A method for investigating the dynamic response of shear deformable laminated composite plates subject to low-speed impact is presented. The equations of motion of the impactor and the plate are derived via a virtual work approach. The contact force between the impactor and the plate is calculated by using an experimentally established contact law. The effects of existing in-plane forces, plate aspect ratio, length-to-thickness ratio, fiber angles, and number of layer groups on the contact force with or without the consideration of ply failure are studied. Optimal fiber angles and number of layer groups for angle-ply plates with maximum first-ply failure impact velocity are determined based on the maximum stress criterion.

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