A triangular plate element for thermo-elastic analysis of sandwich panels with a functionally graded core

M. Das, Atila Barut, E. Madenci, Damodar R. Ambur

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

40 Scopus citations


A sandwich construction is commonly composed of a single soft isotropic core with relatively stiff orthotropic face sheets. The stiffness of the core may be functionally graded through the thickness in order to reduce the interfacial shear stresses. In analysing sandwich panels with a functionally gradient core, the three-dimensional conventional finite elements or elements based on the layerwise (zig-zag) theory can be used. Although these elements accurately model a sandwich panel, they are computationally costly when the core is modelled as composed of several layers due to its grading material properties. An alternative to these elements is an element based on a single-layer plate theory in which the weighted-average field variables capture the panel deformation in the thickness direction. This study presents a new triangular finite element based on (3, 2)-order single-layer theory for modelling thick sandwich panels with or without a functionally graded core subjected to thermomechanical loading. A hybrid energy functional is employed in the derivation of the element because of a C1 interelement continuity requirement. The variations of temperature and distributed loading acting on the top and bottom surfaces are non-uniform. The temperature also varies arbitrarily through the thicknes.

Original languageEnglish (US)
Pages (from-to)940-966
Number of pages27
JournalInternational Journal for Numerical Methods in Engineering
Issue number9
StatePublished - Nov 26 2006


  • FGM
  • Finite element
  • Hybrid formulation
  • Sandwich construction
  • Single-layer theory

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • Numerical Analysis
  • Engineering(all)
  • Applied Mathematics


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