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Buckling knockdown factor from tests of "perfect" and imperfect externally pressurized spherical shells

This and the next 2 images are from:

Anna Lee (1), Francisco Lopez Jimenez (2), Joel Marthelot (2), John W. Hutchinson (3) and Pedro M. Reis (2)
(1) Dept. of Mechanical Engineering, MIT, Cambridge, Massachusetts, USA
(2) Dept. of Civil and Environmental Engineering, MIT, Cambridge, Massachusetts, USA
(3) School of Engineering and Applied Sciences, Harvard University, Cambridge, Massachusetts, USA

“The geometric role of precisely engineered imperfections on the critical buckling load of spherical elastic shells”, ASME Journal of Applied Mechanics, Vol. 83, 111005, November 2016, DOI: 10.1115/1.4034431

ABSTRACT: We study the effect of a dimplelike geometric imperfection on the critical buckling load of spherical elastic shells under pressure loading. This investigation combines precision experiments, finite element modeling, and numerical solutions of a reduced shell theory, all of which are found to be in excellent quantitative agreement. In the experiments, the geometry and magnitude of the defect can be designed and precisely fabricated through a customizable rapid prototyping technique. Our primary focus is on predictively describing the imperfection sensitivity of the shell to provide a quantitative relation between its knockdown factor and the amplitude of the defect. In addition, we find that the buckling pressure becomes independent of the amplitude of the defect beyond a critical value. The level and onset of this plateau are quantified systematically and found to be affected by a single geometric parameter that depends on both the radius-to-thickness ratio of the shell and the angular width of the defect. To the best of our knowledge, this is the first time that experimental results on the knockdown factors of imperfect spherical shells have been accurately predicted, through both finite element modeling and shell theory solutions.

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