Graduation Semester and Year




Document Type


Degree Name

Master of Science in Aerospace Engineering


Mechanical and Aerospace Engineering

First Advisor

Wen Chan


Many structures in aircraft, cars, trucks, ships, machines, tools, bridges, and buildings, consist of curved sections. These sections vary from straight line segments that have curvature at either one or both ends, segments with compound curvatures, segments with two mutually perpendicular curvatures or Gaussian curvatures, and segments with a simple curvature. With the advancements made in multi-purpose composites over the past 60 years, composites slowly but steadily have been appearing in these various vehicles, compound structures, and buildings. These composite sections provide added benefits over isotropic, polymeric, and ceramic materials by generally having a higher specific strength, higher specific stiffnesses, longer fatigue life, lower density, possibilities in reduction of life cycle and/or acquisition cost, and greater adaptability to intended function of structure via material composition and geometry. To be able to design and manufacture a safe composite laminate or structure, it is imperative that the stress distributions, their causes, and effects are thoroughly understood in order to successfully accomplish mission objectives and manufacture a safe and reliable composite. The objective of the thesis work is to expand upon the knowledge of simply curved composite structures by exploring and ascertaining all pertinent parameters, phenomenon, and trends in stress variations in curved laminates due to thermal loading. The simply curved composites consist of composites with one radius of curvature throughout the span of the specimen about only one axis. Analytical beam theory, classical lamination theory, and finite element analysis were used to ascertain stress variations in a flat, isotropic beam. An analytical method was developed to ascertain the stress variations in an isotropic, simply curved beam under thermal loading that is under both free-free and fixed-fixed constraint conditions. This is the first such solution to Author's best knowledge of such a problem. It was ascertained and proven that the general, non-modified (original) version of classical lamination theory cannot be used for an analytical solution for a simply curved beam or any other structure that would require rotations of laminates out their planes in space. Finite element analysis was used to ascertain stress variations in a simply curved beam. It was verified that these solutions reduce to the flat beam solutions as the radius of curvature of the beams tends to infinity. MATLAB was used to conduct the classical lamination theory numerical analysis. A MATLAB program was written to conduct the finite element analysis for the flat and curved beams, isotropic and composite. It does not require incompatibility techniques used in mechanics of isotropic materials for indeterminate structures that are equivalent to fixed-beam problems. Finally, it has the ability to enable the user to define and create unique elements not accessible in commercial software, and modify finite element procedures to take advantage of new paradigms.


Aerospace Engineering | Engineering | Mechanical Engineering


Degree granted by The University of Texas at Arlington