A review of boundary element methods for the numerical treatment of free and forced vibrations of flexural plates is presented. The integral formulation and the corresponding numerical solution from the direct boundary element method viewpoint are described for elastic or inelastic flexural plates experiencing small deformations. When the material is elastic the formulation can be either in the frequency or the time domain in conjunction with the elastodynamic or the elastostatic fundamental solution of the corresponding flexural plate problem. When use is made of the elastodynamic fundamental solution, the discretization is essentially restricted to the perimeter of the plate, while an interior discretization in addition to the boundary one is needed when the elastostatic fundamental solution is employed in the formulation. However, the great simplicity of the elastostatic fundamental solution leads eventually to more efficient schemes. Besides, through dual reciprocity techniques one can again restrict the discretization to the plate perimeter. Free vibrations are solved by the determinant method when use is made of the elastodynamic fundamental solution, or by generalized eigenvalue analysis when use is made of the elastostatic fundamental solution. Forced vibrations are solved either in the frequency domain in conjunction with Fourier or Laplace transform or the time domain in conjunction with a step-by-step time integration. When the material is inelastic the problem is formulated incrementally in the time domain in conjunction with the elastostatic fundamental solution and the plate response is obtained through step-by-step time integration. Special formulations such as indirect, Green’s function, symmetric, dual and multiple reciprocity, or boundary collocation ones are also reviewed. Effects such as those of corners, viscoelasticity, anisotropy, inhomogeneity, in-plane forces, shear deformation and rotatory inertia, variable thickness, internal supports, elastic foundation and large defections are discussed as well. Representative numerical examples serve to illustrate boundary element methods and demonstrate their advantages over other numerical methods. This review article includes 150 references.

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