The results from a theoretical and experimental investigation of the dynamic response of cylindrically curved laminated composite shells subjected to normal blast loading are presented. The dynamic equations of motion for cylindrical laminated shells are derived using the assumptions of Love's theory of thin elastic shells. Kinematically admissible displacement functions are chosen to represent the motion of the clamped cylindrical shell and the governing equations are obtained in the time domain using the Galerkin method. The time-dependent equations of the cylindrically curved laminated shell are then solved by the Runge-Kutta-Verner method. Finite element modelling and analysis for the blast-loaded cylindrical shell are also presented. Experimental results for cylindrically curved laminated composite shells with clamped edges and subjected to blast loading are presented. The blast pressure and strain measurements are performed on the shell panels. The strain response frequencies of the clamped cylindrical shells subjected to blast load are obtained using the fast Fourier transformation technique. In addition, the effects of material properties on the dynamic behaviour are examined. The strain-time history curves show agreement between the experimental and analysis results in the longitudinal direction of the cylindrical panels. However, there is a discrepancy between the experimental and analysis results in the circumferential direction of the cylindrical panels. A good prediction is obtained for the response frequency of the cylindrical shell panels. (C) 2002 Academic Press.