A high precision triangular plate element is developed for the free vibration analysis of thermally buckled composite sandwich plates. Due to an uneven thermal expansion in the two principal material directions, the buckling mode of the plate may change from one pattern to another in the postbuckling region for certain fiber orientation and aspect ratio of the plate. Because of this buckle pattern change, the sequence of natural frequencies of the plate is also suddenly altered. By examining the buckling and free vibration modes of the plate, a clear picture of buckle pattern change and vibration mode shifting is presented. Numerical results show that if the shape of a free vibration mode is similar to the plate buckling mode then the natural frequency of that mode will drop to zero when the temperature reaches the buckling temperature.

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