Budget and schedule restrictions sometimes require naval submarines to be operated with unrepaired corrosion damage to the pressure hull. It is important to understand the effects of corrosion wastage on the structural capacity of the hull, so that appropriate diving depth restrictions can be imposed if necessary. The current paper presents an experimental study of the interaction of material behavior with corrosion defects, especially with respect to their effect on overall elasto-plastic collapse of pressure hulls. Twenty ring-stiffened cylinders, representative of submarine pressure hulls failing by overall collapse, were machined from high- and low-grade aluminum alloy tubes. Artificial general corrosion damage was introduced in selected specimens by machining away material from the outside of the cylinder shell in rectangular patches of uniform depth. The cylinders were monotonically loaded to collapse under external hydrostatic pressure. One corroded cylinder was repeatedly loaded past the yield limit before the collapse test in order to study the effect of cyclic plastic loading on its ultimate collapse strength. Overall collapse pressures for corroded cylinders with a variety of patch sizes and depths and material strengths were reduced by, on average, 0.85 times the depth of thinning divided by the original shell thickness. The collapse strength of corroded cylinders was found to be more sensitive to the shape of the stress-strain curve than for intact specimens. Higher levels of strain hardening and ductility were found to improve the performance of damaged cylinders. Permanent deformations in the cyclically loaded cylinder, as measured with strain gauges, grew with each constant-amplitude load cycle; however, the additional deformations tended towards zero with increasing number of cycles, and a subsequent collapse test indicated that the cyclic loading did not affect the collapse pressure. The sensitivity of overall collapse to material strength is related to not only the yield stress, but also the plastic reserve of the material; higher levels of strain hardening and ductility increase overall collapse strength of hulls, especially those with general corrosion damage. The effect of a given level of corrosion thinning is less severe for cylinders with relatively greater levels of strain hardening. It is unlikely that cyclic plastic loading of corroded hulls will lead to premature collapse at a load level below the monotonic collapse pressure.

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