Searching for imperfection insensitive externally pressurized near-spherical thin shells

Xin Ning, Sergio Pellegrino

Research output: Contribution to journalArticle

1 Scopus citations


This paper studies the buckling behavior and imperfection sensitivity of geodesic and stellated shells subject to external pressure. It is shown that these structures can completely eliminate the severe imperfection sensitivity of spherical shells and can achieve buckling pressure and mass efficiency higher than the perfect sphere. Key results of this paper are as follows. First, a shell with the shape of an icosahedron can carry external pressure significantly higher than a spherical shell, when the effects of geometric imperfections are considered. Second, stellated shells are generally insensitive to imperfections. For pyramids with height-to-radius ratios greater than 35% the buckling pressure is greater than for a perfect sphere. The specific ratio 45% gives the highest buckling pressure, 28% higher than the perfect sphere. Third, stellated icosahedra with concave pyramids have higher mass efficiency than the perfect sphere. Fourth, in terms of volume efficiency, geodesic shells are comparable to spherical shells with a knockdown factor of 0.2 and convex stellated shells are comparable to spherical shells with a knockdown factor of 0.65.

Original languageEnglish (US)
Pages (from-to)49-67
Number of pages19
JournalJournal of the Mechanics and Physics of Solids
StatePublished - Nov 2018


All Science Journal Classification (ASJC) codes

  • Condensed Matter Physics
  • Mechanics of Materials
  • Mechanical Engineering

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