The initial postbuckling behavior of a shallow section of a spherical shell subject to external pressure is studied within the context of Koiter’s general theory of postbuckling behavior. Imperfections in the shell geometry are shown to have the same severe effect on the buckling strengths of spherical shells as has been demonstrated for axially compressed cylindrical shells. Large reductions in the buckling pressure result from small deviations, relative to the shell thickness, of the shell middle surface from the perfect configuration.

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