This volume contains the papers presented at the Third International Conference on Thin-Walled Structures, Cracow, Poland on June 5-7, 2001.
There has been a substantial growth in knowledge in the field of Thin-Walled Structures over the past few decades. Lightweight structures are in widespread use in the Civil Engineering, Mechanical Engineering, Aeronautical, Automobile, Chemical and Offshore Engineering fields. The development of new processes, new methods of connections, new materials has gone hand-in-hand with the evolution of advanced analytical methods suitable for dealing with the increasing complexity of the design work involved in ensuring safety and confidence in the finished products.
Of particular importance with regard to the analytical process is the growth in use of the finite element method. This method, about 40 years ago, was confined to rather specialist use, mainly in the aeronautical field, because of its requirements for substantial calculation capacity. The development over recent years of extremely powerful microcomputers has ensured that the application of the finite element method is now possible for problems in all fields of engineering, and a variety of finite element packages have been developed to enhance the ease of use and the availability of the method in the engineering design process.