Thin-walled structural members are used extensively in the offshore industry in applications ranging from marine risers to platforms and frames. Advanced fiber composite structural members may offer advantages over their conventional steel counterparts in certain situations. Use of composite members will require modifications to existing structural analysis codes. This paper presents a beam theory for thin-walled composite beams that can be incorporated into existing codes. Timoshenko beam theory is utilized to account for shear deformation effects, which cannot be neglected in composite beams, and for the variability in material properties in different walls of the beam cross section. The theory is applied to the analysis of the free vibration problem and shows the dependence of the natural frequencies and mode shapes on the in-plane properties of the laminates that form the walls of the beam. Forced periodic and forced arbitrary problems are also discussed and the deflected shapes and maximum deflections are shown as functions of wall layups.

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