02638223(95)000917
Composite Structures 31 (1995) 265211
0 1995 Elsevier Science Limited
Printed in Great Britain. All rights reserved
0263~8223/95/$9.50
Dynamic stiffness analysis of laminated beams
using a first order shear deformation theory
Moshe Eisenberger,
Faculty of Civil Engineering, Technion  I srael I nstitute of Technology, Technion City 32000, I srael
Haim Abramovich & Oleg Shulepov
Faculty of Aerospace Engineering, Technion  I srael I nstitute of Technology Technion City 32000, I srael
In this paper the exact vibration frequencies of generally laminated beams
are found using a new method, including the effect of rotary inertia and
shear deformations. The effect of shear in laminated beams is more
significant than in homogenous beams, due to the fact that the ratio of
extensional stiffness to the transverse shear stiffness is high. The exact
dynamic stiffness matrix is derived, and then any set of boundary conditions
including elastic connections, and assembly of members, can be solved as in
the classical direct stiffness method for framed structures. The natural
frequencies of vibration of a structure are those values of frequency that
cause the dynamic stiffness matrix to become singular, and one can find as
many frequencies as needed from the same matrix. In the paper several
examples are given, and compared with results from the literature.
INTRODUCTION
The increased use of laminated composite
beams as movable elements of machines, such
as rotating blades or robot arms requires the
knowledge of their natural vibration charac
teristics. Most of the work done in this area was
concentrated on calculations of natural frequen
cies of laminated plates, and only a few dealt
with beams. Vinson & Sierakowski3 calculated
the natural frequencies and mode shapes for
simply supported composite beams having mid
plane symmetry of the crosssection, based on
the classical lamination theory which neglects
shear deformation. For anisotropic beams the
transverse shear deformation is very important
because the ratio between the transverse shear
modulus and the extensional one is about l/30.
Therefore, the classical lamination theory fails
to predict correctly the natural frequencies of
laminated composite beams. Abramovich4 pre
sented exact solutions for symmetrically
laminated beams with ten different boundary
conditions. This work is based on Timoshenko
type equations, including shear deformation and
rotary inertia but with the joint action term of
the two effects being omitted. Teoh & Huang5
also presented the influence of shear deforma
tion and rotary inertia on the free vibrations of
orthotropic cantilever beams, based on an
energy approach. Chen & Yang6 introduced a
finite element method to predict bending and
free vibration frequencies of laminated beams
including shear deformation. Exact solution to
the problem of the free vibration of symmetrical
laminated composite beams based on a Timo
shenko type theory is also presented7 for some
arbitrary boundary conditions. Singh & Abdel
naser8 analyzed the equations of motion of a
crossply symmetric laminated composite beam,
using a thirdorder shear deformation theory.
They showed that the results using a firstorder
(Timoshenko type equations) and thirdorder
theory are almost the same. Recently, Abramo
vich & Livshits extended the approach of
Abramovich4 to include nonsymmetric layups.
These are the only available results for non
symmetric laminated beams.
The exact element method is used in this
paper to solve generally laminated composite
265
266 M. Eisenbergel; H. Abramovich, 0. Shulepov
beams. This is possible since one derives the
exact dynamic stiffness matrix, and then any set
of boundary conditions including elastic connec
tions, and assembly of members, can be solved
as in the classical direct stiffness method for
framed structures. When applying the exact ele
ment method, the two coupled differential
equations of motion are solved, rather than the
decoupled equations, as in Abramovich.4 Thus,
there is no need to neglect the joint effect of
rotary inertia and shear deformation, and thus
the results in this work are used also to study
the influence of this term on the vibration fre
quencies of a laminated beam, by comparison to
the results in Abramovich.4
In this paper we extend the analysis for sym
metrically laminated beams, to unsymmetrical
beams. The advantages of the present method
are in the ability to deal with general layouts
and geometries of the structure and its bound
ary conditions with the ease of the general finite
element method, using a minimal number of
elements, but with exact results. Introduction
of complex frame geometries and flexible
connections is straightforward. From the com
putational aspect, the natural frequencies of
vibration of a structure are those values of fre
quency that cause the dynamic stiffness matrix
to become singular, and one can find as many
frequencies as needed from the same matrix. In
the paper several examples are given, and com
pared with results from the literature.
