It is shown in this paper that previous, independent analyses of the phenomena of dynamic elastic instability and dynamic plastic-flow buckling of circular cylindrical shells can be combined in a single approach leading to results consistent with those that follow from these analyses. The response of the shell in both cases is governed by the interaction between the fundamental radial, purely extensional mode of deformation and inextensional flexural modes always present in the response. An analytical procedure is given for the determination of dominant modes in the elastic and plastic phases of the response, and the results of this procedure are verified by comparison with numerical and experimental data.

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