Nonlinear Science & Mathematical Physics Seminar

Nonlinear Science & Mathematical Physics Seminar

Non-destructive prediction of the buckling load of soda cans and space rockets


December 4, 2019 - 12:00pm to 1:00pm


Howey School of Physics




Harvard University

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What is the critical load required to crush a soda can or a space rocket shell? Surprisingly, there is no good way to estimate it, because of the high defect-sensitivity of the buckling instability. 

Here we measure the response of (imperfect) soda cans to lateral poking and identify a generic stability landscape, which fully characterizes the stability of real imperfect shells in the case where one single defect dominates. 

By using this new paradigm, I will show how we can accurately and non-destructively predict the buckling load of real imperfect shell structures, thereby promising drastic reduction of the costs of structural engineering experimental tests