The effects of unreinforced circular cutouts on the buckling behavior of circular cylindrical shells subjected to axial compression have been investigated. In addition, the membrane stress distribution and isoclinic patterns were determined around the edge of the cutout, using photoelastic shells, and the results compared with recent theory. The membrane stress concentration factors were found to increase rapidly with increasing values in the curvature parameter β. Large reductions in the critical buckling loads occurred for relatively small cutouts (e.g., a 50 percent reduction in the collapse load was found for a/R = 0.10). As a result of the investigation, design information is provided for determining the effect of a/R on the critical buckling load of a circular cylindrical shell.

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