The “x” and “theta” are shell coordinates, not principal coordinates of an orthotripic layer of the shell wall. For example, for a shell of revolution, “x” would be the meridional coordinate and “theta” would be the circumferential coordinate.

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Brian F. Tatting (Department of Engineering Mechanics, VPISU), “Analysis and Design of Variable Stiffness Composite Cylinders”, PhD. Dissertation, October 1998, ETD etd-10198-11378

PARTIAL ABSTRACT: An investigation of the possible performance improvements of thin circular cylindrical shells through the use of the variable stiffness concept is presented. The variable stiffness concept implies that the stiffness parameters change spatially throughout the structure. This situation is achieved mainly through the use of curvilinear fibers within a fiber-reinforced composite laminate, though the possibility of thickness variations and discrete stiffening elements is also allowed. These three mechanisms are incorporated into the constitutive laws for thin shells through the use of Classical Lamination Theory. The existence of stiffness variation within the structure warrants a formulation of the static equilibrium equations from the most basic principles. The governing equations include sufficient detail to correctly model several types of nonlinearity, including the formation of a nonlinear shell boundary layer as well as the Brazier effect due to nonlinear bending of long cylinders. Stress analysis and initial buckling estimates are formulated for a general variable stiffness cylinder. Results and comparisons for several simplifications of these highly complex governing equations are presented so that the ensuing numerical solutions are considered reliable and efficient enough for in-depth optimization studies. Four distinct cases of loading and stiffness variation are chosen to investigate possible areas of improvement that the variable stiffness concept may offer over traditional constant stiffness and/or stiffened structures.

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