Large deformation analysis of laminated composite structures by a continuum-based shell element with transverse deformation

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Virginia Polytechnic Institute and State University

In this work, a finite element formulation and associated computer program is developed for the transient large deformation analysis of laminated composite plate/shell structures. In order to satisfy the plate/shell surface traction boundary conditions and to have accurate stress description while maintaining the low cost of the analysis, a newly assumed displacement field theory is formulated by adding higher-order terms to the transverse displacement component of the first-order shear deformation theory. The laminated shell theory is formulated using the Updated Lagrangian description of a general continuum-based theory with assumptions on thickness deformation. The transverse deflection is approximated through the thickness by a quartic polynomial of the thickness coordinate. As a result both the plate/shell surface tractions (including nonzero tangential tractions and nonzero normal pressure) and the interlaminar shear stress continuity conditions at interfaces are satisfied simultaneously. Furthermore, the rotational degree of freedoms become layer dependent quantities and the laminate possesses a transverse deformation capability (i.e. the normal strain is no longer zero).

Analytical integration through the thickness direction is performed for both the linear analysis and the nonlinear analysis. Resultants of the stress integrations are expressed in terms of the laminate stacking sequence. Consequently, the laminate characteristics in the normal direction can be evaluated precisely and the cost of the overall analysis is reduced. The standard Newmark method and the modified Newton Raphson method are used for the solution of the nonlinear dynamic equilibrium equations.

Finally, a variety of numerical examples are presented to demonstrate the validity and efficiency of the finite element program developed herein.