The dynamic stiffness formulation for both inplane and bending free vibration based on the first order shear deformation theory for composite plates is presented. The explicit terms of the dynamic stiffness matrices are also given. Plates with different boundary conditions are considered. Rotation and offset matrices for the element are developed and an assembly technique given. The Wittrick and Williams algorithm is modified to avoid the troublesome computation of the clamped-clamped natural frequencies when solving the free vibration problem. The validation of the theory and its application to real structures are illustrated in the second part of this paper. © 2012 Elsevier Ltd. All rights reserved.
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