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Starting from a mixed variational formulation of linear elastostatics, it is shown that, for a laminated composite, the shearing force in any lamina would in general depend upon the shear deformation of that lamina as well as of the others. The coupling depends upon the material properties, the stacking sequence, and the applied surface tractions. Existing theories of homogeneous as well as laminated plates are seen to arise as specializations/approximations of the general theory. The theory is illustrated by studying the transverse shear coupling in a twelve-layer laminate. Examples illustrating the influence of the coupling on the accuracy of modelling laminate behavior are given.
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