Electronic Thesis and Dissertation Repository


Doctor of Philosophy


Mechanical and Materials Engineering


Anand V. Singh


Variational method deduced on the basis of the minimum potential energy is an efficient method to find solutions for complex engineering problems. In structural mechanics, the potential energy comprises strain energy, kinetic energy and the work done by external actions. To obtain these, the displacement are required as a priori. This research is concerned with the development of a numerical method based on variational principles to analyze piezoelectric composite plates and solids. A Non-Uniform Rational B-Spline (NURBS) function is used for describing both the geometry and electromechanical displacement fields. Two dimensional plate models are formulated according to the first order shear deformable plate theory for mechanical displacement. The electric potential varies non-linearly through the thickness, this variation is modelled by a discrete layer-wise linear variation.

The matrix equations of motion are reported for piezoelectric sensors, actuator, and power harvester. Normal mode summation technique is applied to study the frequency response of displacement, voltage and the power output. A full three dimensional model is also developed to study the dynamics of piezoelectric sandwich structures. Simulations are provided for thick plates using plate theory and three dimensional models to verify the applicability of those theories in their regime. Newmark’s direct integration technique and a fourth order Runge-Kutta method were used to study the transient vibration. The variational method developed in this thesis can be applied to other structural mechanics problem.