Buckling and free vibration of shear-flexible sandwich beams using a couple-stress-based finite element

Goncalves Reinaldo*, Anssi Karttunen, Jani Romanoff, J. N. Reddy

*Corresponding author for this work

Research output: Contribution to journalArticleScientificpeer-review

24 Citations (Scopus)


In this work, we create a framework for linear buckling and free vibration analyses of sandwich beams using a microstructure-dependent Timoshenko beam model founded on the modified couple-stress theory. The stiffness parameters of a structural web-core sandwich panel are determined by unit cell analysis. An extension to homogeneous cores is also carried out. By employing the exact general solution to the governing equations of the beam, an accurate approximate finite element stiffness matrix is formulated. Furthermore, the static shape functions are used to derive consistent linear geometric stiffness and mass matrices. A convergence study shows that the approximate finite element has good accuracy although the hyperbolic terms of the exact general solution have been expanded into only relatively low-order polynomial series. Results from examples show that the microstructure-dependent beam can predict critical buckling loads and natural frequencies with very good accuracy when compared to more sophisticated finite element models. Unlike the classical Timoshenko beam model, the microstructure-dependent model yields accurate results also when the sandwich assembly is transversely flexible and the bending stiffness of the faces non-negligible.

Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)233-241
Number of pages9
JournalComposite Structures
Publication statusPublished - 1 Apr 2017
MoE publication typeA1 Journal article-refereed


  • Buckling
  • Couple stress
  • Finite element
  • Free vibration
  • Timoshenko beam

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