Dynamic behavior of cylindrical shell structures is an important research topic since they have been extensively used in practical engineering applications. However, the dynamic analysis of circular cylindrical shells with general boundary conditions is rarely studied in the literature probably because of a lack of viable analytical or numerical techniques. In addition, the use of existing solution procedures, which are often only customized for a specific set of different boundary conditions, can easily be inundated by the variety of possible boundary conditions encountered in practice. For instance, even only considering the classical (homogeneous) boundary conditions, one will have a total of 136 different combinations. In this investigation, the flexural and in-plane displacements are generally sought, regardless of boundary conditions, as a simple Fourier series supplemented by several closed-form functions. As a result, a unified analytical method is generally developed for the vibration analysis of circular cylindrical shells with arbitrary boundary conditions including all the classical ones. The Rayleigh-Ritz method is employed to find the displacement solutions. Several examples are given to demonstrate the accuracy and convergence of the current solutions. The modal characteristics and vibration responses of elastically supported shells are discussed for various restraining stiffnesses and configurations. Although the stiffness distributions are here considered to be uniform along the circumferences, the current method can be readily extended to cylindrical shells with nonuniform elastic restraints.

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