This research work has two main objectives, being the first related to the characterization of variable stiffness composite plates’ behavior by carrying out a comprehensive set of analyses. The second objective aims at obtaining the optimal fiber paths, hence the characteristic angles associated to its definition, that yield maximum fundamental frequencies, maximum critical buckling loads, or minimum transverse deflections, both for a single ply and for a three-ply variable stiffness composite. To these purposes one considered the use of the first order shear deformation theory in connection to an adaptive single objective method. From the optimization studies performed it was possible to conclude that significant behavior improvements may be achieved by using variable stiffness composites. Hence, for simply supported three-ply laminates which were the cases where a major impact can be observed, it was possible to obtain a maximum transverse deflection decrease of 11.26%, a fundamental frequency increase of 5.61%, and a buckling load increase of 51.13% and 58.01% for the uniaxial and biaxial load respectively.
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