Date of Award

Spring 2015

Degree Type


Degree Name

Master of Science in Aeronautics and Astronautics


Aeronautics and Astronautics

First Advisor

Wenbin Yu

Committee Chair

Wenbin Yu

Committee Member 1

Vikas Tomar

Committee Member 2

Arun Prakash


Motivated by the requirement of modelling for space flexible reflectors as well as other applications of plate structures in engineering, a general anisotropic laminated thin plate model and a monoclinic Reissner-Mindlin plate model with thermal deformation, two-way coupled piezoelectric effect and pyroelectric effect is constructed using the variational asymptotic method, without any ad hoc assumptions. Total potential energy contains strain energy, electric potential energy and energy caused by temperature change. Three-dimensional strain field is built based on the concept of warping function and decomposition of the rotation tensor. The feature of small thickness and large in-plane dimension of plate structure helped to asymptotically simplify the three-dimensional analysis to a two-dimensional analysis on the reference surface and a one-dimensional analysis through the thickness. ^ For the zeroth-order approximation, the asymptotically correct expression of energy is derived into the form of energetic equation in classical laminated plate theory, which will be enough to predict the behavior of plate structures as thin as a space flexible reflector. A through-the-thickness strain field can be expressed in terms of material constants and two-dimensional membrane and bending strains, while the transverse normal and shear stresses are not predictable yet. In the first-order approximation, the warping functions are further disturbed into a high order and an asymptotically correct energy expression with derivatives of the two-dimensional strains is acquired. For the convenience of practical use, the expression is transformed into a Reissner-Mindlin form with optimization implemented to minimize the error. Transverse stresses and strains are recovered using the in-plane strain variables. ^ Several numerical examples of different laminations and shapes are studied with the help of analytical solutions or shell elements in finite element codes. The constitutive relation is validated by the excellent agreement between the results from three-dimensional finite element analyses and the presented model for both thin plates using zeroth-order approximation and thick plates using first-order approximation.