In the present work, the three-dimensional analysis for the deflection and stress distributions of functionally graded ceramic–metal sandwich plates is developed based on the method of sampling surfaces (SaS). In accordance with this method, into each layer of the plate, reference surfaces that are not equally spaced and are parallel to the mid-surface of the plate are introduced, and the displacement vectors of these surfaces are chosen as unknown functions. Such a choice allows the representation of the governing equations of the proposed higher order layer-wise plate theory in a very compact form and also permits the derivation of strain–displacement relationships correctly describing all motions including the rigid-body motions of the functionally graded plate. Hence the 3D elasticity problem of the thick plate is efficiently solved. The material properties of sandwich plate’s face layer are assumed to be that of a two-constituent material that vary continuously through the thickness of the face sheet according to a power law distribution of the volume fraction of the constituents. The core layer is homogeneous and made of an isotropic ceramic material. The effects of the volume fraction of the material constituents and their distribution on the deflections and, in particular, the 3-D stress distributions as well as the effects of the length-to-width and length-to-thickness ratios of the plate are investigated. Comparison of the results of the present work with the results available in existing literature is carried out for a benchmark problem. It is shown that considering large number of SaS, which are located at interfaces and Chebyshev polynomial nodes, the accuracy of the solutions can be improved significantly wherein the error will approach zero value as the total number of surfaces in each layer become very large.

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