Localized post-buckling states of axially compressed cylinders and their energy barriers

Research output: Chapter in Book/Report/Conference proceedingConference Contribution (Conference Proceeding)

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The buckling of axially compressed cylinders remains an interesting problem in the engineering mechanics literature. Here we revisit the problem by considering fully localized buckling modes in the form of a single dimple. By applying a combination of nonlinear finite element methods and numerical continuation algorithms, we study the evolution of a single dimple into a ring of circumferential diamond-shaped waves and further into the Yoshimura post-buckling pattern. This post-buckling sequence is established by cellular buckling (homoclinic snaking) as the axial compression is increased; i.e. a sequence of de-and restabilizations causes the single dimple to multiply circumferentially. The initial single-dimple seed corresponds to a saddle in the energy landscape, and the energy barrier provided by the single-dimple saddle around the stable pre-buckled path is quantified. The low magnitude of this energy barrier suggests that the pre-buckling equilibrium is metastable once the single dimple exists as a post-buckling equilibrium. We parameterize the onset of metastability with respect to geometric parameters and assess the suitability of this onset as a lower-bound design load. As NASA’s well-known lower-bound curve is overly conservative for shells manufactured using modern, tightly-toleranced manufacturing techniques, the onset of metastability could provide a viable and less conservative lower-bound design load.

Original languageEnglish
Title of host publicationAIAA Scitech 2019 Forum
PublisherAmerican Institute of Aeronautics and Astronautics Inc. (AIAA)
ISBN (Print)9781624105784
Publication statusPublished - 6 Jan 2019
EventAIAA Scitech Forum, 2019 - San Diego, United States
Duration: 7 Jan 201911 Jan 2019

Publication series

NameAIAA Scitech 2019 Forum


ConferenceAIAA Scitech Forum, 2019
Country/TerritoryUnited States
CitySan Diego
Internet address

Structured keywords

  • Bristol Composites Institute ACCIS


  • buckling
  • cylinder
  • snaking
  • pattern formation


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