In this paper, two new Mindlin-type plate bending elements have been derived for the modelling of functionally graded plate subjected to various loading conditions such as tensile loading, in-plane bending and out-of-plane bending. The properties of the first Mindlin-type element (i.e. Average Mindlin element) are computed by using an average fibre distribution technique which averages the macro-mechanical properties over each element. The properties of the second Mindlin-type element (i.e. Smooth Mindlin element) are computed by using a smooth fibre distribution technique, which directly uses the macro-mechanical properties at Gaussian quadrature points of each element. There were two types of non-linearity considered in the modelling of the plate, which include finite strain and material degradation. The composite plate considered in this paper is functionally graded in the longitudinal direction only, but the FE code developed is capable of analysing composite plates with functional gradation in transverse and radial direction as well. This study was able to show that the structural integrity enhancement and strength maximisation of composite structures are achievable through functional gradation of material properties over the structure
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