A procedure is given for the analysis of axisymmetrically imperfect spherical shells which is not limited by the magnitude of the imperfections. The geometric parameters of the imperfect shell are expressed in terms of those of the perfect shell and known imperfection distribution, and the imperfect shell is solved directly by means of a nonlinear theory. As an application of the proposed procedure, the critical pressures for an axisymmetrically imperfect complete spherical shell are calculated. The results are compared with those predicted by Koiter’s general theory of initial postbuckling behavior, and their asymptotic character is verified.

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