A shear deformable finite element is developed for the analysis of thick laminated composite plates. The finite element formulation is based on Mindlin’s plate theory in which shear correction factors are derived from the exact expressions for orthotropic materials. The element is used to solve a variety of problems on deflection, stress distribution, natural frequency and buckling of laminated composite plates. The effects of material properties, plate aspect ratio, length-to-thickness ratio, number of layers and lamination angle on the mechanical behaviors of laminated composite plates are investigated. Optimal lamination arrangements of layers for laminated composite plates of particular applications are determined.

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