Nonlinear deformation can occur in thin laminated structures due to thermal fields present in the laminates. Thermally induced laminate response in buckling and vibration has been previously studied in nonlinear dynamics by approximations that compromise the total energy of the system. In this paper, this problem is studied based on the nonlinear thermal mechanical analysis of a thin laminated structure using a Galerkin type approach, with total energy conservation. Equation of motion for laminates in orthotropic and isotropic structures in thermal buckling response in a simply supported boundary condition is obtained in a decoupled modal form of the Duffing equation, with consideration of both non-uniform in-plane and transverse temperature variations, in steady state and transient state. Analysis is made for the thermal buckling behavior of an isotropic laminate with respect to the steady-state and transient thermal fields. In particular, chaos and instability due to the transient thermal field are investigated.

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