1.An examination of the non-linear longitudinal stresses in Figures 11a and 11c shows that it is possible to replace these stresses by rectangular stress blocks that have the same peak stress and same action effect. This effective width of plate (comprising beff/2 on each side) proves to be a very effective design concept.

As shown in Figure 13 these imperfections modify the behavior of actual plates. and are not perfectly flat. For plates of intermediate slenderness (which frequently occur in practice). an actual .8 The Influences of Imperfections on the Behavior of Actual Plates As with all steel structures.2. For a slender plate the behavior is asymptotic to that of the perfect plate and there is little reduction in strength. perfect plate. plate panels contain residual stresses from manufacture and subsequent welding into plate assemblies. The previous discussions about plate panel behavior all relate to an ideal.

imperfect plate will have a considerably lower strength than that predicted for the perfect plate. .

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It shows the reduction in strength due to imperfections and the post buckling strength of slender plates. it will deflect into a .9 Elastic Behavior of Plates under Lateral Actions The elastic behavior of laterally loaded plates is considerably influenced by its support conditions. If the plate is resting on simple supports as in Figure 15b. 2.Figure 14 summarizes the strength of actual plates of varying slenderness.

If it is attached to the supports. .shape approximating a saucer and the corner regions will lift off their supports. for example by welding. this lift off is prevented and the plate stiffness and action capacity increases. If the edges are encastre as in Figure 15d. both stiffness and strength are increased by the boundary restraining moments. as in Figure 15c.

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In such cases the flexural response is significantly enhanced by the membrane action of the plate. The greater number of yield lines as the boundary conditions improve is a qualitative measure of the increase in resistance. the increase in stiffness and strength is most noticeable at large deflections. . This membrane action is at its most effective if the edges are fully clamped. Figure 16 shows the modes of behavior that occur if the plates are subject to sufficient load for full yield line patterns to develop.Slender plates may well deflect elastically into a large displacement regime (typically where d > t). Figure 15 contrasts the behavior of a similar plate with different boundary conditions. Even if they are only held partially straight by their own in-plane stiffness.

3. BEHAVIOUR OF STIFFENED PLATES .

local effects on plate panels and individual stiffeners need to be considered separately. (iii) Overall or orthotropic bucking. It should be noted that this section is mono-symmetric and will exhibit different behavior if the plate or the stiffener tip is in greater compression. stiffeners are usually eccentric to the plate. It is best modeled by considering the plate assembly as an orthotropic plate. . the stiffened flange shown in Figure 17a shows several modes of buckling. Examples are: (i) plate panel buckling under overall compression plus any local compression arising from the combined action of the plate panel with its attached stiffening. in making these extrapolations it should be recognized that: • • • • "smearing" the stiffeners over the width of the plate can only model overall behaviour. However.Many aspects of stiffened plate behavior can be deduced from a simple extension of the basic concepts of behavior of un-stiffened plate panels. Figure 17c. Figure 17d. (ii) Stiffened panel buckling between transverse stiffeners. This occurs if the latter have sufficient rigidity to prevent overall buckling. For example. Flexural behaviour of the equivalent tee section induces local direct stresses in the plate panels. Figure 17b. This form of buckling is best modeled by considering the stiffened panel as a series of tee sections buckling as columns. the discrete nature of the stiffening introduces the possibility of local modes of buckling. This occurs when the cross girders are flexible. Plate action is not very significant because the only transverse member is the plate itself.

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S. The elastic buckling stress of a perfect plate panel is influenced by: ⋅ plate slenderness (b/t). Timoshenko. International Student Edition. The behaviour of actual plates is influenced by both residual stresses and geometric imperfections. CONCLUDING SUMMARY • • • Plates and plate panels are widely used in steel structures to resist both in-plane and out-of-plane actions. i. . 2nd Ed. New York. • • • • The effective width concept is a useful means of defining the post-buckling behaviour of a plate panel in compression. S. and Weinowsky-Kreiger. biaxial compression and compression and shear.4.e. ⋅ aspect ratio (a/b). Plate panels under in-plane compression and/or shear are subject to buckling. 5. The response of a plate panel to out-of-plane actions is influenced by its boundary conditions. An assembly of plate panels into a stiffened plate structure may exhibit both local and overall modes of instability. ADDITIONAL READING 1.. "Theory of Plates and Shells" Mc Graw-Hill. ⋅ boundary conditions. ⋅ interaction between actions.

INTRODUCTION Thin-walled members. The critical buckling loads are derived using Linear Elastic Theory. cross-sections can be produced that best fit the requirements for strength and serviceability. etc. are increasingly important in modern steel construction. (Figure 1a). composed of thin plate panels welded together.Lecture 8. by appropriate selection of steel quality. Recent developments in fabrication and welding procedures allow the automatic production of such elements as plate girders with thin-walled webs. In this way.. Out-of-plane loading is also considered and its influence on the plate stability discussed. SUMMARY The load distribution for un-stiffened plate structures loaded in-plane is discussed. . 1. these can be subsequently transported to the construction site as prefabricated elements. etc. box girders. The effective width method for determining the ultimate resistance of the plate is explained as are the requirements for adequate finite element modeling of a plate element. thus saving steel. thinwalled columns. stability and ultimate resistance of unstiffened plates under in-plane and out-of-plane loading.2: Behavior and Design of Unstiffened Plates OBJECTIVE/SCOPE To discuss the load distribution. geometry.

Due to their relatively small thickness. their behaviour under in-plane actions is of specific interest (Figure 1b). such plate panels are basically not intended to carry actions normal to their plane. Two kinds of in-plane actions are distinguished: . However.

. see Figure 2. such as compression or shear. b) those resulting from locally applied forces (patch loading) which generate zones of highly concentrated local stress in the plate. UNSTIFFENED PLATES UNDER IN-PLANE LOADING 2.1 Load Distribution 2. in the elastic field. It also discusses the effects of out-of-plane actions on the stability of these panels.1 Distribution resulting from membrane theory The stress distribution in plates that react to in-plane loading with membrane stresses may be determined.5.5. 2.2). This lecture deals with the more general behaviour of un-stiffened panels subjected to in-plane actions (compression or shear) which is governed by plate buckling. by solving the plane stress elastostatic problem governed by Navier's equations.1 and 8. The behavior under patch action is a specific problem dealt with in the lectures on plate girders (Lectures 8.1.a) those transferred from adjacent panels.

Y = Y(x. y). . y).where: u = u(x. v = v(x. y): are the displacement components in the x and y directions νeff = 1/(1 + ν) is the effective Poisson's ratio G: is the shear modulus X = X(x. y): are the components of the mass forces.

where the plates are stressed as membranes.1. 2. (Figure 3). F = F(x. For example. The stress components are related to the Airy stress function by: . by the following biharmonic equation: ∇4F = 0 This formulation is convenient if stress boundary conditions are prescribed. The problem can also be stated using the Airy stress function. or σx = τxy = 0 if the edge is free to move in the plane of the plate. for an edge parallel to the y axis.2 Distribution resulting from linear elastic theory using Bernouilli's hypothesis For slender plated structures. y). u= v = 0 if the edge is fixed. . which may be used in the elastic as well as in the plastic range. . the application of Airy's stress function is not necessary due to the hypothesis of plane strain distributions.The functions u and v must satisfy the prescribed boundary (support) conditions on the boundary of the plate.

due to the shear lag effect. (Figure 4). the application of Airy's stress function leads to significant deviations from the plane strain hypothesis. . for wide flanges of plated structures. Shear lag may be taken into account by taking a reduced flange width.However.

b) the plate is perfectly plane and stress free. The results of this analysis can be used for the buckling verification.2. see [2-5]): a) the material is linear elastic. 2. d) the in-plane actions pass through its middle plane. Attention must be given to the load introduction at the plate edges so that shear lag effects will be taken into account. the plate can be modelled as a perfectly flat arrangement of plate sub-elements.1 Linear buckling theory The buckling of plate panels was investigated for the first time by Bryan in 1891.3 Distribution resulting from finite element methods When using finite element methods for the determination of the stress distribution. The assumptions for the plate under consideration (Figure 5a).2 Stability of Unstiffened Plates 2. .1. are those of thin plate theory (Kirchhoff's theory. in connection with the design of a ship hull [1]. c) the thickness "t" of the plate is small compared to its other dimensions.1. homogeneous and isotropic.

remain straight lines and normal to the deflected middle surface.e) the transverse displacements w are small compared to the thickness of the plate. . initially normal to the middle plane. f) the slopes of the deflected middle surfaces are small compared to unity. g) the deformations are such that straight lines. h) the stresses normal to the thickness of the plate are of a negligible order of magnitude.

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and Poisson's ratio ν. γxy = ∂u/∂y + ∂v/∂x (1) An important consequence of this assumption is that there is no stretching of the middle surface due to bending. y of the middle plane and are determined by solving independently the plane stress elastoplastic problem which. modulus of elasticity E. Thus. q = q(x.)] ∂/∂x {∂u/∂x + ∂v/∂y} = 0 ∇2 + [1/(1.y) is the transverse loading. and k is a parameter.)] ∂/∂y {∂u/∂x + ∂v/∂y} = 0 (6) . σx. which are simplified as: εx = ∂u/∂x . the plate equation under simultaneous bending and stretching is: D∇4w = q-kt{σx ∂2w/∂x2 + 2τxy ∂2w/∂x∂y + σy ∂2w/∂y2} (2) where D = Et3/12(1 . is governed by the equilibrium equations: ∂σx/∂x + ∂τxy/∂y = 0. if the stress displacement relationships are employed: ∇2 + [1/(1. and the differential equations governing the deformation of the plate are linear and uncoupled. ∂τxy/∂x + ∂σy/∂y = 0 (3) supplemented by the compatibility equation: ∇2 (σx + σy) = 0 (4) Equations (3) and (4) are reduced either to the biharmonic equation by employing the Airy stress function: ∇4 F = 0 (5) defined as: σx = ∂2F/∂y2 . τxy = -∂2F/∂x∂y or to the Navier equations of equilibrium.Due to assumption (e) the rotations of the middle surface are small and their squares can be neglected in the strain displacement relationships for the stretching of the middle surface. The stress components. τxy are in general functions of the point x. σy.ν2) is the bending stiffness of the plate having thickness t. σy = ∂2F/∂x2 . in the absence of in-plane body forces.

subjected to constant edge loading (Figure 5a). Equation (5) is convenient if stress boundary conditions are prescribed. This theory. However.where = ν/(1 + ν) is the effective Poisson's ratio. These values of k determine the critical in-plane edge actions (σcr. for displacement or mixed boundary conditions Equations (6) are more convenient. on a surface (N = 3) or on a hypersurface (N > 3). Each garland corresponds to a buckling mode with a certain number of waves. k2. The buckling coefficients.g. These parameters are constrained to lie on a plane curve (N = 2). which corresponds to the Euler buckling load of a compressed strut. a solution is only feasible by numerical methods such as the finite element or the boundary element methods. using the energy method. The edge in-plane actions may depend on more than one parameter. is referred to as linear buckling theory. etc. Values of kσ and kτ for various actions and support conditions are shown in Figure 6 as a function of the aspect ratio of the plate α =a/b. In this case there are infinite combinations of values of ki for which buckling occurs. results in an eigenvalue problem from which the values of the parameter k. The relationship between the critical stress σcr. Equation (2) was derived by Saint-Venant. is given by the buckling curve. Only the form of the buckling surface may be determined by this theory but not the magnitude of the buckling amplitude. for values √2 < α < √6. the buckling mode for values of α < √2. Analytical or approximate solutions of the plane elastostatic problem or the plate bending problem are possible only in the case of simple plate geometries and boundary conditions. in which the equations are linear. corresponding to the non-trivial solution (w ≠ 0). may be determined either analytically by direct integration of Equation (2) or numerically. may be written as: σcr = kσ σE or τcr = kτ σE (7) where σE = (8) and kσ. and the slenderness of the panel λ = b/t.. σx. the method of transfer matrices. In this case the critical action. say k1. are established. two half waves. For plates with complex shape and boundary conditions. σy and τxy on the boundary may increase at different rates). This curve. has a hyperbolic shape and is analogous to the Euler hyperbola for struts. For a plate subjected to uniform compression. Of particular interest is the application of the linear buckling theory to rectangular plates.. shown in Figure 5c. For these values of k the equilibrium path has a bifurcation point (Figure 5b).kN. "k". Equation (2) together with the prescribed boundary (support) conditions of the plate.. τcr) under which buckling of the plate occurs. The curves for kσ have a "garland" form. as shown in Figure 6a. (e. For α = . kτ are dimensionless buckling coefficients. In the absence of transverse loading (q = 0). has one half wave. etc..

the buckling mode that gives the smallest value of k is the decisive one. with one and two half waves. For practical reasons a single value of kσ is chosen for plates subjected to normal stresses. .√2 both buckling modes. In the example given in Figure 6a. result in the same value of kσ . Obviously. kσ is equal to 4 for a plate which is simply supported on all four sides and subjected to uniform compression. This is the smallest value for the garland curves independent of the value of the aspect ratio.

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They are illustrated by the example of a plate girder. σy and τ For practical design situations some further approximations are necessary. . shown in Figure 7.Combination of stresses σx.

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one with the largest value of σx and one with the largest value of τ.The normal and shear stresses. The interaction curve for a plate subjected to normal and shear stresses. σx and τ respectively. at the opposite edges of a subpanel are not equal. since the bending moments M and the shear forces V vary along the panel. This conservative assumption leads to equal stresses at the opposite edges for which the charts of kσ and kτ apply. σx and τ respectively. for independent action of σ and τ have been determined. The verification is usually performed for two subpanels. varies between a circle and a parabola [6]. each subpanel is subjected to a combination of normal and shear stresses. depending on the value of the ratio ψ of the normal stresses at the edges (Figure 8). In most cases. as in Figure 7. M and V are considered as constants for each subpanel and equal to the largest value at an edge (or equal to the value at some distance from it). but it requires considerable numerical effort. However. For practical situations an equivalent buckling stress σcreq is found by an interaction formula after the critical stresses σcreq and τcro . A direct determination of the buckling coefficient for a given combination of stresses is possible. .

