Vol. 5, No. 2, 2010

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A consistent refinement of first-order shear deformation theory for laminated composite and sandwich plates using improved zigzag kinematics

Alexander Tessler, Marco Di Sciuva and Marco Gherlone

Vol. 5 (2010), No. 2, 341–367

A refined zigzag theory is presented for laminated-composite and sandwich plates that includes the kinematics of first-order shear deformation theory as its baseline. The theory is variationally consistent and is derived from the virtual work principle. Novel piecewise-linear zigzag functions are used, providing a more realistic representation of the deformation states of transverse shear-flexible plates than other similar theories. The formulation does not enforce full continuity of the transverse shear stresses across the plate’s thickness, yet it is robust. Transverse shear correction factors are not required to yield accurate results. The theory avoids the shortcomings of earlier zigzag theories (such as shear-force inconsistency and difficulties in simulating clamped boundary conditions) which have limited their accuracy. This new theory requires only C0-continuous kinematic approximations and is perfectly suited for developing computationally efficient finite elements. It should be useful for obtaining relatively efficient, accurate estimates of structural response, needed in designing high-performance load-bearing aerospace structures.

first-order shear deformation plate theory, zigzag kinematics, laminated composite plates, sandwich plates, virtual work principle
Received: 23 March 2009
Revised: 7 August 2009
Accepted: 13 August 2009
Published: 30 August 2010
Alexander Tessler
Structural Mechanics and Concepts Branch
NASA Langley Research Center
Mail Stop 190
Hampton, VA 23681-2199
United States
Marco Di Sciuva
Department of Aeronautics and Space Engineering
Politecnico di Torino
Corso Duca degli Abruzzi 24
10129 Torino
Marco Gherlone
Department of Aeronautics and Space Engineering
Politecnico di Torino
Corso Duca degli Abruzzi 24
10129 Torino