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Asymptotic Analysis of Thin Plates Under Normal Load and Horizontal Edge Thrust


Brewster, Mary Elizabeth (1987) Asymptotic Analysis of Thin Plates Under Normal Load and Horizontal Edge Thrust. Dissertation (Ph.D.), California Institute of Technology. doi:10.7907/DDP9-KW92.


We consider the radially symmetric nonlinear von Kármán plate equations for circular or annular plates in the limit of small thickness. The loads on the plate consist of a radially symmetric pressure load and a uniform edge load. The dependence of the steady states on the edge load and thickness is studied using asymptotics as well as numerical calculations. The von Kármán plate equations are a singular perturbation of the Fӧppl membrane equation in the asymptotic limit of small thickness. We study the role of compressive membrane solutions in the small thickness asymptotic behavior of the plate solutions.

We give evidence for the existence of a singular compressive solution for the circular membrane and show by a singular perturbation expansion that the nonsingular compressive solutions approach this singular solution as the radial stress at the center of the plate vanishes. In this limit, an infinite number of folds occur with respect to the edge load. Similar behavior is observed for the annular membrane with zero edge load at the inner radius in the limit as the circumferential stress vanishes.

We develop multiscale expansions, which are asymptotic to members of this family for plates with edges that are elastically supported against rotation. At some thicknesses this approximation breaks down and a boundary layer appears at the center of the plate. In the limit of small normal load, the points of breakdown approach the bifurcation points corresponding to buckling of the nondeflected state. A uniform asymptotic expansion for small thickness combining the boundary layer with a multiscale approximation of the outer solution is developed for this case. These approximations complement the well known boundary layer expansions based on tensile membrane solutions in describing the bending and stretching of thin plates. The approximation becomes inconsistent as the clamped state is approached by increasing the resistance against rotation at the edge. We prove that such an expansion for the clamped circular plate cannot exist unless the pressure load is self-equilibrating.

Item Type:Thesis (Dissertation (Ph.D.))
Subject Keywords:Applied Mathematics
Degree Grantor:California Institute of Technology
Division:Engineering and Applied Science
Major Option:Applied Mathematics
Thesis Availability:Public (worldwide access)
Research Advisor(s):
  • Keller, Herbert Bishop
Thesis Committee:
  • Keller, Herbert Bishop (chair)
  • Cohen, Donald S.
  • Lorenz, Jens
  • Knowles, James K.
  • Hall, John F.
Defense Date:1 October 1986
Funding AgencyGrant Number
Department of Energy (DOE)DE-AS03-76ER72012
Army Research Office (ARO)DAAG29-85-K-0092
Record Number:CaltechTHESIS:03212013-094948659
Persistent URL:
Default Usage Policy:No commercial reproduction, distribution, display or performance rights in this work are provided.
ID Code:7539
Deposited On:21 Mar 2013 17:19
Last Modified:21 Dec 2019 04:56

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