A higher-order shear deformation theory of laminated composite plates is developed. The theory contains the same dependent unknowns as in the first-order shear deformation theory of Whitney and Pagano [6], but accounts for parabolic distribution of the transverse shear strains through the thickness of the plate. Exact closed-form solutions of symmetric cross-ply laminates are obtained and the results are compared with three-dimensional elasticity solutions and first-order shear deformation theory solutions. The present theory predicts the deflections and stresses more accurately when compared to the first-order theory.

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