Catastrophic Buckling Behavior of Shell Structures: A Brief History Followed by New Experiments and Theory on Spherical Shells

8 December 2016
John Hutchinson

The stability of structures continues to be scientifically fascinating and technically important.  Shell buckling emerged as one of the most challenging nonlinear problems in mechanics more than fifty years ago when it was intensively studied.  It has returned to life with new challenges motivated not only by structural applications but also by developments in the life sciences and in soft materials.  It is not at all uncommon for slightly imperfect thin cylindrical shells under axial compression or spherical shells under external pressure to buckle at 20% of the buckling load of the perfect shell.  A historical overview of shell buckling will be presented followed by a discussion of recent work by the speaker and his collaborators on the buckling of spherical shells.  Experimental and theoretical work will be described with a focus on imperfection-sensitivity and on viewing the phenomena within the larger context of nonlinear stability. 

  • Industrial and Applied Mathematics Seminar