In this paper an experimental study on circular cylindrical shells subjected to axial compressive and periodic loads is presented. Even though many researchers have extensively studied nonlinear vibrations of cylindrical shells, experimental studies are rather limited in number. The experimental setup is explained and deeply described along with the analysis of preliminary results. The linear and the nonlinear dynamic behavior associated with a combined effect of compressive static and a periodic axial load have been investigated for different combinations of loads; moreover, a non stationary response of the structure has been observed close to one of the resonances. The linear shell behavior is also investigated by means of a finite element model, in order to enhance the comprehension of experimental results.

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