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The consequences for the buckling behaviour when each of these assumptions is removed is now discussed. τ) the factor of safety with respect to the above curve is given by: = (10) The equivalent buckling stress is then given by: σcreq = γcreq √{σ2 + 3τ2} (11) where the von Mises criterion has been applied. σy and τ similar relationships apply.2 Ultimate resistance of an unstiffened plate General The linear buckling theory described in the previous section is based on assumptions (a) to (h) that are never fulfilled in real structures. The first assumption of unlimited linear elastic behaviour of the material is obviously not valid for steel. For simultaneous action of σx. 2. the buckling curve must be cut off at the level of the yield stress σy (Figure 9b). . If the material is considered to behave as linear elastic-ideal plastic.This relationship may be represented by the approximate equation: (9) For a given pair of applied stresses (σ.2.

it may be stated that the removal of the assumption of linear elastic behavior of steel results in a reduction of the ultimate stresses for stocky panels. as experimentally observed for very stocky panels. When strain hardening is considered. the buckling curve will be further reduced (Figure 9b).When the non-linear behavior of steel between the proportionality limit σp and the yield stress σy is taken into account. In conclusion. are possible. values of σcr larger than σy. The second and fourth assumptions of a plate without geometrical imperfections and residual stresses. under symmetric actions in its middle plane. are also never fulfilled in .

If the assumption of small displacements is still retained.real structures. as is found from the second order theory. . This analysis has no bifurcation point since for each level of stress the corresponding displacements w may be determined. the analysis of a plate with imperfections requires a second order analysis. The equilibrium path (Figure 10a) tends asymptotically to the value of σcr for increasing displacements.

in the region of moderate .However the ultimate stress is generally lower than σcr since the combined stress due to the buckling and the membrane stress is limited by the yield stress. This limitation becomes relevant for plates with geometrical imperfections.

slenderness. When large displacements are considered. This post-critical behaviour is more pronounced the more slender the plate. the smaller the value of σcr. It may be observed that plates possess a considerable post-critical carrying resistance. The corresponding equations. For plates with residual stresses the reduction of the ultimate stress is primarily due to the small value of σp (Figure 9b) at which the material behavior becomes non-linear. For a plate without imperfections the equilibrium path still has a bifurcation point at σcr. especially in the range of moderate slenderness. but. are: (12) This results in a coupling between the equations governing the stretching and the bending of the plate (Equations (1) and (2)). Equations (13) are known as the von Karman equations. In conclusion it may be stated that imperfections due to geometry. i. unlike the linear buckling theory. the equilibrium for stresses σ > σcr is still stable (Figure 11). . Equation (1) must be extended to the quadratic terms of the displacements. since the value of the buckling stress is not small (Figure 10b). The equilibrium path for plates with imperfections tends asymptotically to the same curve. written for reasons of simplicity for a plate without initial imperfections. residual stresses and eccentricities of loading lead to a reduction of the ultimate stress. The ultimate stress may be determined by limiting the stresses to the yield stress. They constitute the basis of the (geometrically) non-linear buckling theory. (13a) (13b) where F is an Airy type stress function.e. The assumption of small displacements (e) is not valid for stresses in the vicinity of σcr as shown in Figure 10a.

For relevant literature reference should be made to Dubas and Gehri [7]. it is evident that the Euler buckling curve for linear buckling theory (Figure 6c) may not be used for design. The slenderness of a panel may be written according to (7) and (8) as: λp = (b/t) √{12(1−ν2)/kσ} = π√(Ε/σcr) (14) If a reference slenderness given by: . A lot of experimental and theoretical investigations have been performed in order to define a buckling curve that best represents the true behaviour of plate panels. For design purposes it is advantageous to express the buckling curve in a dimensionless form as described below.Buckling curve For the reasons outlined above.

. the relative slenderness becomes: p = λp/λy = √(σy/σcr) (16) The ultimate stress is also expressed in a dimensionless form by introducing a reduction factor: k = σu /σy (17) Dimensionless curves for normal and for shear stresses as proposed by Eurocode 3 [8] are illustrated in Figure 12.λy = π√(Ε/fy) (15) is introduced.

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they have smaller values than those of Euler due to the effects of geometrical imperfections and residual stresses. yields the value of an important parameter. Although the linear buckling theory is not able to describe accurately the behaviour of a plate panel. namely determination of the ultimate stress. Effective width method This method has been developed for the design of thin walled sections subjected to uniaxial normal stresses. It will be illustrated for a simply-supported plate subjected to uniform compression (Figure 13a). as in the case of struts. its importance should not be ignored.These buckling curves have higher values for large slendernesses than those of the Euler curve due to post critical behaviour and are limited to the yield stress. however. For intermediate slendernesses. that is used for the . p. In fact this theory.

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respectively. At each subpanel the critical stress σcr. the relative slenderness p and the effective width be are determined according to Equations (7). which is subjected to normal forces and bending moments. In such cases Equation (19) is still valid. For uniform compression the effective width is equally distributed along the two edges (Figure 13a). the verification is expressed as: (21) where e is the shift in the centroid of the cross-section to the tension side and γm the partial safety factor of resistance. and We of the effective crosssection. The stress at the stiff edges (towards which the redistribution takes place) may reach the yield stress. . The verifications are finally based on the characteristic Ae. This width is determined by equating the resultant forces: b σu = be σy (18) and accordingly: be = σu.b/σy = kb (19) which shows that the value of the effective width depends on the buckling curve adopted. which is needed for the determination of the reduction factor k. The method is based on the assumption that the non-uniform stress distribution over the entire panel width may be substituted by a uniform one over a reduced "effective" width. For non-uniform compression and other support conditions it is distributed according to rules given in the various regulations.The stress distribution which is initially uniform. since the central parts of the panel are not able to carry more stresses due to the bowing effect. becomes non-uniform after buckling. The effective width may also be determined for values of σ < σu. The effective width is then distributed along the panel as illustrated by the examples in Figure 13b. (16) and (19). but p. is not given by Equation (16) but by the relationship: p= √(σ/σcr) (20) The design of thin walled cross-sections is performed according to the following procedure: For given actions conditions the stress distribution at the cross-section is determined. For the cross. Ie. Some examples of the distribution are shown in Figure 13b.section of Figure 14b.

On the other hand the interaction formulae presented in Section 2. Some interaction curves. where all stresses are referred to the ultimate stresses for the case where each of them is acting alone. Relevant interaction formulae are included in some recent European Codes . are illustrated in Figure 15.10].2 do not accurately describe the carrying resistance of the plate. It has been found that these rules cannot be extended to cases of plastic behaviour. since they are based on linear buckling theory and accordingly on elastic material behaviour. .The effective width method has not been extended to panels subjected to combinations of stress. at the ultimate limit state.see also [9.

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.Finite element methods When using finite element methods to determine the ultimate resistance of an unstiffened plate one must consider the following aspects: • • • The modelling of the plate panel should include the boundary conditions as accurately as possible with respect to the conditions of the real structure. Thin shell elements should be used in an appropriate mesh to make yielding and large curvatures (large out-of-plane displacements) possible. hinged conditions can be used along the edges. see Figure 16. For a conservative solution. The plate should be assumed to have an initial imperfection similar in shape to the final collapse mode.

The first order Euler buckling mode can be used as a first approximation to this shape. see Figure 17. a disturbance to the first order Euler buckling mode can be added to avoid snapthrough problems while running the programme. In addition. . The amplitude of the initial imperfect shape should relate to the tolerances for flatness.

and if necessary an initial stress pattern. The latter can also be included in the initial shape. the program must be able to use more refined incremental and iterative methods to reach convergence in equilibrium. see Figure 18. the calculation process can be continued up to collapse or even beyond collapse into the region of unstable behaviour (Figure 19). This factor should be increased incrementally from zero up to the desired action level (load factor = 1). In order to calculate the unstable response. The computer model must use a loading which is equal to the design loading multiplied by an action factor. If the structure is still stable at the load factor = 1. .• • The program used must be able to take a true stress-strain relationship into account.

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**3. UNSTIFFENED PLATES UNDER OUT-OF-PLANE ACTIONS
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3.1 Action Distribution

3.1.1 Distribution resulting from plate theory If the plate deformations are small compared to the thickness of the plate, the middle plane of the plate can be regarded as a neutral plane without membrane stresses. This assumption is similar to beam bending theory. The actions are held in equilibrium only by bending moments and shear forces. The stresses in an isotropic plate can be calculated in the elastic range by solving a fourth order partial differential equation, which describes equilibrium between actions and plate reactions normal to the middle plane of the plate, in terms of transverse deflections w due to bending.

∇ 4w = where: q = q(x, y) D = Et3/12(12

)

is the transverse loading is the stiffness of the plate having thickness t, modulus of elasticity E, and Poisson's ratio υ. is the biharmonic operator

In solving the plate equation the prescribed boundary (support) conditions must be taken into account. For example, for an edge parallel to the y axis, w = ∂w/∂n = 0 if the edge is clamped, or w = ∂w2/∂n2 = 0 if the edge is simply supported. Some solutions for the isotropic plate are given in Figure 20.

An approximation may be obtained by modeling the plate as a grid and neglecting the twisting moments. Plates in bending may react in the plastic range with a pattern of yield lines which, by analogy to the plastic hinge mechanism for beams, may form a plastic mechanism in the

The position of the yield lines may be determined by minimum energy considerations. It is assumed that the line a c b (diameter d) does not change during deformation. so that a′ c′ b′ is equal to the diameter d. .limit state (Figure 21). compression and shear stains in the middle surface. the membrane stresses in the plate can no longer be neglected in determining the plate reactions. This behaviour can be illustrated by the deformed circular plate shown in Figure 22b. The deformed shape can be generated only by tension. The membrane stresses occur if the middle surface of the plate is deformed to a curved shape. which must be on a smaller radius compared with the original one. The points which lie on the edge "akb" are now on a′ k′ b′ . If the plate deformations are of the order of the plate thickness or even larger.

Therefore the distance akb becomes shorter. the gaps representing the effects of membrane stresses. this explains why curved surfaces are . which means that membrane stresses exist in the ring fibres of the plate. The distribution of membrane stresses can be visualised if the deformed shape is frozen. Figure 22c. It can only be flattened out if it is cut into a number of radial cuts.

3.3). etc. . 3. The behaviour of the plate is governed by von Karman's Equations (13).2. In this case the problem is non-linear. Using adequate finite element methods leads to accurate determination of the deflections which take into account the decrease in stiffness due to plasticity in certain regions of the plate. The material model used should include plasticity. in which an Airy-type stress function which describes the membrane state. except for the following: • • The plate element must be able to describe large deflections out-of-plane.2 Distribution resulting from finite element methods (FEM) More or less the same considerations hold when using FEM to determine the stress distribution in plates which are subject to out-of-plane action as when using FEM for plates under in-plane actions (see Section 2. where F = F(x.1. The solution is far more complicated in comparison with the simple plate bending theory which neglects membrane effects.2 Deflection and Ultimate Resistance 3.1. Most design codes contain limits to these deflections which have to be met at serviceability load levels (see Figure 23). provided that the stresses are in the elastic region. has to be determined in addition to the unknown plate deformation. The stresses in the plate can be calculated with two fourth order coupled differential equations. all analytical methods for determining the stress distributions will also provide the deformations.much stiffer than flat surfaces and are very suitable for constructing elements such as cupolas for roofs.1 Deflections Except for the yield line mechanism theory. y) is the Airy stress function.

2 Ultimate resistance .3.2.

The behaviour of real. When adequate Finite element Methods are used. For strength verification both actions have to be considered simultaneously. the plate stability should be checked taking the out-of-plane actions into account. Via an incremental procedure. the complete behaviour of the plate can be simulated taking the total action combination into account. . This can be done in a similar way as for a column under compression and transverse actions. is highly influenced by the presence of out-of-plane (transversely directed) actions. The FEM program should then include the options as described in Section 3. INFLUENCE OF THE OUT-OF-PLANE ACTIONS ON THE STABILITY OF UNSTIFFENED PLATES The out-of-plane action has an unfavourable effect on the stability of an unstiffened plate panel in those cases where the deformed shape due to the out. More accurate results can be achieved using FEM.The resistance of plates. 4.1. is normally much underestimated since the additional strength due to the membrane effect and the redistribution of forces due to plasticity is neglected. The stability of a square plate panel. 5. If the aspect ratio α is larger than the stability of the plate should be checked neglecting the out-of-plane actions component.2. Thus if the aspect ratio α is smaller than . An upper bound for the ultimate resistance can be found using the yield line theory. Stocky plates and plates of moderate slenderness are adversely influenced by geometric imperfection and plasticity. determined using the linear plate theory only. the action level can increase from zero up to the desired design action level or even up to collapse (see Figure 23). Effective widths may be used to design plates whose behaviour is influenced by local buckling under in-plane actions. CONCLUDING SUMMARY • • • • • Linear buckling theory may be used to analyse the behaviour of perfect. therefore. Slender plates exhibit a considerable post-critical strength.of-plane action is similar to the buckling collapse mode of the plate under in-plane action only. imperfect plates is influenced by their geometric imperfections and by yield in the presence of residual stresses. elastic plates under in-plane actions.

