This paper develops a theoretical tool to predict rigorously the different types of contact between a cylindrical shell and a continuous rigid support for the complete range of pressure, vessel, and support parameters. The technique consists in comparing the actual angle of opening of the support with two limiting angles. These angles represent the upper bounds of the support for contact to take place on two lines only at the tips of the support or on three lines at the tips and at the center of the support. Using Flu¨gge’s equations and considering variations in the circumferential direction, it is shown that the type of contact depends on the internal pressure of the fluid, the geometrical parameters of the shell, and on the angle of opening of the support. The analysis also indicates that separation between the shell and the support is always to be expected in the circumferential direction. Results for the limiting angles of the support are presented graphically. The radial displacements and the circumferential bending moment are given for a specific example.

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