This paper describes a comprehensive approach to analyse anisotropic composite beams. Based on geometrically non-linear elasticity theory, the non-linear 3-D beam problem splits into either a linear or non-linear 2-D analysis of the beam cross-section and a non-linear 1-D analysis along the beam reference line. Usually cross-sectional analyses are linear, but there are a few exceptions, like the “trapeze effect” and “Brazier effect”. The two sub-tasks of this work (viz. non-linear analysis of the beam cross-section and non-linear beam analysis) are to be accomplished on a single platform using object-oriented framework. First, we perform a non-linear numerical cross-sectional analysis, based on the Variational-Asymptotic Method (VAM). It is capable of treating cross-sections of arbitrary geometry and generally anisotropic material. Second, we formulate the comprehensively non-linear 1-D governing equations along the beam reference line using the mixed variational method and the expressions for non-linear stiffness matrix. The dynamic response of non-linear, flexible multibody systems is thus simulated within the framework of energy-preserving and energy-decaying time integration schemes that provide unconditional stability for non-linear systems. Finally, local 3-D stress, strain and displacement fields for representative sections in the component beams are recovered, based on the stress resultants from a 1-D global beam analysis. Results from this analysis are compared with those available in the literature, both theoretical and experimental, and focus on the behavior of multi-body systems involving members with elastic couplings.

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