Scheer. E. [5] Timoshenko. 1974. (editors). McGrawHill. "Theory and Analysis of Plates".. and Winowsky-Krieger. Out-of-plane actions influence the stability of plate panels under in-plane action.. B. ECCS. J. "Behaviour and Design of Steel Plated Structures". [6] Chwalla. P..1: General rules and rules for buildings. D. Soc. 1891. 6. Stahlbau 17. [8] Eurocode 3: "Design of Steel Structures": ENV 1993-1-1: Part 1. [4] Wolmir.. [9] Harding. S.. Plates and Shells". R. E. 1989. TU Braunschweig. 54. [3] Brush. W. Influence surfaces are a useful means of describing small deflection plate behaviour. G. 1975. O. J. Berlin.. An upper bound on the ultimate resistance of plates under out-of-plane actions may be found from yield live theory. "Uber dés Biégungsbeulung der Langsversteiften Platte und das Problem der Mindersteifigeit".. VEB Verlag für Bauwesen. CEN. 1959. [10] Linder.. "Theory of Plates and Shells". [7] Dubas. Applied Science Publishers.• • • • • The elastic behaviour of plates under out-of-plane actions is adequately described by small deflection theory for deflection less than the plate thickness. . A. Gehri. "Buckling of Bars. Stability and Strength". 1992. 84-88. Narayanan (ed.. S. and Almroth. [2] Szilard. In Festschrift J. O. Membrane action becomes increasingly important for deflections greater than the plate thicknesses and large displacement theory using the von Karman equations should be used for elastic analysis.. "On the Stability of a Plane Plate under Thrusts in its own Plane with Application on the "Buckling" of the Sides of a Ship". New Jersey. 1986. Habermann. K. "Interaction of direct and shear stresses on Plate Panels" in Plated Structures. 1987. Englewood Cliffs. New York. "Biegsame Platten und Schalen". 1962. E. S. London. Prentice-Hall.).. Proc. Mc Graw Hill. REFERENCES [1] Bryan. 1944. Math. "Zur mehrachsigen Beanspruchung beim" Plattenbeulen.

flanges of plate girders. facades. Through appropriate selection of plate thicknesses. Examples of such structures. steel qualities and form and position of stiffeners. plated structures. etc. INTRODUCTION The automation of welding procedures and the need to design elements not only to have the necessary resistance to external actions but also to meet aesthetic and serviceability requirements leads to an increased tendency to employ thin-walled. . due to the form and the size of the structure. thin-walled roofing. especially when the use of rolled sections is excluded. Two design approaches for determining the ultimate resistance of stiffened plates are described and compared. cross-sections can be best adapted to the actions applied and the serviceability conditions. are webs of plate girders. the walls of box girders. Outof-plane loading is also considered and its influence on stability discussed. shown in Figure 1.Lecture 8.3: Behaviour and Design of Stiffened Plates OBJECTIVE/SCOPE To discuss the load distribution. thus saving material weight. The requirements for finite element models of stiffened plates are outlined using those for unstiffened plates as a basis. 1. SUMMARY The load distribution for in-plane loaded unstiffened plate structures is discussed and the critical buckling loads derived using linear elastic theory. stability and ultimate resistance of stiffened plates under in-plane and out-of-plane loading.

Plated elements carry simultaneously: a) actions normal to their plane. Out-of-plane action is of secondary importance for such steel elements since. The intention of design is to utilise the full strength of the material. In-plane action. due to the typically small plate thicknesses involved. Since the slenderness of such plated elements is large due to the small thicknesses. has significant importance in plated structures. however. their carrying resistance is . they are not generally used for carrying transverse actions. b) in-plane actions.

such a stiffened plate is called an orthogonal anisotropic plate or in short. as shown in Figure 2.reduced due to buckling. however. An economic design may. Such stiffeners may be of open or of torsionally rigid closed sections. When these stiffeners are arranged in a regular orthogonal grid. . an orthotropic plate (Figure 3). The behavior under out-of-plane actions is also discussed as is the influence of the out-ofplane action on the stability of stiffened plates. be achieved when longitudinal and/or transverse stiffeners are provided. and the spacing is small enough to 'smear' the stiffeners to a continuum in the analysis. In this lecture the buckling behavior of stiffened plate panels subjected to in-plane actions will be presented.

2.1 Distribution resulting from membrane theory The stress distribution can be determined from the solutions of Navier's equations (see Lecture 8. this is limited to plates where the longitudinal and transverse stiffeners are closely spaced. STIFFENED PLATES UNDER IN-PLANE LOADING 2. In practice this way of stiffening is not practical and therefore not commonly used.Specific topics such as local actions and the tension field method are covered in the lectures on plate girders. for stiffened plates.1. see Figure 4. symmetrical to both sides of the plate. This configuration leads to an isotropic behavior when the stiffeners are smeared out.1.1) but. .2 Section 2.1 Action Distribution 2. and produce equal stiffness in the longitudinal and transverse direction.

. Since stiffened plates have a relatively large width. 2.) have to be taken into account when calculating the stress distribution in the plate.2 Distribution resulting from linear elastic theory using Bernouilli's hypothesis As for unstiffened plates the most practical way of determining the stress distribution in the panel is using the plane strain hypothesis.All deviations from the "ideal" situation (eccentric stiffeners.1. etc. however. the real stress distribution can differ substantially from the calculated stress distribution due to the effect of shear lag.

1.2. . 2.Shear lag may be taken into account by a reduced flange width concentrated along the edges and around stiffeners in the direction of the action (see Figure 5). Section 2.3 Distribution resulting from finite element methods The stiffeners can be modeled as beam-column elements eccentrically attached to the plate elements.3.1. see Lecture 8.

2. with a beam-column element.1 Linear buckling theory The knowledge of the critical buckling load for stiffened plates is of importance not only because design was (and to a limited extent still is) based on it. . but also because it is used as a parameter in modern design procedures. c) the loading is absolutely concentric. The equilibrium path has a bifurcation point which corresponds to the critical action (Figure 6).2 Stability of Stiffened Plates 2. if present. d) the material is linear elastic.2. b) the stiffeners are perfectly straight. The assumptions for the linear buckling theory of plates are as follows: a) the plate is perfectly plane and stress free.In the case where the stiffeners are relatively deep beams (with large webs) it is better to model the webs with plate elements and the flange. e) the transverse displacements are relatively small.

If Πo. approximate numerical methods are generally used. for stiffened plates.. only possible in specific cases.) = 0 (1) since ΠI is in equilibrium. Of greatest importance in this respect is the Rayleigh-Ritz approach. But the initial state is also in equilibrium and therefore δΠo = 0. then the application of the principle of virtual displacements leads to the expression: δ(ΠI) = δ(Πo + ∆Πo) = δ(Πo + δΠo + δ2Πo + . The stability condition then becomes: .. and ΠI represent the total potential energy of the plate in the undeformed initial state and at the bifurcation point respectively (Figure 6).. which is based on the energy method. through direct integration of the governing differential equations are. therefore.Analytical solutions.

flexure and torsion respectively. . the number of which is equal to the number of non-zero coefficients amn retained in the Ritz-expansion. simply supported stiffened plates were carried out by Klöppel and Scheer[1] and Klöppel and Möller[2]. The critical buckling load is then given by the expression: σcr = kσσE or τcr = kτσE (5) with σE = The most extensive studies on rectangular. γ. The stiffeners are characterized by three dimensionless coefficients δ. υ expressing their relative rigidities for extension. and the parameters α = a/b and ψ =σ2/σ1 as defined in Figure 6a. Equations (4) form a set of linear and homogeneous linear equations. They give charts. For relevant literature the reader is referred to books by Petersen[3] and by Dubas and Gehri[4]. Some solutions also exist for specific cases of plates with fully restrained edges. then becomes: (4) since the only unknown parameters are the amplitudes amn. Setting the determinant of the coefficients equal to 0 yields the buckling equations.δ(δ2Πo) = 0 (2) δ2Πo in the case of stiffened plates includes the strain energy of the plate and the stiffeners and the potential of the external forces acting on them. previously described. The smallest Eigenvalue is the socalled buckling coefficient k. as shown in Figure 7. For rectangular plates simply supported on all sides (Figure 6) the transverse displacements in the buckled state can be approximated by the double Fourier series: (3) which complies with the boundary conditions. etc. The stability criterion. for the determination of k as a function of the coefficients δ and γ. Equation (2). stiffeners with substantial torsional rigidity.

Z1 = kσ . On the other hand direct determination of the buckling coefficient fails due to the very large number of combinations that must be considered. see Figure 2c. which is based on the corresponding interaction for unstiffened plates. the numerical effort required to determine k becomes considerable. for example. and the buckling coefficient may be determined by the same procedure as described before. An alternative to stiffened plates. provided that the stiffeners are so stiff that buckling in an unstiffened sub-panel occurs before buckling of the stiffened plate. An approximate method has. been developed. as described by Dunkerley. Practical solutions may be found by "smearing" the stiffeners over the entire plate. therefore. These plates may also be treated as orthotropic plates. with a large number of equally spaced stiffeners and the associated high welding costs. using equivalent orthotropic rigidities[5]. The critical buckling stress is determined for such cases by the expression: σvcr = kσ Z1s σE (6) where σE has the same meaning as in Equation (5). The plate then behaves orthotropically. For combinations of normal and shear stresses a linear interaction. is very conservative. So far only the application of simple action has been considered. kτ are the buckling coefficients for normal and shear stresses acting independently . s is given by charts (Figure 8b).When the number of stiffeners in one direction exceeds two. a plate panel with 2 longitudinal and 2 transverse stiffeners requires a Ritz expansion of 120. are corrugated plates.

based on linear buckling theory. because for γ = γI* the stiffeners remain straight. Optimum rigidity of stiffeners Three types of optimum rigidity of stiffeners γ*. The first type γI*.For more details the reader is referred to the publications previously mentioned. is defined such that for values γ > γI* no further increase of k is possible. are usually defined[6]. as shown in Figure 9a. .

The buckling coefficient for γ < γII* reduces considerably. therefore. due to initial imperfections of both plate and stiffeners as a result of out of straightness and welding stresses.5 for stiffeners which form a closed cross-section together with the plate.The second type γII*. whereas it increases slightly for γ > γII*. the use of stiffeners with critical stiffness will not guarantee that the stiffeners will remain straight when the adjacent unstiffened plate panels buckle. cross (Figure 9b). m.2. angle and T-stiffeners. is defined as the value for which two curves of the buckling coefficients. A stiffener with γ = γII* deforms at the same time as the plate buckles. This problem can be overcome by multiplying the optimum (critical) stiffness by a factor. The factor is often taken as m = 2. and as m = 4 for stiffeners with an open cross-section such as flat. quite simple. However. The third type γIII* is defined such that the buckling coefficient of the stiffened plate becomes equal to the buckling coefficient of the most critical unstiffened subpanel (Figure 9c). 2.2 Ultimate resistance of stiffened plates . belonging to different numbers of waves. when designing the stiffeners. The procedure to determine the optimum or critical stiffness is.

Take. generally allow the plate to carry loads in the post-critical range. . a stiffened flange of a box girder under compression. for example. accordingly. caused by plate buckling. as shown in Figure 10. Concerning the influence of imperfections. Australia. The post-buckling behaviour exhibited by unstiffened panels. b) the influence of large deformations and therefore the post buckling behaviour. on the other hand. This research was intensified after the collapses. The main reason for this is its inability to take the following into account: a) the influence of geometric imperfections and residual welding stresses. Since the overall width of this panel. c) the influence of plastic deformations due to yielding of the material. in the 1970's. Therefore. It became evident very soon that linear buckling theory cannot accurately describe the real behaviour of stiffened plates. especially in the range of moderate slenderness and for normal compressive (not shear) stresses. the influence of the longitudinal supports is rather small. measured as the distance between the supporting webs. This stiffened plate does not. is not always present in stiffened plates. Germany and the UK. d) the possibility of stiffener failure. it is known that their presence adversely affects the carrying resistance of the plates. however. possess post-buckling resistance. the behaviour of this flange resembles more that of a strut under compression than that of a plate. of 4 major steel bridges in Austria. especially in the range of large slenderness. Large deformations. thus increasing the action carrying resistance.Behaviour of Stiffened Plates Much theoretical and experimental research has been devoted to the investigation of stiffened plates. is generally large.

For this plate two different modes of failure may be observed: the first mode is associated with buckling failure of the plate panel. is used to illustrate why linear bucking theory is not able to predict the stiffener failure mode. producing smaller ultimate actions. as shown in Figure 11. plastic deformations play an increasingly important role as the slenderness decreases.As in unstiffened panels. The example of a stiffened plate under compression. the second with torsional buckling failure of the .

Accordingly. .stiffeners. and in the second towards the plate panels. The overall deformations after buckling are directed in the first case towards the stiffeners. due to the up or downward movement of the centroid of the middle cross-section. not only the magnitude but also the direction of the imperfections is of importance. Experimental investigations on stiffened panels have shown that the stiffener failure mode is much more critical for both open and closed stiffeners as it generally leads to smaller ultimate loads and sudden collapse.

as initially formulated by the ECCS-Recommendations [7] for .Due to the above mentioned deficiencies in the way that linear buckling theory describes the behaviour of stiffened panels. two different design approaches have been recently developed. The first.

allowable stress design and later expanded by DIN 18800. and the overall panel ABCD. σy and τ at the ultimate limit state. d) Additional reduction factors for the strut behaviour of the plate. IJKL. b) Consideration of effective widths. The design is based on the condition that the design stresses of all the panels shall not exceed the corresponding design resistances. . part 3[8] to ultimate limit state design.g. i. e) Provision of stiffeners with minimum torsional rigidities in order to prevent lateraltorsional buckling. distinction is made between individual panels.e. is based instead on various simple limit state models for specific geometric configurations and loading conditions. EFGH. as formulated by recent Drafts of ECCS-Recommendations [9. The adjustment of the linear buckling theory to the real behaviour of stiffened plates is basically made by the following provisions: a) Introduction of buckling curves as illustrated in Figure 12b.10]. still uses values from linear buckling theory for stiffened plates. e. partial panels. Both approaches have been checked against experimental and theoretical results. due to local buckling. The second. Design Approach with Values from the Linear Buckling Theory With reference to a stiffened plate supported along its edges (Figure 12). for flanges associated with stiffeners. they will now be briefly presented and discussed. c) Interaction formulae for the simultaneous presence of stresses σx.

Design Approach with Simple Limit State Models .

ECCS [10]. 1989.Eurocode 3 [11]. b) Longitudinally stiffened webs of plate and box girders (Figure 13b) .3. . c) Stiffened compression flanges of box girders (Figure 13c) .ECCS-TWG 8.Drafts of European Codes and Recommendations have been published which cover the design of the following elements: a) Plate girders with transverse stiffeners only (Figure 13a) .

4. for more details reference should be made to Lectures 8.5. and 8. 8.Only a brief outline of the proposed models is presented here.6 on plate girders and on box girders: .

