Free Vibrations and Static Deformations of Composite Laminates and Sandwich Plates using Ritz Method

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Virginia Tech

In this study, Ritz method has been employed to analyze the following problems: free vibrations of plates with curvilinear stiffeners, the lowest 100 frequencies of thick isotropic plates, free vibrations of thick quadrilateral laminates and free vibrations and static deformations of rectangular laminates, and sandwich structures. Admissible functions in the Ritz method are chosen as a product of the classical Jacobi orthogonal polynomials and weight functions that exactly satisfy the prescribed essential boundary conditions while maintaining orthogonality of the admissible functions. For free vibrations of plates with curvilinear stiffeners, made possible by additive manufacturing, both plate and stiffeners are modeled using a first-order shear deformation theory. For the thick isotropic plates and laminates, a third-order shear and normal deformation theory is used. The accuracy and computational efficiency of formulations are shown through a range of numerical examples involving different boundary conditions and plate thicknesses. The above formulations assume the whole plate as an equivalent single layer. When the material properties of individual layers are close to each other or thickness of the plate is small compared to other dimensions, the equivalent single layer plate (ESL) theories provide accurate solutions for vibrations and static deformations of multilayered structures. If, however, sufficiently large differences in material properties of individual layers such as those in sandwich structure that consists of stiff outer face sheets (e.g., carbon fiber-reinforced epoxy composite) and soft core (e.g., foam) exist, multilayered structures may exhibit complex kinematic behaviors. Hence, in such case, Cz⁰ conditions, namely, piecewise continuity of displacements and the interlaminar continuity of transverse stresses must be taken into account. Here, Ritz formulations are extended for ESL and layerwise (LW) Nth-order shear and normal deformation theories to model sandwich structures with various face-to-core stiffness ratios. In the LW theory, the C⁰ continuity of displacements is satisfied. However, the continuity of transverse stresses is not satisfied in both ESL and LW theories leading to inaccurate transverse stresses. This shortcoming is remedied by using a one-step well-known stress recovery scheme (SRS). Furthermore, analytical solutions of three-dimensional linear elasticity theory for vibrations and static deformations of simply supported sandwich plates are developed and used to investigate the limitations and applicability of ESL and LW plate theories for various face-to-core stiffness ratios. In addition to natural frequency results obtained from ESL and LW theories, the solutions of the corresponding 3-dimensional linearly elastic problems obtained with the commercial finite element method (FEM) software, ABAQUS, are provided. It is found that LW and ESL (even though its higher-order) theories can produce accurate natural frequency results compared to FEM with a considerably lesser number of degrees of freedom.

Ritz Method, Sandwich Structures, Plate Theories, Free Vibrations, Jacobi Polynomials, Composite Plates, Stress Recovery Scheme