This paper reports the development of a simplified energy solution to a complex problem involving large inelastic deformation in thin clamped square ductile plates with a square hole under the action of transverse pressure loading. The work is part of a project to study blast loading of steel plates with penetrations as used for deck plating or bulkheads that may be required to resist loading far in excess of their design limit due to the effects of an accidental explosion. It is important to develop criteria for the ultimate load-carrying capacity of such structures and guidance for the industry. In seeking this goal, the project will utilize experimental methods for conducting 1/8 scaled pulse pressure tests on 0.5 m square plates with a central aperture. The data will be used to help develop both finite element numerical simulations and simplified analytical models. Initial studies show, based on comparisons with previous test data, that acceptable engineering solutions can be achieved with simplified methods provided the user is aware of the limitations of the method. Furthermore, preliminary results suggest no significant reduction in resistance due to the central hole, the load being reduced in proportion to the hole area. Detailed analysis of the local stresses and strains around the hole will be carried out in the next stage of the project.

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