A refined higher-order composite box beam theory

Thomas R. McCarthy, Aditi Chattopadhyay

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

22 Scopus citations


A three-dimensional theory is developed to model composite box beams with arbitrary wall thicknesses. The theory, which is based on a refined displacement field, approximates the three-dimensional elasticity solution so that the beam cross-sectional properties are not reduced to one-dimensional beam parameters. Both in-plane and out-of-plane warping are included automatically in the formulation. The model can accurately capture the transverse shear stresses through the thickness of each wall while satisfying stress-free boundary conditions on the inner and outer surfaces of the beam. Numerical results are presented for beams with varying wall thicknesses and aspect ratios. The static results are correlated with available experimental data and show excellent agreement. Results presented for thick-walled box beams show the importance of including transverse shear in the formulation and the difficulty of defining a 'beam' twist for the entire cross-section.

Original languageEnglish (US)
Pages (from-to)523-534
Number of pages12
JournalComposites Part B: Engineering
Issue number5-6
StatePublished - 1997


  • B. mechanical properties
  • C. analytical modelling
  • Composite box beams

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • Ceramics and Composites
  • Mechanics of Materials
  • Mechanical Engineering
  • Industrial and Manufacturing Engineering


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