Optimum design and testing of a postbuckled stiffened panel

The efficient, industrially used, linear elastic preliminary design software VICONOPT is employed to design a stiffened panel with a post-buckled reserve of strength. The initial buckling mode is a local skin mode in longitudinal compression with allowance being made for the effects of an initial overall imperfection. The resulting panel has been analyzed using the non-linear FE package ABAQUS and four laboratory specimens have been tested to failure. The similarity of the experimental failure with the VICONOPT and ABAQUS predictions suggests that VICONOPT can give a satisfactory preliminary design. While neither model matches completely the boundary conditions found in a real aircraft compression panel, it is suggested that the VICONOPT model may be a better representation than either the ABAQUS model or the experimental tests.