The stiffened plate can be considered as a grillage of beam-columns loaded in compression. For simplicity the unstiffened plates are neglected in the ultimate resistance and only transfer the loads to the beam-columns which consist of the stiffeners themselves together with the adjacent effective plate widths. This effective plate width is determined by buckling of the unstiffened plates (see Section 2.2.1 of Lecture 8.2). The bending resistance Mu, reduced as necessary due to the presence of axial forces, is determined using the characteristics of the effective cross-section. Where both shear forces and bending moments are present simultaneously an interaction formula is given. For more details reference should be made to the original recommendations. The resistance of a box girder flange subjected to compression can be determined using the method presented in the ECCS Recommendations referred to previously, by considering a strut composed of a stiffener and an associated effective width of plating. The design resistance is calculated using the Perry-Robertson formula. Shear forces due to torsion or beam shear are taken into account by reducing the yield strength of the material according to the von Mises yield criterion. An alternative approach using orthotropic plate properties is also given. The above approaches use results of the linear buckling theory of unstiffened plates (value of Vcr, determination of beff etc.). For stiffened plates the values given by this theory are used only for the expression of the rigidity requirements for stiffeners. Generally this approach gives rigidity and strength requirements for the stiffeners which are stricter than those mentioned previously in this lecture. Discussion of the Design Approaches Both approaches have advantages and disadvantages. The main advantage of the first approach is that it covers the design of both unstiffened and stiffened plates subjected to virtually any possible combination of actions using the same method. Its main disadvantage is that it is based on the limitation of stresses and, therefore, does not allow for any plastic redistribution at the cross-section. This is illustrated by the example shown in Figure 14. For the box section of Figure 14a, subjected to a bending moment, the ultimate bending resistance is to be determined. If the design criterion is the limitation of the stresses in the compression thin-walled flange, as required by the first approach, the resistance is Mu = 400kNm. If the computation is performed with effective widths that allow for plastic deformations of the flange, Mu is found equal to 550kNm.

The second approach also has some disadvantages: there are a limited number of cases of geometrical and loading configurations where these models apply; there are different methodologies used in the design of each specific case and considerable numerical effort is required, especially using the tension field method. Another important point is the fact that reference is made to webs and flanges that cannot always be defined clearly, as shown in the examples of Figure 15.

For a box girder subjected to uniaxial bending (Figure 15a) the compression flange and the webs are defined. This is however not possible when biaxial bending is present (Figure 15b). Another example is shown in Figure 15c; the cross-section of a cable stayed bridge at the location A-A is subjected to normal forces without bending; it is evident, in this case, that the entire section consists of "flanges".

Finite Element Methods In determining the stability behaviour of stiffened plate panels, basically the same considerations hold as described in Lecture 8.2, Section 2.2.2. In addition it should be noted that the stiffeners have to be modelled by shell elements or by a combination of shell and beam-column elements. Special attention must also be given to the initial imperfect shape of the stiffeners with open cross-sections. It is difficult to describe all possible failure modes within one and the same finite element model. It is easier, therefore, to describe the beam-column behaviour of the stiffeners together with the local and overall buckling of the unstiffened plate panels and the stiffened assemblage respectively and to verify specific items such as lateral-torsional buckling separately (see Figure 16). Only for research purposes is it sometimes necessary to model the complete structure such that all the possible phenomena are simulated by the finite element model.

**3. STIFFENED PLATES UNDER OUT-OF-PLANE ACTION APPLICATION
**

3.1 Action Distribution

3.1.1 Distribution resulting from plate theory The theory described in Section 3.1.1 of Lecture 8.2 can only be applied to stiffened plates if the stiffeners are sufficiently closely spaced so that orthotropic behaviour occurs. If this is not the case it is better to consider the unstiffened plate panels in between the stiffeners separately. The remaining grillage of stiffeners must be considered as a beam system in bending (see Section 3.1.2).

3. 3.2 of this Lecture. that is. 4.1. due to out-of-plane actions. however.1.1. Different approaches may be adopted to defining the optimum rigidity of stiffeners. namely the effective width as described in Section 2.2 for unstiffened plates are valid for the analysis of stiffened plates both for deflections and ultimate resistance.3 Distribution resulting from finite element methods (FEM) Similar considerations hold for using FEM to determine the force and moment distribution in stiffened plates which are subject to out-of-plane actions as for using FEM for stiffened plates loaded in-plane (see Section 2. separately from plate buckling and beam-column behaviour. Elastic linear buckling theory may be applied to stiffened plates but numerical techniques such as Rayleigh-Ritz are needed for most practical situations. The part can be taken as for buckling. INFLUENCE OF OUT-OF-PLANE ACTIONS ON THE STABILITY OF STIFFENED PLATES The points made in Section 4 of Lecture 8. such as lateral-torsional buckling. together with a certain part of the plate. the stability of the stiffened plate is unfavourably influenced if the deflections.2. are similar to the stability collapse mode.1. Design approaches for stiffened plates are either based on derivatives of linear buckling theory or on simple limit state models.2 also apply here. The remaining beam grillage is formed by the stiffeners which are welded to the plate. .2 Distribution resulting from a grillage under lateral actions filled in with unstiffened sub-panels The unstiffened sub-panels can be analysed as described in Section 3.2 Deflection and Ultimate Resistance All considerations mentioned in Section 3. In this way the distribution of forces and moments can be determined quite easily. CONCLUDING SUMMARY • • • • • Stiffened plates are widely used in steel structures because of the greater efficiency that the stiffening provides to both stability under in-plane actions and resistance to out-of-plane actions. 5. The ultimate behaviour of stiffened plates is influenced by geometric imperfections and yielding in the presence of residual stresses. 3.1 of Lecture 8.2. that for design purposes it is easier to verify specific items. It should be noted.2 of Lecture 8.3) except that the finite elements used must be able to take large deflections and elastic-plastic material behaviour into account.

[11] Eurocode 3. K. [10] ECCS. 84-88.. REFERENCES [1] Klöppel. "Statik und Stabilität der Baukonstruktionen". 1992. "Stiffened compression flanges of box girders". "Beulwerte Ausgesteifter Rechteckplatten". P. Scheer.. E. K. [8] DIN 18800 Teil 3 (1990). Draft 1989.• • Simple strut models are particularly suitable for compression panels with longitudinal stiffeners. 6. 129-138. D. H.. "Equivalent Orthotropic Properties of Corrugated Sheets". CEN. Stahlbau 17. [3] Petersen. [4] Dubas. . 1986.. Sohn 1960. Ernst u. K. "Conventional design rules based on the linear buckling theory". [6] Chwalla. 2. Stabilitätsfalle. Gehri. [5] Briassoulis. Computers and Structures. "Behaviour and Design of Steel Plated Structures". Braunschweig: Vieweg 1982. Plattenbeulen". E. "Stahlbauten.1: General rules and rules for buildings. W... Ernst u. W. Finite element models may be used for concrete modelling of particular situations. ECCS. C. [9] ECCS. Berlin: Beuth. "Design of Steel Structures": ENV 1993-1-1: Part 1. Möller. 1978.. Sohn 1968. "Uber die Biegungsbeulung der langsversteiften Platte und das Problem der Mindeststeifigeit". Draft 1989. J. [7] ECCS. "Beulwerte Ausgesteifter Rechteckplatten". 1944. Berlin. [2] Klöppel. Bd. Berlin.. "Design of longitudinally stiffened webs of plate and box girders".. Bd. 1986. 1.

in general. roofs. water towers and even hanging roofs (Figures 1f to 1i). It must be remembered that shells are very efficient in resisting distributed loads but are prone to difficulties with concentrated loads. it is better to take advantage of double curvature. and briefly outlines the practical design approach taken by the codes. singly curved shells. SUMMARY Shell structures are very attractive light weight structures which are especially suited to building as well as industrial applications. The lecture presents a qualitative interpretation of their main advantages. the central part of some pressure vessels. 1. a continuous support is preferred. architectural reasons or practical considerations impose the use of discrete supports. Its efficiency is based on its curvature (single or double). an intermediate structure such as a continuous ring (Figure 1f) can be used to distribute the concentrated loads at the vertical supports. in storage structures such as silos. in industrial chimneys and even in small structures like lighting columns (Figures 1a to 1e). The single curvature allows a very simple construction process and is very efficient in resisting certain types of loads. Thus. for example. it also discusses the difficulties frequently encountered with such structures. including their unusual buckling behaviour. as shown in Figure 1a. that are associated with them. can be found in oil storage tanks.6: Introduction to Shell Structures OBJECTIVE/SCOPE To describe in a qualitative way the main characteristics of shell structures and to discuss briefly the typical problems. vehicles. In some cases. If it is not possible to have a foundation bed. INTRODUCTION The shell structure is typically found in nature as well as in classical architecture [1]. On occasions. . Double curved shells are used to build spherical gas reservoirs. such as buckling. which allows a multiplicity of alternative stress paths and gives the optimum form for transmission of many different load types.Lecture 8. Various different types of steel shell structures have been used for industrial purposes. An important part of the design is the load transmission to the foundations.

.

An everyday example of the difference between distributed and discrete loads is the manner in which a cooked egg is supported in the egg cup without problems and the way the shell is broken by the sudden impact of the spoon (Figure 2g). In these cases.As mentioned above. for example. Such loads can be due to vessel supports or in some cases. pressure vessels or silos (Figures 2a to 2c). marine currents and hydrostatic pressures (Figures 2d and 2e) are very well resisted by the in-plane behaviour of shells. or to external pressure from wind. In containment buildings of nuclear power plants. distributed loads due to internal pressure in storage tanks. due to abnormal impact loads (Figure 2f). . codes of practice usually require the possibility of missile impact or even sometimes airplane crashes to be considered in the design. in a real problem both types of loads will have to be dealt with either in separate or combined states. Needless to say. On the other hand. concentrated loads introduce significant local bending stresses which have to be carefully considered in design. with the conceptual differences in behaviour ever present in the designer's mind. the dynamic nature of the load increases the danger of concentrated effects.

A possible location where reinforcement might be required is at the .Shell structures often need to be strengthened in certain problem areas by local reinforcement.

or the change from the cylinder to the cone of discharge in the silo in Figure 1c. .transition from one basic surface to another. there is a discontinuity in the direction of the in-plane forces (Figure 3a) that usually needs some kind of reinforcement ring to reduce the concentrated bending moments that occur in that area. the connections between the spherical ends in Figure 1b and the main cylindrical vessel. In these cases. for instance.

.

the longitudinal and ring stiffeners are replaced by a complicated lattice (Figure 4b). Local reinforcement is also often required at connections between shell structures. such as commonly occur in general piping work and in the offshore industry. the deposit (Figure 3b). the obvious location for the stiffeners is along selected meridians and parallel lines. creating in this way a true mesh which reinforces the pure shell structure (Figure 4a). On other occasions. increase the possibility of unstable configurations. it is possible to reduce the wall thickness to relatively small values. . global reinforcement is generally used to improve the overall shell behaviour. In contrast to local reinforcement.Containment structures also need perforations to allow the stored product (oil. cement. the high value of the shell diameter to thickness ratios can. To improve the buckling resistance. Because of the efficient way in which these structures carry load. which gives an aesthetically pleasing structure as well as mechanical improvements to the global shell behaviour. or extracted from. In these cases additional reinforcing plates are used (Figure 3d). where it is general practice to put an opening in the lower part of the post in order to facilitate access to the electrical works. The same problem is found in lighting columns (Figure 3c).) to be put in. grain. special reinforcement has to be added to avoid local buckling and to minimise disturbance to the general distribution of stresses. which help to resist the high stresses produced at the connections. In axisymmetric shells. the shell is usually reinforced with a set of stiffening members. therefore. etc. In these cases.

2. POSSIBLE FORMS OF BEHAVIOUR .

to be set up for equilibrium. In practice. the structure can react with only in-plane forces.There are two main mechanisms by which a shell can support loads. shows a load acting perpendicular to the shell which cannot be resisted by in-plane forces only. real structures have local areas where equilibrium or compatibility of displacements and deformations is not possible without introducing bending. Figure 5b. for instance. . This is a desirable situation. however. especially if the stress is tensile (Figure 5a). Figure 5c. shows that membrane forces only can be used to support a concentrated load if a corner is introduced in the shell. On the one hand. induced by transverse deflections. and which requires bending moments. however. because the material can be used to its full strength. in which case it is said to act as a membrane.

for certain types of vault roofs where the support is acting at the ends. as well as to bending and torsion. because sometimes the shell can be considered to act globally as a member.It is worthwhile also to distinguish between global and local behaviour. The length AB is subjected to axial and shear forces. under various loading conditions. where a tubular lighting column is loaded by wind and self-weight. can be modelled as a cantilever truss. the behaviour under vertical loads is similar to that of a beam. . The same applies in Figure 6b where an offshore jacket. and the global behaviour can be approximated very accurately using the member model. An obvious example is shown in Figure 6a. In addition.

. is often critical in determining structural adequacy.Local behaviour.linear behaviour. both from large displacements and from plastic material behaviour. are phenomena related to local buckling that introduce a new level of complexity into the study of shells. or the development of the so-called Yoshimura patterns (Figure 7b) in compressed cylinders. Dimpling in domes (Figure 7a). however. Non. Some extensions of the yield line theory can be used to analyse different possible modes of failure. has to be taken into account.

.

behaves like a system of struts-and-plates.e. 3. in shells the reaction transmission is done through saddles that produce a distributed load. The dashed lines represent the behaviour when imperfections are included in the analysis. resulting in a lower span to thickness ratio. A longitudinally-stiffened cylinder. they help to distribute the external loads and maintain the initial shape of the cross-section. the theoretical limits of bifurcation of equilibrium that can be reached using mathematical models are upper limits to the behaviour of actual structures. As in box girders. Figures 8a and 8b present the load-displacement relationship that is expected for a bar and a plate respectively. IMPORTANCE OF IMPERFECTIONS As was explained in previous lectures. . i. therefore. as soon as any initial displacement or shape imperfection is present. it can be said that the global action of shell structures takes advantage of the load-diffusion capacity of the surface and the stiffeners help to avoid local buckling by subdividing the surface into cells. special precautions have to be taken in relation to the diaphragms transmitting bearing reactions.To draw a comparison with the behaviour of stiffened plates. the curve is smoothed [2]. thus avoiding distortions that could eventually lead to local instabilities. the dashed line OA represents the linear behaviour that suddenly changes at bifurcation point B (solid line). The plate has an enhanced stiffness due to the membrane effect. transverse stiffeners behave in a similar manner to the diaphragms in a box girder. in a way that is analagous to a stiffened plate. On the other hand.

