In the first part of the paper the basic equations of three-dimensional elasticity are formulated as a system of four equilibrium equations and seven stress displacement relations, together with a variational problem which has these eleven equations as Euler equations. In the second part of the paper, the new variational problem is used for a derivation of shell theory which accounts particularly simply for the differences between the resultants N12 and N21 and the couples M12 and M21. In the third part of the paper a solution is given of the torsion problem for circumferentially nonhomogeneous circular cylindrical shells, as an explicit demonstration of the fact that certain terms in the shell equations which are often of negligible influence sometimes are of considerable influence.

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