Contributed by the Applied Mechanics Division of THE AMERICAN SOCIETY OF MECHANICAL ENGINEERS for publication in the ASME JOURNAL OF APPLIED MECHANICS. Manuscript received by the ASME Applied Mechanics Division, April 4, 2004, final revision, September 2, 2004. Editor: R. M. McMeeking.

Elastic buckling of cylindrical shells under axial compression results in sudden and catastrophic failure. By contrast, for thicker shells that buckle in the plastic range, failure is preceded by a cascade of events where the first instability and failure are separated by strains of up to 5%. The first instability is uniform axisymmetric wrinkling. The wrinkle amplitude gradually grows and, in the process, the axial rigidity of the shell is reduced. For thicker shells, this eventually leads to a limit load instability beyond which failure takes the form of localized buckling that can lead to concertina folding. For thinner shells, a second...

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