Sensitivity in the structural behavior of shallow arches


It is well established that certain structural buckling problems are extremely sensitive to small changes in configuration: geometric imperfections, load application, symmetry, boundary conditions, etc. This paper considers the behavior of a very shallow arch under lateral point loading, and specifically under the influence of changes in the thermal environment. In some ways the system under study is especially sensitive since small changes influence whether the arch 'snaps-through' or not. The experimental results provide insight into the challenges of understanding the behavior of these types of structural components in a practical, and thus necessarily imperfect, situation. The focus is on static loading or at least quasi-static loading, in which loading occurs on a slow time scale. This study also acts as a back-drop for studying the dynamic behavior of shallow arches, an area of concern in the context of aerospace structural components. © 2013 Elsevier Ltd.