Considering the design of aerospace structures, an experimental campaign is essential for validating the sizing methodology and margins of safety. Particularly for buckling-critical cylindrical shells, the traditional buckling test could lead the specimen to permanent damage. Therefore, the validation of nondestructive experimental procedures for estimating the buckling load of imperfection-sensitive structures from the prebuckling stage is receiving more attention from the industry. In this context, this paper proposes an experimental verification of the robustness of a vibration correlation technique developed for imperfection-sensitive structures. The study comprises three nominally identical unstiffened composite laminated cylindrical shells. Each specimen is tested 10 times for buckling at DLR and, the reproducible results — within a small range of deviation between them — corroborate the equivalence of the cylinders. For the robustness assessment of the vibration correlation technique, two different buckling test facilities are considered. Furthermore, the material properties are recalculated through composite composition rules and the influence of enhanced theoretical buckling loads on the VCT predictions is verified. The experimental campaigns corroborate that the vibration correlation technique provides appropriate estimations representing the influence of the different test facilities; moreover, enhanced theoretical buckling loads can improve the predictions for some of the test cases.
- Imperfection-sensitive structures
- Nondestructive experiments
- Unstiffened composite laminated cylindrical shells
- Vibration Correlation Technique