.

The high peak B is very sharp and the limit point G or H (relevant to different values of the imperfection) refers to a more realistic lower load than the theoretical bifurcation load. even though the dashed lines approach the solid line as the magnitude of the imperfection diminishes. Following B. buckling starts at local imperfections with the formation of outer and inner waves (Figure 9a). thus explaining why equilibrium. the post-buckling behaviour of a cylinder is completely different. i. Compared with the theoretically perfect shell. At the more advanced stages. In the first case. can be explained by examining the pattern of local buckling as the loading increases. whether it is force-controlled or displacement controlled. the compressive forces now precipitate buckling rather than resist it. along with the tensile membrane forces set up by the outer waves. a sudden change from point B to point F occurs (Figure 8c) which is called the snap-through phenomenon. tend to resist the buckling effect. Initially. compared with that of plates or bars. As a result. the curvature in these regions changes direction and becomes inward (Figure 9b). after the buckling load is reached. The behaviour of an actual imperfect shell is represented by the dashed line. the situation is highly dependent on the characteristics of the test. as these outer waves increase in size. After bifurcation.As can be seen in Figure 8c. it is evident that true bifurcation of equilibrium will not occur in the real structure. the point representing the state of equilibrium can travel along the secondary path BDC. The difference in behaviour. . in which the shell jumps suddenly between different buckling configurations. at this stage. the latter represent a flattening rather than a change in direction of the original curvature and set up compressive membrane forces which. can only be maintained by reducing the axial load.e.

the difference between theoretical and experimental values produces a wide scatter . when tests on actual structures are carried out.The importance of imperfections is such that.

it is clear that only a broad experimental series of tests on physical models can help in establishing the least lower-bound that could be used for a practical application. A critical stress. As the imperfections are unavoidable. Thus it is necessary to choose: 1. pcr. 2. longitudinal compression. 3.g. e. The structural type. the quality control on the finished work must be such that the experimental values can be used with confidence. To allow for this. the experimental results can only be used for a very narrow band of applications. σcr or τcr. A predefined pattern of reinforcement using stiffeners. which is the ratio of the lower bound of a great many scattered experimental buckling stresses or buckling . is calculated for the perfect elastic shell by means of a classical formula or method in which the parameters defining the geometry of the shell and the elastic constants of the steel are used.g.of results (see Figure 10). or a critical pressure. In addition. e. a circular cylinder. 2. A strict limitation on imperfection values. and a fixed set of boundary conditions. and depend very much on the quality of construction. σcr. 4. τcr or pcr is then multiplied by a knockdown factor α. In consequence. Codes of Practice [3] use the following procedure: 1. The type of loading.

O. such a trend is visible in Figure 10. Almroth. Shells are most efficient when resisting distributed loads. 1975. REFERENCES [1] Tossoji.O. plotted with that parameter as abscissa. respectively. Holden Day 1960.pressures (the buckling being assumed to occur in the elastic range) to σcr. Two modes of resistance are generally combined in shells: a membrane state in which the developed forces are in-plane. t.. α is supposed to account for the detrimental effect of shape imperfections. "Buckling of Steel Shells". D.. thickness. "Buckling of Bars. Bending is generally limited to zones where there are changes in boundary conditions. points to a correlation between the parameter and α. Ei. Imperfections play a substantial role in the behaviour of shells. 1988. τcr or pcr. [3] European Convention for Constructional Steelwork. [2] Brush. 5. α may be a function of a geometrical parameter when a general trend in the set of available test points. and a bending state where out-of-plane forces are present. codes introduce a knock-down factor to be applied to the results of mathematical models.. Plates and Shells". where the parameter is the radius of cylinder. ECCS. B. . or type of loads. "Philosophy of Structures". Their unpredictable nature makes the use of experimental methods essential. CONCLUDING SUMMARY • • • • • • The structural resistance of a shell structure is based on the curvature of its surface. 4. It also develops where local instability occurs. To simplify shell design. McGraw Hill. residual stresses and edge disturbances. Concentrated loads or geometrical changes generally require local reinforcement. divided by the wall thickness. European Recommendation. r.

Lecture 8.and post-buckling shell behaviour and to explain and compare the differences in behaviour with that of plates and bars. it is necessary to gain some understanding of the possible approaches to the analysis of shell response.2 and 8. are given.6 introduced several aspects of the structural behaviour of shells in an essentially qualitative way. therefore. 1. which can be used in design. and so both bending and stretching strains must be considered. Reference is also made to available computer programs that can be used for shell analysis. 2. that is. Before moving on to consider design procedures for specific applications.9.6.8 and 8. BENDING AND STRETCHING OF THIN SHELLS The deformation of an element of a thin shell consists of the curvatures and normal displacements associated with out-of-surface bending and the stretching and shearing of the middle surface. as assumed in the small deflection theory for flat plates. then these forces may be found from the three equilibrium conditions for an infinitely small element of the shell. SUMMARY: The combined bending and stretching behaviour of shell structures in resisting load is discussed. 6. presents the main principles of shell theory that underpin the ECCS design methods for unstiffened and stiffened cylinders. Comparisons are drawn with the behaviour of columns and plates previously discussed in Lectures 6. It should then be possible to appreciate the reasoning behind the actual design procedures covered in Lectures 8. their buckling behaviour is also explained and compared with that of struts and plates.7: Basic Analysis of Shell Structures OBJECTIVE/SCOPE: To describe the basic characteristics of pre.6. Bending deformation without stretching of the middle surface. is not possible.1. INTRODUCTION Lecture 8. If the shape and the boundary conditions of a shell and the applied loads are such that the loads can be resisted by membrane forces alone.1. The effect of imperfections is examined and ECCS curves. The equilibrium equations may be obtained from the equilibrium of forces in three directions. This Lecture. in the two principal directions of curvature and in the direction normal to the middle .

the three membrane forces can be obtained easily in the absence of bending and twisting moments and shear forces perpendicular to the surface. bending theory is required to evaluate the stress distribution. In this case. As a result. they greatly affect its load carrying resistance [1]. and because the wall is thin and has very little flexural resistance.surface. An example is an unsupported cylindrical shell subjected to uniform radial pressure over its entire area (Figure 1). . because an element of the shell cannot be in equilibrium without circumferential bending stresses. the only stress generated by the external pressure is a circumferential membrane stress. Circumferential bending stresses are essential to resist the external loads. The assumption does not hold if the cylinder is subjected to two uniform line loads acting along two diametrically opposed generators (Figure 2). Obviously.

Significant bending stresses usually only occur close to the boundaries. since it can result in a fatigue fracture. but they generally diminish at a small distance from the local disturbance. the resulting stresses may be quite high. . Locally. an originally straight axially loaded column will buckle by bowing laterally. or in the zone affected by other disturbances. It is normally more structurally efficient if a shell structure can be configured in such a way that it carries load primarily by membrane action. Simpler design calculations will usually also result. such as local loads or local imperfections.LINEAR AND NONLINEAR BUCKLING THEORY Buckling may be regarded as a phenomenon in which a structure undergoes local or overall change in configuration. Buckling is particularly important in shell structures since it may well occur without any warning and with catastrophic consequences [2-4]. For example. similarly a cylinder may buckle when its surface crumples under the action of external loads. Bending stresses may. however. 3. cause local yielding which can be very dangerous in the presence of repeated loadings. BUCKLING OF SHELLS .

v. represented by the displacements before (u0. In practice. v0. alternatively. the minimum potential energy criterion can be adopted to derive the linear stability equations. the results obtained by these analyses are adequate and in accordance with experiment. small increments (u1. The expression for the second variation of the potential energy of the shell in terms of displacements is calculated. through bifurcation on the main equilibrium path of a cylindrical shell. v1. These edge restraints are usually called "classical boundary conditions". No increment is given to the load parameter.3 for steel gives σcr = 0. for some problems. by use of the minimum potential energy criterion. Equation (2) is of little use to the designer because test results yield only 15-60% of this value. it can be explained as follows: .The equations for determining the load at which buckling is initiated. w0) and after the increment (u. In other cases. As an alternative. or. The function represented by (u1. v1. w0) u = u0 + u1 v = v0 + v1 (1) w = w0 + w1 The two adjacent configurations. The linear differential equations for loss of stability are then obtained by means of the Trefftz criterion. v0. The use of these methods leads to the following value for the axial buckling load of a perfect thin elastic cylinder of medium length: (2) Assuming ν = 0. The reason for the big discrepancy between theory and experimental results was not understood for a long time and has been the subject of many studies. may be derived by means of the adjacent equilibrium criterion.605 E This buckling load is derived on the assumption that the pre-buckling increase of the radius due to the Poisson effect is unrestrained and that the two edges are held against translational movement in the radial and circumferential directions during buckling. w1) are imposed on the pre-buckling displacements (u0. w1) is called the buckling mode. w) are analysed. the results can be positively misleading as they may substantially overestimate the actual carrying resistance of the shell. Readers requiring a more detailed coverage of shell buckling are advised to consult [4]. but are able to rotate about the local circumferential axis. In the first case. such as the buckling of an axially compressed cylinder.

The boundary conditions of the shells have a significant effect and can, if modified, give rise to lower critical loads. Many authors have investigated the effects of the boundary conditions on the buckling load of cylindrical shells. The value given by Equation (2) refers to a real cylinder only if the edges are prevented from moving in the circumferential direction, i.e. v = 0 (Figure 3). If this last condition is removed and replaced by the condition nxy = 0 (i.e. free displacement but no membrane stress in the circumferential direction) a critical value of approximately 50% of the classical buckling load is obtained. This boundary condition is quite difficult to obtain in practice and cylinders with such edge restraints are much less sensitive to imperfection than cylinders with classical boundary conditions; they are, therefore, not of primary interest to the designer. If, instead, the top edge of the cylinder is assumed to be free, the critical buckling load drops down to 38% of the critical value given by Equation (2). In general, it can be stated that if a shell initially fails with several small local buckles, the critical load does not depend to any great extent on the boundary conditions, but, if the buckles involve the whole shell, the boundary conditions can significantly affect the buckling load.

The critical buckling load may also be reduced by pre-buckling deformations. To take these deformations into account, the same boundary conditions in both the pre- and postbuckling range must be included. The consequence is that during the compression prior to buckling, the top and bottom edges cannot move radially (Poisson's ratio not being zero) and, therefore, the originally straight generators become curved. The post-buckling deformations are not infinitely small and the critical stress is reduced. The complete understanding of the reason for the large discrepancies between theoretical and experimental results in the buckling of shells has caused much controversy and

discussion, but now the explanation that initial imperfections are the principal cause of the phenomenon is generally accepted.

**4. POST-BUCKLING BEHAVIOUR OF THIN SHELLS
**

The starting point for this illustrative study of the post-buckling behaviour of a perfect cylinder, under axial compression (Figure 3), is Donnell's classical equations [2]. A suitable function for w (trigonometric) may be assumed and introduced into the compatibility equation, expressed in terms of w and of an adopted stress function F. The quadratic expressions can be transformed to linear ones by means of well known trigonometric relations. Then the stress function F, and as a consequence the internal membrane stresses, may be computed. The expression for the total potential energy can then be written, and minimized, to replace the equilibrium equation. The solution is improved by taking more terms for w. In Figure 4, the results obtained by using only two buckling modes are shown and compared with the curves obtained later, i.e. with a greater number of modes. The results show that the type of curve does not change by increasing the number of modes, but the lowest point of the post-buckling path decreases and can attain a value of about 10% of the linear buckling load. In the limiting case, i.e. where the number of terms increases to infinity, the lowest value of the post-buckling path tends to zero, while the buckling shape tends to assume the shape of the Yoshimura pattern (Figure 5). It is the limiting case of the diamond buckling shape that can be described by the following combination of axi-symmetric and chessboard modes.

(3)

.

a realistic theory for shell buckling has to take into account the unavoidable imperfections that appear in real structures. . As will be discussed later. Figure 6 shows the influence of imperfections on the strength of a cylinder subject to compressive loading and Figure 7 shows typical imperfections.It is worth noting that the buckling load associated with either the combination or the two single modes is the same and is given by Equation (2). A comprehensive overview of post-buckling theory is given in [5].

.

At that stage. as is . assuming weight loading. and on the buckling modes considered. CASTEM. this procedure yields the classical critical load. Applied to a simple shell. The buckling load of complex shell structures can. NASTRAN. NISA. w denotes the lateral deflection of the shell wall at some representative point. the pre-buckling behaviour of the structure is thus assumed to be linear. FINELG. however. ANSYS. BOSOR and FO4BO8 are some of the general and special purpose programs available. many of which use finite elements and have a stability option. and the buckling stress corresponds to that at the bifurcation point B which is found by means of an eigenvalue analysis (Figure 8a). STAGS. 2. NUMERICAL ANALYSIS OF SHELL BUCKLING Simple types of shells and loading are amenable to treatment by analytical methods. be assessed only be means of computer programs. ADINA. ABAQUS. Analysis of various types may be performed: 1.5. Non-linear collapse analysis enables successive points on the non-linear primary equilibrium path to be determined until the tangent to the path becomes horizontal at the limit point (Figure 8b). Geometrical changes in the pre-buckling range are ignored. The stability options and the reliability of the numerical results depend on the method of analysis underlying each specific program. Correct use of a complicated program requires the analyst to be well acquainted with the basis of the approach adopted in the program.

which is the ordinate of L. e. The lowest bifurcation point provides an estimate of the buckling load. Investigating bifurcation buckling from a non-linear pre-buckling state involves a search for secondary equilibrium paths (corresponding to different buckling modes. The limit load. causes the structure to "snap-through". General non-linear collapse analysis of an imperfect structure consists of determining the non-linear equilibrium path and the limit point L for a structure whose initial imperfections and plastic deformations are taken into account (Figure 8d). . 4.g.normally the case for engineering structures. different numbers of buckling waves along the circumference of an axi-symmetric shell) that may branch off from the non-linear primary path at bifurcation points located below the limit point (Figure 8c). non-linear collapse ("snap-through") occurs. 3.

