The aim of the present paper is to investigate the effects of the initial deflection shape on the ultimate capacity of pitting corroded plates under biaxial compression. A series of nonlinear FEM analysis of plates with partial depth pits are carried out, changing the geometrical attributes of both pits and plates, i.e., the radius, depth and location of the pits and the slenderness of the plates. A realistic thin-horse shape initial deflection and a simplified buckling shape initial deflection are assumed and compared. It is shown that the initial deflection shape has a tremendous effect on the ultimate strength of pitted mild steel plates. The ultimate strength of a pitted plate with thin-horse shaped initial deflection is generally lower than that of a plate with buckling shaped initial deflection provided that other influential factors are same. Their deviation is sensitive to plate slenderness and pit intensity. The simplified buckling shaped initial deflection could be sufficient to predict the ultimate strength of the plate under longitudinal uniaxial compression. However, in case of less predominant biaxial compression, the buckling shaped initial deflection may overestimate the prediction and give non-conservative results. In this respect, it is preferable to use the initial deflection measurements as input data for the analysis of the plate collapse behavior.

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