ANALYSIS
For harmonic vibrations, the equations of
motion for laminated beams read
d2u
I,UPu+I~co2~+& +B,, =
dx2
d24 0
dx2
I,co3u +13CJJ24 +D,, 
d2qb +B d2u

dx2
, dx2
+A55
(1)
(2)
(3)
where u(x) is the axial displacement along the
beam, w(x) is the vertical displacement of the
beam, dwldx is the slope of the beam (com
posed of two parts, C+(X) the bending slope and
the additional shear deformation angle r(x)),
and co is the frequency of harmonic vibration.
I,, Z2 and I, are the mass inertia defined as
h/2
z,=c
p dz
(4)
h/2
i
h/2
I2=c
zp dz
h/2
(5)
s
h/2
I3i=C
.z2p dz
(6)
h/2
where p is the mass density, and c is the beam
width. Also,
h/2
A,,=c
Q,, dz
(7)
h/2
s
hi2
BII=C &,,zdz
phi2
(8)
s
h/2
D,,=c
cj, ,z2 dz
(9)
h/2
A55 =ck
I
h/2
Q55dZ
(10)
hi2
where k is the shear correction factor, and Q,,
and Q55 are the transformed material constants
as given in Vinson & Sierakowski.
For symmetrically laminated beams, B,, =
I, = 0 and the equations reduce to
d2u
IIco2u+Ar, =
dx2
0
I, co2w +A55
(J!$~)=o
(11)
(12)
(13)
Here we see that the first equation is uncou
pled from the other two. These are coupled and
are similar to the equations for the Timoshenko
beam model that includes the effect of shear
deformations and rotary inertia.4
If we normalize eqns (l3) using the relation
l=x/ L, and choose for the solution the follow
Stiffness analysis of laminated beams
267
ing polynomial series
cz
ll=C Uiti
i=O
cc
(14)
W=C Wi5i
i=O
3c
i=O
(15)
(16)
1
44Z=
(i+l)(i+2)&
X (I lL2W2Ui+12L202fi
Wi +2=
(i +
f,
1+2
=_ (I~L202fi+I~L202Ui~L2W2(I~Ui+~~f;:)+A55L(i+1)Wi+1A55L2f;)
(i +l )(i +2)0,,
Substitution of these expressions and their
derivatives in the differential equations yields
n; a;
I *L2W2 C Ui<+12L2c02 Chti
i=O i=O
i=O
x:
+Bll C (i+l)(i+2)fi+2ti=0
i=O
(17)
i=O i=O
A55L f (i+l)&+&=O
i=O
(18)
i=O i=O
w
+Bjl 1 (i+l)(i+2) Ui+21i
i=O
m
+a1 c (i+l)(i+2)fi+,iJ
i=O
x
+A,,L c (i+l)wi+J
i=O
(19)
i=O
Equating terms with the same power of t in
these equations, we arrive at the following
recurrence formulae for ui + 2, wi + 2, and fi + 2 :
where
PO)
(21)
(22)
(23)
and we have all the Ui, Wi, and fi coefficients
except for the first two, which should be found
using the boundary conditions. The terms for
Ui+2, wi+2,
and fi + 2 converge to 0 as i+ cc. For
this case we choose as degrees of freedom in
the formulation the axial displacement, the lat
eral deflection, and the flexural rotation at the
two ends of the beam element. At <=O we have
uo=u (0)
(24)
wo=w (0)
(25)
fo=f (0) (26)
so the first three terms are readily known from
the boundary conditions. The terms ul, wl, and
fi are found as follows: all the uis, WIs and fis
are linearly dependent on the first two in each
series, and we can write
u(1)=c$Lo+c2U* +&wg+C4w1
+Gfo+Gf1 (27)
w(1)=c~uo+c*u~ +cgwo+c~ow~
+Gfo+G2f1 (28)
f(l >=G,u0+C,4u, +cl swo+c16w1
+G7fo+G8fi (29)
The eighteen C coefficients are functions of the
axial, shear, and flexural stiffness of the ele
ment. C1 for example, is the value of u (1)
calculated from eqns (1416) using the recur
268 M. Eisenberger; H. Abramovich, 0. Shulepov
rence formulae in eqns (2022) for u. = 1 and
u,=wO=w, =fo=fi =O. For the derivation of the
stiffness matrix we have to apply unit displace
ments or rotation at each of the six degrees of
freedom of the element, one at a time and cal
culate all the terms in the series for U, w and 4
using the recurrence formulas. Then the axial
force, shear force, and the bending moment at
the two ends of the element (t=O and t= 1) will
be the stiffnesses for the member.
