Buckling of axially compressed cylindrical shells under different conditions
Item statusRestricted Access
Embargo end date31/12/2100
Al lawati, Hussain Ali Redha Mohammed
Civil Engineering thin cylindrical shells such as silos and tanks are normally subjected to axial compression that arises from a stored solid, wind, earthquake, self-weight or roof loads. The walls of these shells are very thin, generally of the order of 6 to 25 mm, and massively less than the radius, which is typically 5 to 30 m. They are thus very thin shell structures, like those of rockets, spacecraft, motor vehicles and aircraft. The commonest failure mode is elastic buckling under axial compression. It has long been known that the buckling strength of a thin cylindrical shell under axial compression is very sensitive to tiny deviations of geometry, reducing the buckling strength to perhaps 10 or 20% of the value for the perfect structure. A normal internal pressure usually accompanies the axial compression, caused by stored granular solids or fluids. At relatively low pressures, the elastic buckling strength under axial compression rises, but an elastic-plastic buckling phenomenon intervenes at higher pressures, causing a dramatic decrease in buckling resistance associated with an elephant’s foot collapse mode. To construct such large shells, the fabrication technique is generally the assembly of many rolled plates or panels, joined by short longitudinal welds and continuous circumferential welds. The process of welding produces a distinctive geometric imperfection form at each weld joint, which in turn is extremely detrimental to the shell axial buckling carrying capacity. The strength may be further reduced by slight misalignments between adjacent panels, or in bolted construction, by vertical and horizontal lap splices. Due to the pattern of loading, both the axial compression and internal pressure increase progressively down the wall. Accordingly, practical construction usually uses a stepped wall, formed from panels of uniform thickness, but with larger thicknesses at lower levels. Since the loading varies smoothly, but each panel has constant thickness, the critical location for buckling lies at the base of a panel. But the greater thickness of the lower panel can usefully enhance the buckling strength of the critical panel above it. This thesis presents an extensive computational study that examines all the above influences, divided into chapters that are outlined here. A full exploration of the effect of the cylinder length on the perfect and imperfect elastic buckling strength is presented in Chapter 3. In Chapter 4, the elastic-plastic buckling resistance of imperfect cylinders is described, including strain hardening. These lead to many capacity curves, for which the key parameters are extracted. The effect of internal pressure on the buckling resistance of imperfect elastic cylinders is explored in Chapter 5. Chapter 6 studies the effect of high pressures that produce elastic-plastic elephant’s foot buckling at circumferential welds in imperfect shells. Next, a step change in plate thickness is studied in Chapter 7 for imperfect butt jointed cylinders with and without the internal pressure. Chapter 8 presents an exploration of the effect of plate misalignments at a circumferential joint, as well as the full misalignment of a circumferential lap joint in bolted construction. These are investigated in both the elastic and elastic-plastic domains. The entire thesis is conceived in the context of EN 1993-1-6 (2007) and the ECCS Recommendations on Shell Buckling (2008). This research has shown significant weaknesses in both the concepts and the detailed rules of these standards. Many conditions are found where either the standard is unnecessarily conservative, or its safety margin may be too low. Thus, some new provisions are proposed for each of the above practical problems. These are expected to provide useful knowledge for the design of such structures against buckling in the future.