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A study is presented of the post-buckling behaviour and imperfection sensitivity of complete spherical shells subject to uniform external pressure. The study builds on and extends the major contribution to spherical shell buckling by Koiter in the 1960s. Numerical results are presented for the axisymmetric large deflection behaviour of perfect spheres followed by an extensive analysis of the role axisymmetric imperfections play in reducing the buckling pressure. Several types of middle surfacedoi:10.1098/rspa.2016.0577 fatcat:zxoznzhxyrgntn54r5sqfmhte4