Energy principles are used to investigate the adhesion of two parallel thin cylindrical shells under external compressive and tensile loads. The total energy of the system is found by adding the strain energy of the deformed cylinder, the potential energy of the external load, and the surface energy of the adhesion interface. The elastic solution is obtained by linear elastic plate theory and a thermodynamic energy balance, and is capable of portraying the measurable quantities of external load, stack height, contact arc length, and deformed profile in the reversible process of loading-adhesion and unloading-delamination. Several worked examples are given as illustrations. A limiting case of adhering identical cylinders is shown to be consistent with recent model constructed by Tang et al. Such results are of particular importance in modeling the aggregation of heterogeneous carbon nanotubes or cylindrical cells, where the contacting microstructures have a different radius and/or bending stiffness.

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