In real physical experiments, three typical deformation stages including elastic deformation stage, symmetric deformation stage, and asymmetric deformation stage appear step by step when the stainless steel hemispherical shell structure is under axial compression loading. During the asymmetric deformation stage, the rolling-plastic-hinge-radius which characterizes the size of the deformation area evolves along the circumferential direction with the compressive displacement. For the hemispherical shell structures with apparent asymmetric deformation stage, the double-buckling phenomenon of the structures in experiments can be clearly detected. The traditional theoretical analysis based on the assumption with circumferentially constant rolling-plastic-hinge-radius is not suitable to predict this phenomenon. For these hemispherical shell structures, load capacity and absorbed energy predicted by the traditional analysis are usually higher than experimental results in the asymmetric deformation stage. In this paper, a new description based on experimental observation for the evolution of rolling-plastic-hinge-radius has been proposed. Minimum energy principle was employed to obtain the postbuckling behavior. The energy evolution of different buckling stages during compression loading is investigated to evaluate the structure load capacity. Stainless steel hemispherical specimens with different sizes are tested under axial compression between two rigid plates to verify the theoretical modification. Good agreement is achieved between proposed model and experimental results. The theoretical model proposed in this paper can be used in prediction of postbuckling behavior for different deformation patterns in the asymmetric deformation stage. It also provides higher flexibility and efficiency for the postbuckling behavior prediction of hemispherical shell structures.

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