The optimal lamination arrangements of laminated composite plates with maximum shear buckling loads are studied via a multi-start global optimization technique. A previously proposed shear deformable finite element is used to evaluate the positive and negative shear buckling loads of laminated composite plates in the optimal design process. Optimal lay-ups of thin as well as moderately thick composite plates with global maximum positive or negative shear buckling loads are determined utilizing the multi-start global optimal design technique. A number of examples of the optimal shear buckling design of symmetrically and antisymmetrically laminated composite plates with various material properties, length-to-thickness ratios, aspect ratios and different numbers of layer gorups are given to illustrate the trends of optimal layer orientations of the plates. Since the existence of in-plane axial forces is possible, the effects of axial compressive load on the optimal layer orientations for maximum shear buckling load are also investigated.

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