Response of composite laminates under in-plane compressive or shear loadings is of interest to the analyst and designers. Since they are thin, they are prone to instability under in-plane loads. Transverse shear effects are important even for thin laminates since elastic modulus and shear modulus are independent properties. For very thick laminates neglecting transverse shear effects leads to completely erroneous results. A number of different theories have been suggested by different investigators to account for transverse shear effects. In this investigation, an attempt has been made to take into account transverse shear effects for the stability analysis of moderately thick/very thick composite laminates under in-plane compressive and shear loading using a “SIMPLE HIGHER ORDER SHEAR DEFORMATION THEORY” based on four unknown displacements instead of five which is commonly used for most of the other higher order theories. A C1 continuous shear flexible finite element based on the proposed HSDT is developed using the Hermite cubic rectangular element. The analytical results obtained have been compared with the available results in literature. Effect of various parameters like aspect ratio, thickness to side ratio, fiber orientation and material properties have been studied in detail.

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