Date of Award:


Document Type:


Degree Name:

Doctor of Philosophy (PhD)


Mechanical and Aerospace Engineering

Committee Chair(s)

Wenbin Yu


Wenbin Yu


Steven L. Folkman


Thomas H. Fronk


Aaron Katz


Marvin W. Halling


A series of composite beam models are constructed for efficient high-fidelity beam analysis based on the variational-asymptotic method (VAM). Without invoking any a priori kinematic assumptions, the original three-dimensional, geometrically nonlinear beam problem is rigorously split into a two-dimensional cross-sectional analysis and a one-dimensional global beam analysis, taking advantage of the geometric small parameter that is an inherent property of the structure.

The thermal problem of composite beams is studied first. According to the quasisteady theory of thermoelasticity, two beam models are proposed: one for heat conduction analysis and the other for thermoelastic analysis. For heat conduction analysis, two different types of thermal loads are modeled: with and without prescribed temperatures over the crosssections. Then a thermoelastic beam model is constructed under the previously solved thermal field. This model is also extended for composite materials, which removed the restriction on temperature variations and added the dependence of material properties with respect to temperature based on Kovalenoko’s small-strain thermoelasticity theory.

Next the VAM is applied to model the multiphysics behavior of beam structure. A multiphysics beam model is proposed to capture the piezoelectric, piezomagnetic, pyroelectric, pyromagnetic, and hygrothermal effects. For the zeroth-order approximation, the classical models are in the form of Euler-Bernoulli beam theory. In the refined theory, generalized Timoshenko models have been developed, including two transverse shear strain measures. In order to avoid ill-conditioned matrices, a scaling method for multiphysics modeling is also presented. Three-dimensional field quantities are recovered from the one-dimensional variables obtained from the global beam analysis.

A number of numerical examples of different beams are given to demonstrate the application and accuracy of the present theory. Excellent agreements between the results obtained by the current models and those obtained by three-dimensional finite element analysis, analytical solutions, and those available in the literature can be observed for all the cross-sectional variables. The present beam theory has been implemented into the computer program VABS (Variational Asymptotic Beam Sectional Analysis).




This work made publicly available electronically on November 21, 2011.