BUCKLING AND POST-BUCKLING BEHAVIOUR OF STRUTS. in this case the critical failure mode depends on the degree of shallowness of the cap. PLATES AND SHELLS . for example. 6. to a spherical cap subjected to uniform radial pressure acting towards the centre of the sphere.The four load-deflection diagrams given in Figure 8 may relate.

are repeated here (Figure 9) for completeness. and a perfectly cylindrical shell. presented in the preceding Lecture 8.6.Equilibrium paths. . a perfectly flat plate supported along its four edges. for a perfectly straight column.

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Some minor cause of disturbance always exists. the equilibrium along BC is almost neutral (it is. but instantaneously increases and the member is set in (violent) motion. but the paths branching off from all the others represent highly unstable equilibrium and have no practical significance. in the sense that the conditions for equilibrium between external and internal forces are met. i. The great difference between the strut. Any point of the line OA. the deformation disappears when its cause is removed. If the new configuration is characterised by displacements with respect to the primary state of equilibrium which increase gradually from zero to high (theoretically infinite) values. although theoretically possible. if a minute accidental disturbance (a very small lateral force. in which the column. although less steeply than before.e. In fact. according to Hooke's law. which is located above B. represents. the plate deflects laterally. the plate and the shell remain perfectly straight. BC. σ represents the uniformly applied compressive stress. B is the lowest of an infinite number of bifurcation points. is reflected by the three straight lines OA. climbs above B. As long as σ < σcr. the secondary path. A state of unstable equilibrium. the effect of a disturbance. is very nearly horizontal.In each diagram. weakly stable). or the wall of the shell. They represent the pre-buckling. but in reality it curves imperceptibly upwards. flat and cylindrical. or fundamental state of equilibrium. does not disappear with its cause. and the member returns of its own accord to its previous configuration. therefore.e. respectively. i. unstable equilibrium. When the stress reaches its critical value. the plate. primary. but the equilibrium at points on BC is stable. deviating further and irreversibly from its previous equilibrium configuration. however. strictly speaking. . the post-buckling states of equilibrium are represented by points on a secondary equilibrium path which intersects with the primary path at the bifurcation point B. the plate and the cylinder is embodied in their post-buckling behaviour. σcr its critical value given by classical stability theory. the primary equilibrium is stable. and U the decrease in distance between the ends of the members. in the form of an initial shape imperfection or of an eccentricity of loading. Simple elastic shortening. cannot occur in real structures. a new equilibrium configuration appears at point B. more and more under a gradually increasing load. BC. Each point on the solid or dashed lines represents an equilibrium configuration which is at least theoretically possible. even an infinitely small one. σcr. This configuration is quite different from the primary one and features lateral deflections and bending of the strut. for example) causes a slight transverse deformation of the member. In the case of the column (Figure 9a). for example. For the plate (Figure 9b) the secondary path.

u. the abscissa of B. u. Some parts of these paths represent stable equilibrium.After bifurcation. . When the load. which correspond to different numbers of circumferential buckling waves and which have the same general shape as BDC. the overall shortening of the cylinder almost instantly increases from ucr to the abscissa of point F. plates and shells by the following argument illustrated by Figures 10. while other parts represent unstable equilibrium. hence. cannot really exist. of one plate of a supposedly rigid testing machine with respect to the other plate are imposed in a controlled manner. depends on the loading method. if it were possible to manufacture a perfect cylinder from material of unlimited linear elasticity and to support and load or deform it in the theoretically correct manner. Esslinger and Geier [5] explain the fundamentally different behaviour of columns. the point representing the state of equilibrium of an axially loaded cylinder (Figure 9c). after the initial snap-through from state B to state E. is controlled a different effect occurs. while the average compressive stress remains equal to σcr. The compressive stress drops at once from σcr to the ordinate of point E (only a fraction of σcr). and its wall suddenly exhibits deep buckles. in theory. finite displacements are involved in the transition between the equilibrium configurations represented by points B and E. It should be noted that this "snap-through" has dynamic characteristics which are not considered in this description. The equilibrium at points located below B on the solid curve is. can travel along the secondary path BDC. In contrast with bifurcation. buckles suddenly appear in the wall of the cylinder. a load = 2πrtσcr is imposed. rather than the displacement. the shell can jump repeatedly from one buckling configuration to another. if. What would happen after point B is reached. however. highly unstable and. When displacements. such an occurrence is called snap-through. The buckling process is further complicated by the existence of different intersecting equilibrium paths. while the shortening of the cylinder remains equal to ucr. 11 and 12. for example.

.

.

.

the smaller the initial . given by Equation (2). once buckling has started. Hence. given by the second term. cancels out the restoring force per unit length. equilibrium is conceivable only under decreasing axial load. due to the internal bending stresses. and more realistically in Figure 12e. Figure 12b gives a more accurate picture of an inward buckle of very small amplitude. for a given constant axial force Fcr. In the region of the inward buckles. the compressive external load required for equilibrium increases together with the lateral deformation and with the plate shortening u. due to the external loads. 1/r. but they then increase proportionately to the square of its lateral deflection. the solid lines provide an approximate picture . as long as the plate is flat. equilibrium of the column is independent of the magnitude of the transverse deformation and of u. Consequently. given by the first term. while inward displacements generate compressive membrane forces. They show that true bifurcation of equilibrium does not actually occur in the case of real structural members. it is seen that the original sign of the circumferential curvature of the shell wall is not reversed at the start of buckling. As a result. but also to transverse membrane forces (Figure 11d). Both the deflecting forces (Figure 10b) and the restoring forces (Figure 10c) are proportional to the lateral deflection. the compressive membrane forces in these areas no longer resist the appearance of dents. but precipitate them (Figure 12f). as a result. as shown in an exaggerated manner in Figure 12d. However. the total restoring effect of the membrane forces has now weakened substantially compared with the state prevailing at the bifurcation point. Increasing inward displacements cause the change of circumferential curvature to exceed the magnitude. Outward displacements of a curved surface cause tensile membrane forces. 7. of the original curvature of the cylinder. The restoring forces which balance the lateral forces (Figure 11b) deflecting a buckling plate (Figure 11a). The radial forces arising from the combination of the membrane forces with the curvature of the deformed cylinder. are shown in Figure 12c. IMPERFECTION SENSITIVITY The behaviour of actual imperfect components differs from the theoretical behaviour described above and is represented by the dotted curves in Figure 9. Figure 12a shows the radial component of the buckling pattern of a compressed cylinder at the bifurcation point. These radial forces all tend to counteract buckling. Hence the high resistance of a perfect cylinder to the initiation of buckling.The differential equation expresses the lateral equilibrium of any element of an axially loaded strut when bifurcation occurs (Figure 10a) by stating that the deflecting force per unit length. The upshot is that. which still has its initial sign. Fcr. the wall of the cylinder is now curved inwards and. are due not only to longitudinal and transverse bending moments (Figure 11c). The restoring forces due to membrane action are zero.

and therein lies the significance of the bifurcation buckling concept. Owing to the imperfection of a real cylinder. It may vary from slight to extreme. Nominally identical shells collapse under markedly different loads because the unintentional actual imperfections of such shells. σcr. for the perfect shell. and because an appreciable decrease in ultimate load may result from slightly larger imperfections.imperfections. the curve must jump horizontally from G or H towards the right hand branch of the curve. The dotted lines in Figures 9a and 9b. that normally part of the wall material is strained into the plastic range and so the buckling phenomenon. feature a limit point. One can conclude from Figure 9b that the equilibrium path of an imperfect plate may not exhibit any discontinuity when the compressive stress increases beyond σcr. as erected.of the behaviour of the component. Due to gradual changes in the geometry of a perfect structure. even for the same kind of shell under different loading conditions. The culminating point G or H (Figure 9c) of the dotted line. is almost always catastrophic. As a summary two points can be established: 1. σuG or σuH (Figure 9c). and due to buckles which are so deep. are different in magnitude and in distribution. is at a much lower level than the bifurcation point. A sweeping generalization to the effect that all shells are always very sensitive to deviations from the perfect shape would be unwarranted. The lower dotted curve is the equilibrium path for a cylinder with somewhat larger imperfections. One should not infer from the description in the preceding paragraph that only imperfect structural components display behaviour characterized by a limit point. Raising the stress beyond σcr for the perfect plate does not bring about immediate ultimate failure. this reserve may be considerably greater than the bifurcation buckling load. and also that the plate may possess a considerable post-buckling strength reserve. its primary equilibrium path may be nonlinear from the outset of loading and. of the steel shell is so large. For example. Both the column and the plate finally fail by yielding caused by excessive bending. called a limit point. indeed. the imperfection sensitivity of cylindrical shells under uniform external pressure is quite low. When the loading is due to weight and happens to correspond to the limit point. It can be seen that the carrying resistance of the strut is not much lower than the theoretical buckling load. have been drawn for a column and a plate with slight initial curvature. even when the amplitude of the initial deviations from the perfect cylindrical shape is minute. the dotted equilibrium path does not display the very sharp high peak B which is a feature of the theoretical equilibrium path OBDC. u. If it is thin. in this case a snap-through or non-linear collapse. The concomitant shortening. even though the imperfections may be hardly perceptible. 2. the truer the picture is . The imperfection sensitivity depends on the type of shell and loading. is much lower than the theoretical critical stress. whilst the . provided that the imperfection is not too great. The real collapse stress.

Fcr. and therefore probably of considerably larger size than the principal initial dents and bulges. are short in both the longitudinal and the circumferential direction. In conclusion. Small initial imperfections. under axial load. Behaviour is also affected by the appearance of plastic deformations in the steel and. in some cases. The non-linear structural behaviour of the shell may be due to the latter. Fu. tend to deepen under increasing load and to trigger off a snap-through at an early loading stage.same shells are highly imperfection sensitive when they are compressed in the meridional direction. compared to the diameter. which may occur anywhere on the surface of the cylinder and which are likely to have roughly the same shape as some of the critical buckles. however. by the presence of stiffeners. the buckling modes are characterised by waves which. Figure 13b gives the factors proposed by ECCS to reduce the theoretical buckling load to values appropriate for design. Any realistic theoretical treatment of the buckling problem is complicated further by the existence of residual stresses due to cold or hot forming and/or due to welding. as well as to changes in the geometry resulting from the deformation of the shell. and less numerous in the hoop direction. imperfections are the main cause of the large difference between the ultimate load obtained in tests and the theoretical buckling load. Another factor that should be mentioned as contributing to the imperfection sensitivity of axially loaded cylinders is the multiplicity of different buckling modes associated with the same bifurcation load. for axially loaded cylinders are given for different r/t ratios. A wide scatter of results for nominally identical shells can be seen in Figure 13a where the ratio of experimental buckling loads. against the theoretical values. . consists of buckles which are long in the meridional direction. The difference relates to the buckling mode. The buckling pattern under external pressure.

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shell buckling analysis can be applied only to special structures which have been manufactured/constructed using strict quality control procedures that minimise imperfections. in industrial applications.. There are fundamental differences in initial buckling behaviour between shells and plates.. Tokyo. buckling may be the critical limit state due to slenderness effects. [2] Flügge. 1959. Springer-Verlag. [3] Bushnell. S. 1985. 1967. New York. . S. "Computerised Buckling Analysis of Shells". "Theory of Plates and Shells". D. "Stresses in Shells".. Dordrecht. For shell structures. CONCLUDING SUMMARY • • • • • Bending and stretching are the modes by which shell structures carry loads. Imperfections are the main cause of the very significant difference between the theoretical and the experimental buckling load.8. and Woinowsky-Krieger. 9. Martinus Nijhoff Publishers. REFERENCES [1] Timoshenko. In practice. McGrawHill. New York and Kogakusha. W.

S.. . W.. 1961.. Tokyo.". J. T. 1945. Delft. ADDITIONAL READING 1. "Buckling and Post Buckling Behaviour of ThinWalled Circular Cylinders".T. International Colloquium on Progress of Shell Structures in the last 10 years and its future development. B.J. "Over de Stabilitteit van het Elastisch Evenwicht Diss. M. Amsterdam.Paris. H. and Geier. M. McGraw-Hill. [5] Esslinger. 1969.. Koiter.[4] Timoshenko. and Gere. 10. New York and Kogakusha. Madrid.M. "Theory of Elastic Stability".

such as geometry. INTRODUCTION In Lectures 8. imperfections and residual stresses. axial compression and external pressure. Even very small imperfections can cause a substantial drop in the buckling load of the shell. on the boundary conditions. The boundary conditions affect the critical buckling load and.Lecture 8. SUMMARY The buckling behaviour of a cylindrical shell depends on several key parameters. iv. iii. certain sets of boundary conditions can result in significantly lower buckling loads compared to those corresponding to other sets. it is worth recalling the following points: i. may be calculated using classical methods. The lecture presents the relevant design procedure contained in the ECCS Shell Buckling Recommendations [1] and briefly discusses alternative methods and identifies the important differences. to some extent. In particular. boundary conditions and type of loading. clearly specifying the range over which the design predictions are valid. To identify the key parameters influencing behaviour and to present a design procedure.8: Design of Unstiffened Cylinders OBJECTIVE/SCOPE To describe the buckling behaviour of cylindrical shells subjected to two different types of external loading. and. A reliable and economic procedure for the design of cylindrical shells against buckling should take into account all the above parameters. 1. such as uniform axial compression. The critical (bifurcation) buckling load of a perfect thin elastic cylinder under idealised loading. Geometric imperfections caused by manufacturing are the main cause of the significant differences between critical buckling loads calculated using classical methods and experimental buckling loads. ii. based on the European recommendations.7 several aspects that influence the structural behaviour of shells have been introduced and the main principles of shell theory have been presented. material characteristics. acting independently or in combination. The sensitivity to imperfection depends primarily on the type of shell and type of loading. It may vary from moderate to .6 and Lecture 8. for the same shell and type of loading.

e. axial compression and external pressure. UNSTIFFENED CYLINDERS UNDER AXIAL COMPRESSION General Considerations When a cylindrical shell is subjected to uniform axial compression (Figure 1) buckling can occur in two possible modes: • Overall column buckling. if the l/r ratio is large. is first described qualitatively.g. . This type of buckling does not involve local deformation of the cross-section and can be analysed using methods for columns. It will not be examined further in this lecture. This lecture deals with the design of unstiffened cylinders. The interaction behaviour for the two types of loading is also discussed. a cylinder under axial compression is extremely sensitive to imperfections whilst the same shell under external pressure exhibits much lower imperfection sensitivity. For example. even for the same shell geometry under different loading or boundary conditions. the Perry-Robertson formula. The buckling behaviour under two different types of loading. An appropriate design procedure based on the ECCS Shell Buckling Recommendations [1] is then presented. 2.extreme.

which involves local deformation of the cross-section. where the displacements are constant around any circumferential section. where waves are formed in both axial and circumferential directions. Figure 2(a). and can. . or asymmetric (also called chessboard).• Shell buckling. be either: axisymmetric. in general. Figure 2(b).

