Static and free vibration analysis of advanced composites using shear-deformable rectangular plate finite elements

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Virginia Polytechnic Institute and State University


A comparison of rectangular finite elements based on a first order shear deformation plate theory and a refined higher order plate theory is presented. Special attention is given to the representation of transverse shear strain, the phenomenon of "shear locking", and the selection of the interpolating polynomial. Both C⁰ and C¹ continuity elements are represented; the elements range from: 3 or 5 DOF per node, and 12 - 27 DOF per element. Static and free vibration analysis of isotropic and laminated plates with thicknesses ranging from extremely thin to very thick are presented, along with a convergence study. The finite element results are compared with the exact plate theory solutions. Of the elements investigated, the modified refined higher order theory element exhibits the best overall behavior.