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Bending of rectangular plates subject to non-uniform pressure distributions relevant to containment structures

Brown, C. J., Goodey, R.J. ORCID: 0000-0002-9166-8393 & Rotter, J. M. (2017). Bending of rectangular plates subject to non-uniform pressure distributions relevant to containment structures. Paper presented at the Eurosteel 2017, 13-15 Sep 2017, Copenhagen, Denmark. doi: 10.1002/cepa.140


Rectangular planform silos are often used where there is need for simple construction or space restrictions. The flexibility of the flat plate walls leads to a horizontal variation in wall pressure across each wall, with much reduced pressures at the mid‐side. There is a clear and systematic relationship between the wall flexural stiffness relative to the stiffness of the stored solid and the pressure pattern on the wall which is now well proven. Since the centre of each wall is subject to significantly reduced pressures, it may be expected that the bending moments in the wall will much lower, permitting the use of a thinner wall. In turn, the thinner wall is then more flexible and leads to a further redistribution of the pressures. This paper is the first to examine the structural consequences of these pressure changes.

The horizontal variation of the wall pressure is well captured by a hyperbolic form, with much reduced mid‐side pressures and raised corner pressures, characterised by a single parameter “alpha” that determines the strength of this redistribution. This parameter α is naturally dependent on the relative wall and solid stiffness. In this study, the value of α is varied between the uniform pressure condition α = 0 and a high value (α=3). The highest values occur when a stiff solid is stored in a silo with very flexible walls. Wall plates of different aspect ratio are investigated representing conditions in a square or rectangular silo.

The finite element predictions show that great savings can be made in the design of these structures by exploiting the reduced deflections and reduced stresses that arise when realistic patterns of pressure are adopted. The results presented here are suitable for transformation into design rules for the Eurocode standards EN 1993‐1‐7 [1] and EN 1993‐4‐1 [2].

Publication Type: Conference or Workshop Item (Paper)
Additional Information: This is the accepted version of the following article: Brown, C. , Goodey, R. and Rotter, J. M. (2017), 04.20: Bending of rectangular plates subject to non‐uniform pressure distributions relevant to containment structures. ce/papers, 1: 1000-1009., published in definitive form at This article is for non-commercial purposes according to the Wiley Auto-archiving Policy.
Subjects: T Technology > TA Engineering (General). Civil engineering (General)
Departments: School of Science & Technology > Engineering
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