Post-Buckled Stability and Modal Behavior of Plates and Shells
In modern engineering there is a considerable interest in predicting the behavior of post-buckled structures. With current lightweight, aerospace, and high performance applications, structural elements frequently operate beyond their buckled load. This is especially true of plates, which are capable of maintaining stability at loads several times their critical buckling load. Additionally, even structures such as cylindrical shells may be pushed into a post-buckled range in these extreme applications.
Because of the nature of these problems, continuation methods are particularly well suited as a solution method. Continuation methods have been extensively applied to a range of problems in mathematics and physics but have been used to a lesser extent in engineering problems. In the present work, continuation methods are used to solve a variety of buckling and stability problems of discrete dynamical systems, plates and cylinders. The continuation methods, when applied to dynamic mechanical systems, also provide very useful information regarding the modal behavior of the structure, including linearized natural frequencies and mode shapes as a by-product of the solution method.
To verify the results of the continuation calculations, the commercial finite element code ANSYS is used as an independent check. To confirm previously unseen stable equilibrium shapes for square plates, a set of experiments on polycarbonate plates is also presented.
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