Date of Graduation


Document Type


Degree Type



Statler College of Engineering and Mineral Resources


Mechanical and Aerospace Engineering

Committee Chair

Nithi Sivaneri

Committee Co-Chair

Bruce Kang

Committee Member

Osama Mukdadi


Composite materials are replacing metals in many fields due to their favorable qualities such as strength-to-weight ratio, fatigue characteristics, and corrosion resistance. An efficient, versatile, and accurate composite plate element applicable to the dynamic analysis of composite plates would help the advancement of composites tremendously.

The objective of this research is to analyze composite plates using the classical laminated plate theory (CLPT), first-order deformation theory (FSDT), and higher-order deformation theory (HSDT) with the applicable finite element modeling (FEM) for each theory. This thesis investigates which theory is more efficient and accurate and evaluates the benefits of using an h-p-version conforming plate element.

A higher-order composite plate element, called MONNA, is formulated and introduced to aid with the analysis. This element has the capability to accommodate both the first-order and higher-order shear deformation theories. The performance of MONNA is compared with that of the current elements for static and dynamic analysis. There is a minor difference between the FSDT and HSDT results for many of the cases considered, although the HSDT is more accurate. Overall, the new element is concluded to be very accurate and requires much fewer elements than many of the existing popular elements. One limitation (as are the many existing plate elements) is that it is applicable only to rectangular domains.