Thus, there are six sets of geometrical bound
ary conditions as follows:
(1)
(4
(3)
(4)
(5)
(6)
u(O)=l;
W(o)=f(o)=U(l)=W(l)=f(l)=o;
w(O)=l;
u(o)=f(o)=u(l)=W(l)=f(1)=o;
f (O)=l;
u(o)=W(o)=U(l)=W(l)=f(1)=o;
u(l)=l;
u(o)=W(o)=f(o)=W(l)=f(l)=o;
w(l)=l;
u(o)=W(o)=f(o)=u(l)=f(l)=o;
f (l)=l;
u(o)=W(o)=f(o)=u(l)=W (l)=O;
Corresponding to these six sets there are six
solutions I)/~; i = 1, 6 for u(t), %i; i=l, 6 for
w(Sy), and 3;; i=l, 6 for f (0 which are found
using eqns (2426) and (2729). These are the
dynamic shape functions for the laminated
beam model as these are frequency dependent.
Then, the holding actions, i.e. stiffnesses are:
A,, BII
S(l,i)=L~~i,,L.Bi,,
S(2, i)=  9 [%&, 1 9;,o]
(30)
(31)
(32)
k =0
J
S(6, i)= + i k.P,,k+% ,; kj)/i.k
kl L I
(35)
The natural frequencies of vibration for the
member are the values of w that cause the
2 4 6 8 10 12
f [KHz1
Fig. 1. Determinant of the dynamic stiffness matrix vs.
natural frequency for Example 1.
Table 1. Natural frequencies (in kHz) of a simply
supported orthotropic (0) graphiteepoxy beam (L=O381
m, h=c=0*254)
Mode Ref. 4 Ref. 7 Present
1 0.755 0.755 0.755 106
2 2.543 2.548 2.547846
3 4.697 4.716 4.7 15963
4   6.718828
5 6.919 6.960 6.959911
6 9.127 9.194 9.193958
. . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . ..L...... ..:.........;
5 : i ; ; .; :
. . . . .._
1ll
I I I I I I
._
5 15 25 35
w
Fig. 2. Determinant of the dynamic stiffness matrix vs.
natural frequency for Example 2.
Stiffness analysis of laminated beams
269
dynamic stiffness matrix for the element to
become singular. A simple research routine is
applied to find these values up to the desired
accuracy.
EXAMPLES
Several examples will be given for verification
of the results compared to the known values.7T4
.
50 100 150 200 250 300
Frequent y
Fig. 3. Determinant of the dynamic stiffness matrix vs.
natural frequency for Example 3.
The following AS/35016 graphiteepoxy mate
rial properties are used in all the examples:
E, =14*5 x 10 N/m, &=0*96 x 10 N/m*,
G23=O*34 x 10 N/m, G12=G13=0.41 x 10 N/
m*,
v12=0.3, and p=157 x lo3 kg s* m4. The
shear correction factor k is taken as 5/6.
The first example is for an orthotropic (0)
beam.7,4 This problem was solved using the
0.001
88.8 88.9 89
Frequency
89.1
Fig. 4. Determinant of the dynamic stiffness matrix vs.
natural frequency for Example 3  5th and 6th frequen
cies.
Table 2. Non dimensional frequencies (;=wLzL:p/EI h*) of (O/90/90/0) crossply beams (L/h=154
Beam
type
1 2
Mode
3 4 5 6
SS [Ref. 71 25023 8.4812 15.7558 23.3089
SS [present] 25023504 8.4812945 15.755931 17.259067 23.309265
CC [Ref. 71 45940 10.2906 16.9659 24.0410 31.2874
CC [present] 4594069 10.290759 16.966160 24.041380 31.287901
CF [Ref. 71 0.9241 4.8925 11.4400 18.6972
CF [present] 0.9241169 4.8925270 11.440113 17.259067 18.697446
CS [Ref. 71 3.5254 9.4423 16.3839

23.6850
CS [present] 3.5253917 9.4423758 16.384064 17.259067 23.685408
30.8386
30.839122
34.518135
26.2118
26.212145
31.0659
31.066347
Table 3. Non dimensional frequencies (~=oLz,~Z~/DI I ) of (O/90) beams with different boundary conditions (L/h=lO)