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Assuming simply-supported boundary conditions (w = 0 and mx = 0. . σcr. see Figure 3) that also preclude tangential displacements at both edges (v = 0) the critical elastic buckling stress.It can be shown theoretically that both modes of shell buckling correspond to the same critical buckling load. is given by: σcr = where (1) E is the elastic modulus t is the cylinder thickness r is the cylinder radius ν is Poisson's ratio It is worth noting that the critical buckling stress is independent of the length of the cylinder.

Axisymmetric buckling is more often encountered in short and/or relatively thick cylinders. If. If one of the cylinder ends is free (w ≠ 0) the critical buckling stress drops to 38% of that given by Equation (1). Asymmetric buckling is more common in thin and/or relatively long cylinders. the cylinder is clamped at both ends. . however. the increase in the critical buckling stress is not that significant from a design point of view. rather than being simply supported.

In addition plasticity effects. Imperfection sensitivity is taken into account in design codes by introducing a "knock-down" factor. the critical stress drops to about 50% of the value given by Equation (1). loading conditions. α. initial imperfection amplitude and other factors and is normally evaluated from comparison with experimental results. . Figure 4 shows a typical distribution of test data for cylinders subjected to axial compression together with a typical design curve. Equation (1) cannot be used directly for design because cylindrical shells are extremely sensitive to imperfections under axial compression.On the other hand. The "knock-down" factor is in general a function of shell geometry.3]. which are important for a certain range of cylinder geometries. the cylinder is sensitive to the tangential displacement at the boundaries [2. so that the product ασcr represents the buckling load of the imperfect shell. The "knock-down" factor is selected so that a high percentage of experimental results (for example. If it is not prevented (v ≠ 0). 95%) should have buckling loads higher than the corresponding loads predicted by the design method. must be taken into account.

Ideally. The experimental databases used by various codes in estimating "knock-down" factors can vary substantially. Currently. limited or inappropriate data. the design method should specify the maximum allowable level of imperfections. very few design methods are valid for larger imperfections and the importance of adhering to the stated tolerances cannot be over-emphasized. design predictions for the buckling load of . For this reason. may lead to erroneous "knock-down" factors. These tolerances are related to the imperfection amplitudes measured in the tests used in determining the appropriate "knock-down" factors. It is true to say that some design proposals are based on old.Due to the high sensitivity to imperfections. It should be noted that the use of experimental databases containing a large number of test specimens which are not representative of full-scale manufacturing. the tolerances should not be so strict that they cannot be achieved using normal manufacturing processes. Clearly. the design method should also enable a designer to evaluate the buckling load of a cylinder with imperfections which exceed the allowable limits.

using either a straight rod or a circular template. The ECCS Design Procedure The general philosophy adopted in the ECCS recommendations [1] is given in [6]. together with some clarifying comments. see Figure 3. and also for geometries that do not exceed the following geometric limit: (2) This limit is imposed to preclude the possibility of overall column buckling interacting with shell buckling. The proposed method is valid for cylinders that satisfy w = v = 0 at the supports. They should be checked anywhere on the surface of the shell. The cylinder should also satisfy the imperfection tolerances. The design method for axially compressed cylinders is presented below. . References [4.5] present comparisons between various codes and attempt to explain the reasons for the observed differences.e. i. radial and tangential displacements prevented. as shown schematically in Figure 5.nominally identical cylinder geometries can vary substantially.

is given by: λ= (5) where σcr is the elastic critical buckling stress of a perfect cylinder given by Equation (1) α is the "knock-down" factor.01 lr (3) The strength requirement for cylinders under uniform axial compression is given by: σd ≤ σu (4) where σd is the applied axial compressive stress (characteristic load effect). where fy is the specified characteristic yield stress. where σu/fy is plotted against a slenderness parameter. or. σu is the design value of the buckling stress (characteristic resistance). Thus. = 0. The proposed method is schematically shown in Figure 6.The length of the rod or template. the value of the ratio σu/fy. residual stresses and edge disturbances. the objective is to determine the value of σu. . is related to the size of the potential buckles [1]. which accounts for the detrimental effect of imperfections. This parameter is defined as: . lr. equivalently. The allowable imperfection. λ.

when the buckling stress of the imperfect shell is less than half of the characteristic value of the yield stress). a value of 3/4 is recommended for l/γ . . two regions are defined. for ασcr ≤ 0. whereas λ ≤ buckling.5fy).e. defines the region of plastic For λ ≥ or. For λ ≤ (ασcr ≥ 0. it is deemed that elastic buckling governs and the design curve is given by σu/fy = (1/γ) (1/λ2)(6a) where 1/γ is an additional safety factor introduced for this type of geometry and loading to account for the extreme sensitivity to imperfections and the unfavourable postbuckling behaviour. material non-linearities also play a role (plastic buckling) and the design curve is given by: .5fy (i.As can be seen from Figure 6. equivalently. the first. for which λ ≥ defines the region of elastic buckling.

4123 λ1.σu/fy = 1 . It is worth pointing out the dependence of α on cylinder slenderness.2 (6b) The "knock-down" factor α. which appears in Equation (5). which are plotted in Figure 7. has been derived from comparisons with experimental results and is determined from the following equations. These equations are applicable if the amplitude of the imperfections anywhere on the shell is less than or equal to the value given by Equation (3). α= for r/t < 212 (7a) . r/t.0.

g. Although a slight. meridional strips of the cylinder wall buckle like strips of a "wide" plate under compression and do not exhibit the sensitivity to imperfections associated with shell-type behaviour. In this case σu is given by: For σE ≤ 0.α= for r/t > 212 (7b) Details of the experimental database used in deriving these equations are presented in [7]. furthermore. a cylinder resting on a number of point supports. In this case. practically unavoidable unevenness of the supports of the cylinder is covered by the "knock-down" factor α. rather than by shell buckling. The design method does not cover cylinders loaded over part of their circumference. as would be expected from a physical point of view. that there is a smooth transition from elastic to plastic buckling at the change-over of formulae. very short cylinders fail by plate-type buckling which depends on the length of the cylinder. Finally.5 fy (plastic buckling) σu = fy (8b) where σE is the elastic critical buckling stress of a "wide" plate of length l and thickness t.01 lr ≤ ≤ 0. However. e.02 lr linear interpolation between α and α/2 gives the required "knock-down" factor. If the maximum amplitude of the actual cylinder imperfections is twice the value given by Equation (3) then the value of the "knock-down" factor given by Equations (7a) and (7b) is halved. It is also worth noting in Figure 6 that σu/fy approaches unity for very stocky cylinders (λ close to 0) and. given by . When 0. the above procedure covers shell buckling design of cylinders satisfying the limit imposed by Equation (2).5 fy (elastic buckling) σu = σE (8a) For σE ≥ 0. care must be exercised to introduce the compressive forces uniformly into the cylinder and to avoid edge disturbances.

both Equations (6) and (8) should be evaluated and the higher value taken for σu. or it may be applied all round the cylindrical shell. However.σE = (9) In general. i. .e. comparing Equation (6a) and Equation (8a). UNSTIFFENED CYLINDERS UNDER EXTERNAL PRESSURE General Considerations External pressure may be applied either purely radially. this is true when < (10) 3. that is both radially and axially (Figure 8(b)) as "external hydrostatic pressure loading". as "external pressure loading" (Figure 8(a)). for any particular geometry. Equation (8) gives a value higher than Equation (6) only for very short cylinders. It is quite easy to work out that for elastic buckling.

the hoop stress σθ . in the pre-buckling state away from the supports is related to the applied pressure.For external lateral pressure. by a simple expression: σθ = (r/t) p (11) . p.

This case will be examined in Section 4. This difference has been demonstrated both theoretically and experimentally and is reflected in the "knock-down" factors used in design. Furthermore. possibly due to the different theoretical approaches adopted (see also [4]). forming at buckling. pcr pcr = (12) As can be seen. namely sensitivity to imperfections and plasticity effects. The sensitivity to imperfections of cylindrical shells under external pressure is not as severe as under axial compression. at the supports) and neglecting the effect of boundary conditions on the pre-buckling state.In this case.5σθ . n. pcr depends on shell geometry. cylinders should be circular to . subjected to combined axial and pressure loading. for example using the so-called Donnell equations for "shallow" shells giving good results provided that the value of n minimising pcr is greater than two [3]. the hoop stress is again given by Equation (11) but the axial stress σx = 0. considerable differences exist between various codes [5]. Pressure due to wind loading is not covered by this method. where the complete interaction behaviour is described. The ECCS Design Procedure The procedure described below applies only to uniform external pressure. Assuming classical simply supported conditions (v = w = 0 and nx = mx = 0. For reasons similar to those mentioned in Section 2. E and ν. for a given geometry and material. This is known as the von Mises critical pressure. In the latter case. Thus. Despite the reduced imperfection sensitivity. in fact. the cylinder is. the value obtained from Equation (12) is not directly suitable for design. Equation (12) must be minimised with respect to n in order to obtain the lowest pcr. it is possible to derive the elastic critical buckling pressure of the cylinder. the axial stress σx = 0. Simpler expressions for pcr have also been developed. the material characteristics. and the number of complete circumferential waves. For external hydrostatic pressure. and in particular the ratios l/r and t/r.

as discussed in [8]. Furthermore. pu is the design pressure (characteristic resistance). At least 24 equally spaced points around the circumference should be chosen in order to establish whether the cylinder satisfies this out-of-roundness tolerance. when pu = py the cylinder is so stocky that buckling plays no part in determining the design pressure. the procedure is valid for cylinders having the "classical" simple supports during buckling (i. pcr.5% of the radius measured from the true centre. The expression for β is given by β= + (16) A chart is also given in [1] which can be used in the evaluation of β min. The strength requirement is given by: pd ≤ pu (13) where pd is the applied uniform external pressure (characteristic load effect). The equation has the following form: pcr = E (t/r) β min (15) where βmin is the minimum value of β with respect to n. Finally. which is a slight modification of the von Mises equation (12).e. β min may be approximately estimated from . the elastic critical buckling pressure is calculated using a formula. it follows that py = (t/r)fy (14) Clearly. Then. From Equation (11). nx = v = w = mx = 0) and does not apply to cylinders which have one or two free edges. at which the hoop stress at cylinder mid-length reaches the yield stress. The first step consists of calculating the pressure py.within 0.

the value of pu/py is obtained from the curve shown in Figure 9. .5. elastic buckling takes place and the design pressure is determined from pu/py = α/λ2 (19) where α is the "knock-down" factor to account for the imperfection sensitivity. α is independent of shell slenderness. r/t. From the results of about 700 tests.5. an appropriate slenderness parameter is defined by λ= (18) If λ ≥ 1. 0 ≤ λ ≤ 1. Notice that. in contrast to the "knock-down" factor relevant to axial compression.βmin = for l/r ≥ 0. α = 0. In the plastic region. in this case. (17) Having calculated py and pcr.

combined axial compression and lateral pressure is often encountered in offshore design practice. . For example.This curve is closely approximated by the following expression: pu/ py = 1/(1+λ2) (20) 4. UNSTIFFENED CYLINDERS UNDER AXIAL COMPRESSION AND EXTERNAL PRESSURE Buckling of unstiffened cylinders under combined loading is of considerable interest to designers.

The ECCS recommendations [1]. the cylinder must comply with the imperfection tolerances outlined in Sections 2 and 3. Buckling under combined axial and pressure loading can be quite sensitive to imperfections. Furthermore. . They are based on a much more limited number of experiments compared to the number used for the two basic cases reviewed in Sections 2 and 3. adopt a simple piece-wise linear interaction based on the buckling strength under axial compression or external pressure acting alone.The available design recommendations are mostly empirical. in common with some other codes. The cylinder must be constrained so that v = w = 0 at both ends. The interaction curve is shown in Figure 10. especially in cases where the loading is dominated by axial compression.

derive appropriate "knock-down" factors using reliable experimental data. loading and boundary conditions and hence. A reduction due to the simultaneous presence of axial compression is not deemed necessary. ⋅ the effect of boundary conditions. the axial compression is higher than this limiting value then the design strength is reduced linearly as expressed by Equation (21c). Experimental evidence has shown that this interaction diagram is conservative. ⋅ the interaction between elastic buckling and yielding. ⋅ the limitations that must be imposed on allowable imperfections due to available experimental data and the characteristics of the manufacturing processes. A good design procedure must consider: ⋅ the imperfection sensitivity. pd) should satisfy the following two conditions: I: σd ≤ σu (21a) II: or ≤ 1 if σd ≤ (21b) ≤ 1 if σd > (21c) Equation (21b) states that if the applied axial compression is less than or equal to that produced by applying uniform hydrostatic pressure. appropriate to the geometry.Any combination of σd/σu and pd/pu falling within the region defined by the two straight lines is safe. The main steps for the two single loading cases are similar and can be summarised as follows: . CONCLUDING SUMMARY • • The buckling behaviour of unstiffened cylinders under axial compression and external pressure has been described and the key parameters have been identified. 5. the applied loads (σd. Thus. • The procedure proposed by the ECCS recommendations has been presented. then the design pressure corresponding to uniform external pressure may be achieved. If however.

having uniform thickness and subjected to idealised loading distributions. [4] Beedle L S. on Land. design recommendations are limited to shells of revolution only. Supple W J and Walker A C. Der Stahlbau. Design Philosophy and Practical Applications". 6. "Collapse of stiffened cylinders under external pressure". "Buckling of Circular Cylindrical Shells under Axial Load in the Elastic-Plastic Region". Theory of Elastic Stability.European Convention for Constructional Steelwork . 1984. Fourth Edition. 3. [3] Brush D O and Almroth B O. 1972.. modify the value from step (2) to account for plastic buckling. Calculate the "knock-down" factor and. 2. hence. various problems arise which are not covered in any of the current design codes [6]. in "Buckling of Shell Structures. S B. Plates and Shells. [5] Ellinas C P. [8] Kendrick. [7] Vandepitte D and Rathe J. "The ECCS Recommendations on Shell Stability. [2] Timoshenko S P and Gere J M. 1975. Paper C190/72 in proc. 261-264. 1991. boundary conditions and imperfections. Depending on shell slenderness. REFERENCES [1] ECCS . Determine the elastic critical buckling stress of the perfect shell. McGraw-Hill. Engrs. pp. in the Sea and in the Air". S.Buckling of Steel Shells European Recommendations. on Vessels under Buckling Conditions.1. In practical applications. McGraw-Hill. Previous | Next | Contents . Instn of Mech. Elsevier Applied Science. In general. Conf. Granada. Stability of Metal Structures: A World View. [6] Samuelson L A. 1982. 1988. London. the buckling stress of the imperfect shell. J F Jullien (ed). Structural Stability Research Council. Much work remains to be done in this area and shell designers should try to keep in touch with new developments. Buckling of Offshore Structures. • • The designer should be fully aware of the idealisations made in the design models and of their limitations in respect of loading. 369-373. Buckling of Bars. 1991. Heft 12. 1980.

