Chapter 9
Various Applications of the Membrane Theory


The quantity Nϕr2 sin2 ϕ in Eq. (8-12), when multiplied by 2π, represents the total applied force acting on a structure at a given parallel circle of angle ϕ. Hence, for complicated geometries, the value of Nϕ in Eq. (8-12) at any given location can be obtained by taking a free-body diagram of the structure. The value of Nθ at the same location can then be determined from Eq. (8-11). This method is widely used (Jawad and Farr 1989) in designing pressure vessels, flat-bottom tanks, elevated water towers, Fig. 9-1, and other similar structures. Example 9-1 illustrates the application of this method to the design of a water tower. The American Petroleum Institute (API 620 1991) Standard has various equations and procedures for designing components by the free-body method. This method is also useful in obtaining an approximate design at the junction of two shells of different geometries. A more accurate analysis utilizing bending moments may then be performed to establish the discontinuity stresses of the selected members at a junction if a more exact analysis is needed.

  • 9-1 Analysis of Multi-Component Structures
  • 9-2 Pressure-Area Method of Analysis
  • 9-3 One-Sheet Hyperboloids
  • 9-4 Deflection Due to Axisymmetric Loads

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