Innovative Insights on the Thin Square Plate Large Deflection Problem

Gilad Hakim, Haim Abramovich

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review


Thin plates subjected to transverse load and undergoing large deflections have been widely studied and published in the literature. However, there is still a lack of information and understanding about the membrane stresses created under large deflections and their associated Airy stress function, as displayed in the well-known von Kármán equations set. The present study aims at providing explicit expressions for the membrane stresses, the deflections, and the Airy stress function for a general square plate area vertically uniformly loaded to reach large deflection state. This was obtained by using the results of a high-fidelity finite element analysis applied on a lateral loaded simply supported thin square plate, which are then casted to yield approximate Fourier series expressions for the membrane stresses, deflections, and the Airy stress function. The stress map figures provide a good understanding of the critical points on the plate, while the explicit mathematical expressions enabled the calculation of deflections and stresses for the entire plate area. Among other interesting findings, the presence of relatively high tensile and compressive membrane stresses existing near the plate edges was revealed, which might lead to potential failure hazards. The derivatives of the deflections and the Airy stress function enabled the validation of the large deflections von Kármán equations set for the investigated case, and it turned out that the generated expressions for the stresses and the lateral deflection based on a high-fidelity finite element model satisfy the second equation with a good accuracy, while the first one remains to further be investigated. Moreover, using the generated explicit equations, the load influence on the deflections and stresses was also analyzed to yield general novel expressions for the medium and very large deflections states. To generalize the investigated case, the stresses and the deflections were non-dimensionalized so they can be used for any material and plate dimensions.

Original languageEnglish
Article number6967
Issue number21
StatePublished - Nov 2023


  • Fourier series
  • finite element analysis
  • large deflection
  • membrane stress
  • non-linear load–deflection curve
  • simply supported movable edges
  • square thin plate
  • von Kármán equations

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • General Materials Science
  • Condensed Matter Physics


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