Thermal residual-stresses introduced during manufacture and their effect on the free vibration of stringer stiffened composite plates is investigated. The principal idea in the work is to include stiffeners on the perimeter of a composite plate in which the laminate for the stiffeners and the plate are different. Such an arrangement yields manufacturing induced thermal residual-stresses which result from the difference in manufacturing and operating temperatures as well as the difference in thermal expansion coefficients and elastic properties of the plate and the stiffeners. The analysis is based on an enhanced Reissner-Mindlin plate theory and involves two separate calculations. In the first, the thermal residual-stress state is determined for an unconstrained plate. In the second, the free vibration problem is solved; thermal effects from the first calculation are included by way of nonlinear membrane-bending coupling which in turn defines the free vibration reference state. The problem is solved using a finite element formulation to determine the natural frequencies and vibration modes of the plates. Two different plate-stiffener geometries are used to illustrate the effects of stringer size, stringer placement and temperature difference. Two principal results are obtained: first, it is shown that thermal residual-stresses can have a significant effect on the natural frequencies; secondly, thermal residual-stresses can be tailored to increase natural frequencies.

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