Based on a system of nonlinear dynamic equations and the associated variational equation of motion derived for elastic spherical shells (deep or shallow), an investigation of the axisymmetric vibrations of spherical caps with various edge conditions is made by carrying out a consistent sequence of approximations with respect to space and time. Numerical results are obtained for both free and forced oscillations involving finite deflection. The effect of curvature is examined, with particular emphasis on the transition from a flat plate to a curved shell. In fact, in such a transition, the nonlinearity of the hardening type gradually reverses into one of softening.

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