The buckling problem of circular cylindrical shells under axial compression, external pressure, and torsion is investigated using a displacement function φ. A governing differential equation for the stability of thin cylindrical shells under combined loading of axial compression, external pressure, and torsion is derived. A method for the solutions of this equation is also presented. The advantage in using the present equation over the customary three differential equations for displacements is that only one trial solution is needed in solving the buckling problems as shown in the paper. Four possible combinations of boundary conditions for a simply supported edge are treated. The case of a cylinder under axial compression is carried out in detail. For two types of simple supported boundary conditions, SS1 and SS2, the minimum critical axial buckling stress is found to be 43.5 percent of the well-known classical value Eh/R3(1ν2) against the 50 percent of the classical value presently known.

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