It has been recognized that the current shipbuilding industry design practice for perforated plates is not relevant with relatively large opening size and/or with large plate thickness, and it is believed that this problem has caused structural damage accidents in actual ship structures with opening. The motive of the present study was initiated to resolve this issue by introducing a new design formulation of the critical buckling strength for perforated plates which is now pertinent to the structural design application at a safety side. For this purpose, a series of experimental and numerical studies are undertaken on buckling and ultimate strength of plates and stiffened panels with an opening and under axial compressive actions. A total of 90 perforated plates and also a total of 9 stiffened panels with an opening are tested until and after the ultimate strength is reached, where important parameters of influence such as the plate aspect ratio, the plate slenderness ratio, the opening size and shape, and the opening location are varied. Elastic-plastic large deflection finite element analyses are performed on the test structures. Existing and newly-derived design formula solutions of buckling and ultimate strength on the test plate panels are compared with experimental results and nonlinear finite element computations, indicating that the critical buckling strength formulation developed in the present study as well as an existing ultimate strength formula is useful for design and strength assessment of steel plate panels with an opening. The experimental database on buckling collapse of steel plate panels with an opening will be very useful for future use. Details of experiments and numerical computations together with insights developed from the present study are documented.

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