Mode
Number
1
2
3
4
5
6
7
8
9
10
FixedFixed HingedHinged FixedFree
Ref. 9 Present Ref. 9 Present Ref. 9 Present
12.141 12.10808 8.1439 8.13392 2.2427 2.23948
28.473 28.37158 21.661 21.60865 12.494 12.46528
48.141 47.94420 43.788 43.64532 30.458 30.36466
69.449 69.14120 63.787 63.56258 50.765 50.61310
91.743 91.31179 89.150 88.92666 54.707 54.65661
102.66 102.56854 89.313 88.96338 74.216 73.91206
114.62 114.06012 114.30 113.76717 97.449 97.01444
137.38 136.67633 135.88 135.21732 120.26 119.70018
160.43 159.58815 159.97 159.14159 141.87 141.33001
175.55 175.05971 168.42 168.00770 146.95 146.67388
270 M. Eisenbergel; H. Abramovich, 0. Shulepov
present method and the results are compared
with those from the literature.437 Figure 1 shows
the plot of the determinant of the dynamic stiff
ness matrix for the beam vs. the natural
lr
I
t
Modr 1
__..
_...
. . . .
u
I I
0 : . 6 6 10
4
I
3 _I  ., Mode 3 :a
. ..
A
I
0 2 4
6 a IO
2 : : 
._
.., i
._ .
3
I I I
0 I 4 6 6 10
0 2 4 6 : 10
Fig. 5. Mode shapes for hingedhinged beam of Example
frequency f in KHz as in the references.7Y4 This
plot is a very efficient tool that enables us to
identify the various kinds of modes that exist in
the behavior of generally laminated beams:
._i Mode 6
L 1
0 2 4 6 1 10
., ,;
1)
I I
0 2 4 6 I 10
u displacement,   w displacement,
  @ rotation, and .....  7 shear angle.
Stiffness analysis of laminated beams
271
axially dominant mode, flexural dominant
mode, and shear dominant mode. The first 6
natural frequencies for a shortthick (L/h= 1.5,
h=l) simply supported beam are given in Table
1. As can be seen, in both7*4 the fourth fre
quency was skipped. This is the axial
deformation mode.
The second example is for a symmetrically
laminated beam as in Chandrashekhara et d7
In Figure 2 the determinant of the dynamic
stiffness matrix is plotted vs. the nondimen
sional frequency 0 for the clampedsimply
supported boundary conditions. In Table 2, the
first six nondimensional frequencies of four
layer symmetric crossply beams with different
boundary conditions are presented. Here again,
several of the frequencies are added to those
given in Chandrashekhara et a1.7 We can see
that these are not the high frequencies, but
rather among the lower modes. These are the
uncoupled axial vibration modes.
The third example is for a nonsymmetric
beam with two layers (O/90).9 The results for
the first 10 natural frequencies of the beam,
with 3 combinations of end conditions are com
pared with the results from Abramovich &
Livshits in Table 3. For all these cases the axial
displacements were restrained, so that the effect
of the coupling is stronger. It can be seen that
the results are in very good agreement for all
frequencies and boundary conditions (with rela
tive differences of less than 0.5%). In Fig. 3 the
determinant of the stiffness matrix for the
hingedhinged beam is plotted. Here we can see
the first 16 natural frequencies. The 5th and 6th
frequencies are very close, and in Fig. 4 one can
see them in more detail. The first 10 mode
shapes are given in Fig. 5. For each mode the
axial displacement U, the transverse displace
ment w, the bending slope 4, and the shear
angle y are plotted. All the mode shapes are
normalized in such a way that the bending slope
at the right end is unit. One can see that the 6th
and 10th are the modes that are dominated by
the axial deformations, and in all the modes and
effect of coupling is very clear.
SUMMARY
In this paper the exact shape functions for the
deflection and bending slope of composite lami
nated beam elements were used to derive the
exact dynamic stiffness matrix for the beam.
The element has only 6 degrees of freedom, as
the classical frame element. It was shown that
this method yields the exact results, and enables
us to get all the natural frequencies. The advan
tages of the present method are in the ability to
deal with general layouts and geometries of the
structure and its boundary conditions at the
ease of the general finite element method, using
a minimal number of elements, but with exact
results.
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1.
2.
3.
4.
5.
6.
7.
8.
9.
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Teoh, L. S. & Huang, C. C., The vibrations of beams
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Singh, M. P. & Abdelnaser, A. S., Random response
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