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Composite Structural Mechanics Using Matlab

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1999 Annual Conference


Charlotte, North Carolina

Publication Date

June 20, 1999

Start Date

June 20, 1999

End Date

June 23, 1999



Page Count


Page Numbers

4.138.1 - 4.138.11

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Paper Authors

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Oscar, Jr. Barton

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Jacob Wallace

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NOTE: The first page of text has been automatically extracted and included below in lieu of an abstract

Session 2520

Composite Structural Mechanics using MATLAB

Oscar Barton, Jr., Jacob B. Wallace United States Naval Academy Annapolis, Md 21402


In this paper MATLAB is adopted as the programming tool used for the analysis of composite materials mechanics. Since the formulation of the mechanical behavior of composite materials involves extensive use of matrices, MATLAB is ideally suited. Morever, graphical interfaces provide an effective means of use. This article considers several topics presented in an elective course offered at the U.S. Naval Academy in composite mechanics, provides the background of these topics, and presents an overview of the MATLAB code that performs the analysis.


Composite materials are widely becoming the material of choice for many structural and nonstructural applications. For instance, the aircraft industry has utilized composites for wing skins and other control surfaces that will provide savings in fuel consumption and weight, and in the automotive industry composite materials are used to fabricate body panels. The civil engineering community has begun to investigate the use of glass and carbon reinforced plastics in the repair of aging bridges, piers, columns and other structures vital to the nation’s infrastructure and economy. Most engineering students are only exposed to the mechanics of composite structures at the graduate level. The United States Naval Academy is an undergraduate institution educating future Naval and Marine Corps officers for immediate entry in the fleet - a fleet containing sophisticate weapon systems and advanced materials. Exposing the midshipman to concepts in composite materials will serve them well in a technical Navy.

The Composite materials mechanics course (EM436) at the U.S. Naval Academy considers both the analysis of a composite lamina as well as laminate analysis. In composite lamina analysis the midshipman are exposed to topics including generalized Hooke’s law, micro- mechanics, and lamina strength analysis.

The second part of the course concentrates on laminate analysis in which the midshipman study classical lamination theory. The theory is then applied to beams. Analysis of isotropic beams is previously covered in elementary strength of materials and provides framework upon which to build an understanding for the behavior of composite beams

Barton, O. J., & Wallace, J. (1999, June), Composite Structural Mechanics Using Matlab Paper presented at 1999 Annual Conference, Charlotte, North Carolina.

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