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ISRN Mechanical Engineering
Volume 2012 (2012), Article ID 636898, 10 pages
http://dx.doi.org/10.5402/2012/636898
Research Article

Design Optimisation of Lower-Bound Buckling Capacities for FRP-Laminated Cylindrical Shells

Department of Civil and Environmental Engineering, University College London, Gower Street, London WC1E 6BT, UK

Received 25 October 2011; Accepted 1 December 2011

Academic Editor: W.-H. Steeb

Copyright © 2012 Hongtao Wang and James G. A. Croll. This is an open access article distributed under the Creative Commons Attribution License, which permits unrestricted use, distribution, and reproduction in any medium, provided the original work is properly cited.

Abstract

The imperfection sensitive buckling loads of fibre reinforced polymeric (FRP) composite cylindrical shells under axial compression can be optimised with respect to many material and geometric parameters. Current approaches, using mathematical algorithms to optimise the linearised classical critical loads with respect to many design variables, generally ignore the potential reductions in elastic load carrying capacities that result from the severe sensitivities of buckling loads to the effects of initial imperfections. This paper applies a lower-bound design philosophy called the reduced stiffness method (RSM) to the optimisation design of FRP shell buckling. A physical optimisation in terms of parametric studies is carried out for simply supported, 6-ply symmetric, glass-epoxy circular cylindrical shells under uniform axial load. It is shown that under the guidance of RSM, safe lower-bound buckling loads can be enhanced greatly by choosing appropriate combinations of design parameters. It is demonstrated how this approach encourages the delineation of those components of the shell’s membrane and bending stiffness that are important and those that are unimportant within each of the prospective buckling modes. On this basis, it is argued that the RSM provides not only a safe but also a more rational strategy for better design decision making.