Access opening is a key geometric feature of vertical vessel skirts. To ensure the structural stability of skirts, buckling strength reduction caused by openings shall be numerically evaluated.

In the previous study, Buckling Strength Reduction Factor (BSRF) was introduced as a design factor representing the effects of openings. However BSRF is based on the elastic bifurcation buckling under axial compressive load. The relations between BSRF and practical design conditions, such as bending moment, material plasticity, and local deformation, are not yet evaluated.

The purpose of this paper is to develop the buckling design method for vertical vessel skirts with access opening by investigating the relation between BSRF in consideration of practical design conditions and conventional design concepts for straight cylinder. The finite element analyses of buckling strength were conducted for cylindrical shells with and without openings under bending moments. In addition, nonlinear buckling behaviors of skirts with opening were studied by elastic-plastic analyses and limit-load analyses. These studies revealed the relation between BSRF and conventional buckling design concepts. Based on these results, a new buckling design approach which includes the application BSRF was proposed. This proposed approach provides a practical guide for buckling design of vertical vessel skirts with access opening.

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