The authors have previously shown that a thin, complete spherical shell compressed between two parallel rigid plates deforms initially with the polar portion of the shell flattened against the plates and that at a critical deformation the flat region may buckle into an axisymmetric inward dimple. The present paper presents an analysis of the stresses and deflections produced during axisymmetric postbuckling and determines the deformation states at which the shell may buckle into a nonsymmetric shape. The analysis accounts for finite deflections and rotations, but assumes that the material remains linearly elastic throughout the deformation. An experiment shows that both the primary axisymmetric bifurcation point and the secondary nonsymmetric bifurcation point are stable for a shell with R/h ≃ 40.

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