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Three-dimensional postbuckling analysis of thick hyperelastic tubes

By Yu Zhou, Yuzhen Chen and Lihua Jin

While the buckling of tubes under axial compression has been extensively studied, the postbuckling behavior of thick tubes remains elusive. In this paper, we conduct three-dimensional buckling and postbuckling analysis for thick hyperelastic tubes subjected to axial compression under finite deformation by the asymptotic expansion method. Our theoretical results successfully predict the deformation and stress-strain curves of buckled tubes near the critical loading, which are well validated by finite element analysis. Depending on the geometry, three kinds of postbuckling paths, including continuous buckling, snap-through and snap-back, are discovered. We summarize our results in two phase diagrams of the critical stretch for the onset of buckling and postbuckling paths with respect to the geometric parameters. In particular, we have observed that the postbuckling response can undergo a complex transition among different types of postbuckling paths, including continuous buckling, snap-through and snap-back, which is attributed to the competition between two modes of deformation, i.e., global deformation and local distortion. When a tube is long and thick, it prefers global deformation, and its cross section remains almost a plane after buckling, whereas when a tube is relatively short and relatively thin, it prefers local distortion and its cross section does not remain a plane any more after buckling. Our work provides understanding and insights into the buckling and postbuckling of thick tubes, and bridges the knowledge gap between postbuckling of thick columns and tubes.

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