Postbuckling and free vibrations of composite beams

Samir A. Emam, Ali H. Nayfeh

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

187 Citations (Scopus)


An exact solution for the postbuckling configurations of composite beams is presented. The equations governing the axial and transverse deformations of a composite laminated beam accounting for the midplane stretching are derived. The inplane inertia and damping are neglected, and hence the two equations are reduced to a single nonlinear fourth-order partial-integral-differential equation governing the transverse deformations. We find out that the governing equation for the postbuckling of symmetric or asymmetric composite beams has the same form as that of beams made of an isotropic material. Composite beams with fixed-fixed, fixed-hinged, and hinged-hinged boundary conditions are considered. A closed-form solution for the postbuckling deformation is obtained as a function of the applied axial load, which is beyond the critical buckling load. To study the vibrations that take place in the vicinity of a buckled equilibrium position, we exactly solved the linear vibration problem around the first buckled configuration. Solving the resulting eigen-value problem results in the natural frequencies and their associated mode shapes. Both the static response represented by the postbuckling analysis and the dynamic response represented by the free vibration analysis in the postbuckling domain strongly depend on the lay-up of the laminate. Variations of the beam's midspan rise and the fundamental natural frequency of the postbuckling domain vibrations with the applied axial load are presented for a variety of lay-up laminates. The ratio of the axial stiffness to the bending stiffness was found to be a crucial parameter in the analysis. This control parameter, through the selection of the appropriate lay-up, can be manipulated to help design and optimize the static and dynamic behavior of composite beams.

Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)636-642
Number of pages7
JournalComposite Structures
Issue number4
Publication statusPublished - May 2009


  • Composite beams
  • Exact solution
  • Postbuckling
  • Vibration

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • Ceramics and Composites
  • Civil and Structural Engineering


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