Cylindrical shells, very commonly used in aerospace applications, are susceptible to buckling when subjected to static and dynamic or transient loads. Bucking load enhancement with minimum weight addition is an important requirement in space structures. Buckling control of space structures using piezoelectric actuators is an emerging area of research. The earlier work on enhancement of buckling load on columns reported a 3.8 times enhancement theoretically and 123% experimentally [1–2]. The enhancement was (25%) when buckling control was implemented on plates [3] using PZT actuators. Buckling control of cylindrical shells is challenging because of the uncertainties in the location of buckling and the coupling between bending and membrane action. Earlier attempt to improve the buckling load carrying capacity of the cylindrical shell did not result in a considerable increase in the buckling load [4]. This is because the buckling modes of cylindrical shell are very close to each other when compared to structures like column and plate. An optimized actuator location is hence necessary to improve the load carrying capacity of the cylindrical shells. Unlike vibration control problems where the actuators locations are optimized to minimize the structural Volume Displacement (SVD) or to maximize the energy dissipation, buckling control is aimed at controlling the critical modes of buckling and hence improving the load carrying capacity of the shells [5]. Numerical analyses are carried out, comparing different configurations used in buckling control of thin shells. Experiments are performed to support the numerical analysis as the behavior of cylindrical shells under axial compression is highly sensitive to geometric imperfections. Load – Axial shortening graphs are used to compare the performance of cylindrical shell for the various actuator configurations.

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