This paper provides the theoretical collapse loads of thick, long cylindrical shells subject to pressure and axial forces. Tubes are made of isotropic, perfectly plastic von Mises’ material. Axial strains are assumed to be constant but possibly different from zero, so that elongation is permitted. This assumption, together with axial symmetry and the isochoric nature of plastic flow, unambiguously defines the set of possible collapse mechanisms, and collapse loads are computed on this basis. Results are contrasted to those presently available, based on thin-shell assumptions. Comparison shows that differences are of engineering significance, well worth considering for thick tubes, such as those envisaged in some nuclear power plant applications.

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