7 several aspects that influence the structural behaviour of shells have been introduced and the main principles of the shell theory have been presented. In this lecture the general aspects of the buckling behaviour of stiffened shells are presented and. In particular it has been shown how the buckling strength of shell structures is influenced by residual stresses. SUMMARY The buckling behaviour of stiffened shell structures is presented and the different types of failure are discussed. the dominant mode of failure is the one relevant to the lowest buckling load. Buckling of the stringers themselves must also be prevented. If the two phenomena occur at about the same load the interaction . or by a combination of the two. BUCKLING OF STIFFENED SHELLS The shell may fail by overall buckling. is presented. there is no interaction and. 2. For these reasons axially compressed cylindrical shells often fail at a buckling strength considerably lower than the theoretical elastic value. based on the European recommendations. INTRODUCTION In Lectures 8. A practical design procedure. The buckling strength of cylindrical shells is often improved by the use of circumferential and/or longitudinal stiffeners. for stringer stiffened cylinders subject to axial load is presented. as an example of the application of practical design procedures. If the critical loads relevant to the first two kinds of buckling differ from each other. Their size. The design procedure relevant to this problem. and in some cases by the eccentricity of the load and by the boundary conditions. 1.9: Design of Stringer-Stiffened Cylindrical Shells OBJECTIVE/SCOPE To describe the buckling behaviour of stiffened shells and to analyse the different types of failure. of course.Lecture 8. the buckling behaviour of stringer stiffened axially compressed cylinders is treated. The shell has to be designed with respect to local shell buckling (limited to the shell panel between the stiffeners) and the stiffened panel buckling (or bay instability) in which both the shell panel and the stringers participate. by local buckling. as proposed by ECCS recommendations [1]. geometric imperfections.6 and Lecture 8. spacing and position on the outside or inside of the cylinder surface are factors that complicate the buckling behaviour of the shell.

the design procedure of a stiffened shell (Figure 1) subjected to axial compression and bending must consider the following types of failure: .3].of the two types of buckling can theoretically cause a considerable reduction of the critical load. In general. The buckling modes interact because of the non-linear relations governing post-buckling and cause a sharp drop in the post-buckling load bearing resistance [2.

Local buckling of the individual stiffeners (Figure 4). Local buckling encompassing several stiffeners (stiffened panel buckling) (Figure 3). . Local buckling between stiffeners (panel buckling) (Figure 2).• • • • Overall column buckling or yielding (if L/r ratio is large).

.• Local yielding of the shell or of the stiffeners.

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3. The properties of the stiffeners are: . In what follows the procedure proposed in the ECCS Recommendations [1] for the case of a cylindrical shell with longitudinal stiffeners and subject to meridional compression is examined. CYLINDRICAL SHELLS WITH LONGITUDINAL STIFFENERS AND SUBJECTED TO MERIDIONAL COMPRESSION In the ECCS design rules for a circular cylindrical shell with longitudinal stiffeners and subjected to axial compression and/or bending. it is assumed that the stringers are distributed uniformly along the circumference of the cylinder (Figure 1). Ring stiffened or orthogonally stiffened shells are not treated here but the relevant design recommendations are similar to those presented here for stringer stiffened shells and may be found in [1].The longitudinal stiffeners (stringers). are frequently used to increase the axial or bending resistance of cylinders. which may be placed on the outside of the shell wall or on the inside.

01 lr when 0 ≤ ≤ 0.As is the cross-section area of the stiffener only EIs is the bending stiffness of the stiffener only about the centroidal axis parallel to the cylinder wall GCs is the torsional stiffness of the stiffener only es is the distance between the shell midsurface and the stiffener centroid.0015 lg and See (3) for details.06 (4) The limits given for also apply to the initial circumferential out-of-straightness which is the lateral misalignment of the stiffeners attachment to the shell (Figure 5).0015 lg when ≥ 0. Cs may be evaluated by the formula for open sections consisting of flat strips (1) The following recommendations apply when As < 2bt. LIMITATION OF THE IMPERFECTIONS The initial imperfections of the shell panel between the stiffeners must be limited. The inward and outward lack of straightness of the stiffener in the radial direction shall not exceed the following values: ≤ 0. (positive for an outside stiffener). The limitations are similar to those stated in Lecture 8.8 for unstiffened cylinders. Also the initial tilt of the stringer web and of the stringer flange (Figure 6) shall be limited by: (5) . ≤ 0. GCs < 10bt3E/[12(1-ν2)] (2) 4. Is < 15 bt3.06 (3) ≤ 0.

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STRENGTH CONDITIONS The design value of the extreme meridional acting stress is obtained from: (6) where: ts = t + The shell must be designed with respect to local shell bucking (subscript l) which is limited to the shell panels between the stringer (Figure 2).5. and stiffened panel buckling (Figure 3) or bay instability (subscript p) in which both the shell panel and the stringers .

They are in fact the values determined from Equations (8) and (9) reduced to (αl σcr. αl is given by Equation (13) of [1].02 lr.6 E(t/b)2 [b/√(rt) > 2. For a cylindrical panel. σcr. l = 3. also for imperfection sensitivity. where αl accounts for the imperfections and γ accounts for the imperfection sensitivity. while γ is taken equal to 4/3.0 Thus the following design values of the elastic shell buckling stress are obtained for an imperfect panel: σul1 = ¾αo × 0.605E(t/r) σcr. in the case of cylindrical panel buckling.02 lr and obtained by linear interpolation if is in the range between 0. l.44] [b/√(rt) ≤ 2.44] (8) (9) The use of Equation (9) implies the neglect of the torsional rigidity of the stringers and of the post-buckling reserve of resistance of the supposedly flat panel. σul. = 0. Buckling of webs or flanges of the stiffeners themselves should be prevented by limiting the ratio of certain stringer cross-section dimensions (Figure 4). For plane panels the following factors are assumed: αl = 0.5fy. The value of the compressive stress causing local shell buckling is denoted by σul while the value of the stress relevant to the stiffened panel buckling is denoted by σup. The elastic local shell buckling stress. for an imperfect panel is the higher of the stresses σul1 and σul2.participate. for a perfect shell panel between stringers may be taken equal to the higher of the two critical stresses for a perfect complete cylinder a perfectly flat plate σcr. provided that neither 4σul1 /3 nor σul2 exceeds 0.6 E (t/b)2 (10) (11) . LOCAL PANEL BUCKLING The elastic critical stress.83 x 3.01 lr and 0. The design value σd of the highest meridional acting stress shall not exceed any of the two buckling stresses σd ≤ σul and σd ≤ σup (7) 6. l reduced to account for imperfections and. l / γ) by a factor αl and a partial safety factor γ. σul1 and σul2 are the stresses σcr. halved if the imperfection is equal to 0.605E(t/r) σul2 = 0.83 and γ = 1. l.

83 x 3.6 E > 0.5 fy. plastic deformation comes into play and σul is the higher of the stresses σul1 and σul2 obtained from: if 0.605 αo E > 0. STIFFENED PANEL BUCKLING The elastic critical stress for a perfect stiffened cylindrical shell is given by: (14) for n = 0 or n ≥ 4 and m ≥ 1 where ts is defined in Equation (6) and the quantities A11 to A33 are defined in the following way: (15) .5 fy (12) if 0.5 fy (13) 7.When either 4σul1 /3 or σul2 exceeds 0.

n = 0 represents axisymmetric buckling. may be obtained. only the influence of local shell buckling and of yielding on the effective width is considered in Equation (17). be.9t√(Ε/fy) ≤ be = b√(αl σcr. must be chosen so that expression (14) is minimised. Evaluation of the torsional stiffness. The critical stress resulting from Equation (14) is valid only if the stringers are spaced so closely that their number. In practice. The half wave number in the longitudinal direction. ns. which has a marked influence on σcr..605 αo E(t/r) and 0. and the full wave number in the circumferential direction.1). p. of the stringers. is not always straightforward. n = 1 represents column buckling. Because in practical applications the stringers are spaced rather closely. but decimal values for m and n may be allowed in the minimizing processes. fulfils the condition ns ≥ 3. This concept was introduced first within the theory of buckling of plane panels (Lecture 8. Equation (14) should be used with circumspection.l/σcr. When n = 2 or 3 the results of the minimization process may contain an error of the order of 20 to 25% on the unsafe side. indicates the effective width of the panel (Figure 7). The most common way of considering the post-buckling strength is to substitute an idealised stress distribution for the actual one such that the maximum stress and the average stress are conserved. from 1.6E(t/b)2.83x3. Setting Cs = 0 in Equation (15). the effective panel width. m and n are integers. but not explicitly. m. n. . See for example Figure 7b where the maximum stress σmax is the same as in Figure 7a and the dashed areas have the same resultant. l is the higher of the values 0. The stress distribution in plan or curved panels becomes non-linear when the load exceeds the buckling limit (Figure 7a).p) ≤ b (17) where αl σcr. GCs.5 n (16) Although comparisons with experiments have shown that Equation (14) yields safe results even for numbers ns well below the limit of Equation (16). .

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p for a mild steel cylinder having the following characteristics: . As a starting trial value of be take b. p and be must be determined through the iterative procedure depicted in Figure 8 which can easily be implemented into a computer program.p are almost equal. σcr. The iteration process is stopped when successive values of be and σcr.The lower limit of the effective width (Equation 17) was originally proposed by von Karman. a new value of be may be obtained. When b>1. after the introduction of the tentative value σcr. be should be set equal to b. expression (14) minimized and.9 t . If b ≤ 1. then the quantities A11 to A33 may be calculated. Example Evaluate σcr. p into Equation (17).9t .

which includes the effective width be according to Equation (17).4 b which. in this case. is von Karman's lower bound of Equation (17).65 when > 0. The stiffened panel buckling stress for an imperfect stiffened cylinder may be obtained from: σup = where: αsp σcr. . αo is the knockdown factor for an unstiffened cylinder of radius r and thickness t (see Lecture 8. As the stringer stiffeners decrease the imperfection sensitivity of meridionally compressed cylinders.5 fy. yields the minimum σcr.06 and also when < 60 αsp may be obtained by linear interpolation in the intermediate range of provided that αsp σcr. the value αsp is higher than αo when the stiffening effect is fairly substantial. The final effective width gives be = 0. which may be used when the stringers are flat bars.8). p (18) αsp = 0. n=11.5 fy = 240 Nmm-2 hw /tw = 10 Applying the iterative procedure of Figure 8. An alternative procedure for determining σcr. They must be corrected to include the effect of imperfections. It is based on charts and contains also a non-iterative method to evaluate σcr.6 ns = ns(min) outside flat bar stringer E = 205000 Nmm-2 As /(bt) = 0.r/t = 1000 l/r = 1. The results obtained so far are referred to the perfect panel. p. p ≤ 0. p = 202 Nmm-2 for m=1. may be found in [1].2 αsp = αo when < 0.p.

"The background to the ECCS recommendations for buckling of stringer stiffened cylinders". of Int. [3] Ellinas..6} if αsp σcr. LOCAL BUCKLING OF STRINGERS To prevent the local buckling of stringers (Figure 4). "Experimental and theoretical correlations for elastic buckling of axially compressed stringer stiffened cylinders".1 for flat bar stiffeners with tw ≅ t and bf /tf ≤ 0. Vol. C. and Croll.35 hw /tw ≤ 1.0. Vandepitte. 9. J. REFERENCES [1] European Convention for Construction Steelwork: "Buckling of Steel Shells European Recommendations". p)]0.4123[fy /(αsp σcr. CONCLUDING SUMMARY • • The buckling behaviour of stiffened shells has been examined and the different types of failure discussed. P. The design procedure must prevent: a.7 for flanged stiffeners. [2] Samuelson.. Proc. Ghent. and Paridaens. The procedure proposed by the ECCS [1] has been discussed in detail for stringer stiffened cylinders. D.5 fy (19) 8. L.. pp 513-522. A. 1983. stiffened panel buckling (in which the stiffeners and the panel participate) c. R. bucking of the stiffeners themselves. Fourth Edition. A. p > 0.It has been shown [4] that external stiffeners make the shell more sensitive to the imperfections. ECCS. 10. Coll. 1988.. 1987. . G. the ratios of the stringers crosssection dimensions shall be limited as follows: hw /tw ≤ 0. 18. J Strain An. In the case of elastic-plastic buckling Equation (18) must be replaced by: σup = fy {1 . on Buckling of Plate and Shell Structures. pp 4167. local shell buckling (limited to the shell panel between the stiffeners) b.

1967. C. and Amazigo. 5. 392-401. . J. 3. Vol.[4] Hutchinson. "Imperfection Sensitivity of Eccentrically Stiffened Cylindrical Shells". No. AIAA J. pp.. W. J.

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