The non-linear deformation of a thin annular plate subjected to circumferentially distributed bending moments is studied. A von Kármán plate model is adopted to formulate the equations of motion. Free-free boundary conditions have been applied at both inner and outer edges. The matrix formulation of the Differential Quadrature Method is used to discretise and solve the governing equations. Linear analysis predicts that the annular disk deforms axisymmetrically into a spherical dome. However, the proposed non-linear analysis shows that a symmetry breaking bifurcation may occur after which the linear solution becomes unstable and the plate transitions into a non-axisymmetric cylindrical deformation. This is the case when at least one of two parameters reaches a critical value. These parameters are the non-dimensionalised ratio between applied moment and bending stiffness and the ratio between inner and outer radius. Furthermore, it is noted that free-free boundary conditions and circumferentially distributed bending moments do not break the circular symmetry of the annular disk. Hence, the principal axes of curvature in the deformed configuration do not have a preferred orientation. Therefore, the present work describes a shell possessing infinite identical equilibria, having different yet no favoured direction and, hence, links to previous researches on neutrally stable structures. © 2013 Elsevier Ltd. All rights reserved.

Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)622-632
Number of pages11
JournalInternational Journal of Solids and Structures
Issue number3-4
Publication statusPublished - 1 Feb 2014


  • Annular disk
  • Non-linear bending
  • Differential Quadrature Method
  • Neutrally stable structures
  • Morphing structures


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