Standard Article

Plates and Shells

Structural Technology

Structural Mechanics

  1. Victor Birman

Published Online: 15 DEC 2010

DOI: 10.1002/9780470686652.eae141

Encyclopedia of Aerospace Engineering

Encyclopedia of Aerospace Engineering

How to Cite

Birman, V. 2010. Plates and Shells. Encyclopedia of Aerospace Engineering. .

Author Information

  1. Missouri University of Science and Technology, Engineering Education Center, St. Louis, MO, USA

Publication History

  1. Published Online: 15 DEC 2010


The chapter outlines the foundations of the theory of plates and shells. The general approach employed in all versions of the relevant theories leads to particular cases including the classical (technical) theory of isotropic and composite plates and shells. Examples of solutions of linear bending and buckling problems are illustrated. The effect of large nonlinear deformations on the response of plates and shells is reviewed. The analysis of stiffened plates and shells is discussed, including the method modeling discrete reinforcements and the smeared stiffeners technique applicable to closely spaced identical stringers. It is shown that openings and cut-outs influence the behavior and strength of plates and shells, both locally through the stress concentration as well as globally through their effect on the stiffness. The concepts of composite and sandwich plates and shells are elucidated, providing insight on the peculiarities of mechanics of these structures.


  • plates;
  • shells;
  • strength;
  • stress;
  • composite structures;
  • sandwich structures