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Structural Optimization 3, 252-256 (1991)

© Springer-Verlag 1991

Optimal design of cylindrical shells

H . R . Yu, B. L i a n g a n d L. Li
Department of Mechanics, Lanzhou University, Lanzhou, Gansu, P.R. China

Abstract In this paper, two types of problems of the optimal the differential equation for the radial deflection W i of the
design of cylindrical shells with arbitrary axisymmetrical bound- i-th shell element is
ary conditions and distributed load, under the condition of the
volume being constant, are discussed. These problems involve the d4W,.
minimax deflection and minimal compliancy of a cylindrical shell. dX-----~i + 4 , KiWi(Xi) = Pi/Di, (1)
Expressions of the objective function can be obtained by a stepped
reduction method. In minimizing the maximum deflection, the
position of the maximum deflection from the previous iteration
is used as the next one. This procedure converges (Avriel 1976). P(X)
Several examples are provided to illustrate the method. T

1 Introduction I

Problems of optimal design with respect to a continuous elas-
tic body are very important in both theory and application in
the field of modern optimization. As a matter of fact, there E
are very few papers on the optimal design of shells because
the governing equations are very complex (Haug 1980). Here 1

we present an effective way to optimally design a thin cylin- A_

drical elastic shell, that can determine the thickness functions 4
which cause the minimax deflection or minimal compliancy
of the shell, under the condition of the volume being con- Fig. 1. Cylindrical shell with variable thickness
stant and the middle surface shape being defined. In these
problems, the explicit formulations of the objective function
cannot be determined by traditional methods, which leads X
to many computational difficulties. The stepped reduction P ) P
method (Yu and Yeh 1988; Yeh and Ji 1989) can give the T
solution of the deflection of cylindrical shells with variable
thickness; further the explicit expressions of the objective
function can be obtained. The expressions are suitable for
the arbitrary axisymmetrical boundary conditions and dis-
H(X)]y L
tributed loads. The problems of optimal design are reduced
to a nonlinear programming problem with an equality con-
(x) o : !
2 S o l u t i o n o f t h e a x i s y m m e t r i c a l d e f l e c t i o n o f cylin-
d r i c a l shells
Consider the thin cylindrical elastic shell shown in Fig. 1, Fig. 2. Elementation of a cylindrical shell
with the axisymmetrical variable thickness function H(x),
length L, radius R, elastic constants E, 1~ and arbitrary radial where D i -- E • H3/12(1 - ~2) is the radial stiffness and
axisymmetrical distributed load P(x). Divide the shell into K i = 3(1 - la2)/(RHi) 2. According to Huang and Liang
n elements as shown in Fig. 2. If each shell element is small (1983), the solution of (1) can be written as
enough, it can be considered as haying uniform thickness and
being acted on by a uniformly distributed load. Suppose
the i-th element has the length Li, thickness Hi, distributed
Wi(Xi, H) = Wi(O , H)Fli(Xi, Hi)+
radial load Pi, local variable Xi, 0 ~ X i ~_ L i (lower section
of the element X i = 0 and upper section X i = Li). Then, + W ! I ) ( o , H)F2i(Xi, Hi) + Mi(O, H)Fai(Xi, H)+