The basic behavior of the shear deformation plate theories derived from the recently proposed Reissner's and Jing-Liao's functionals is studied in this paper. The difference between these two functionals is on the energy form of transverse normal stress. In Reissner's functional, the transverse normal stress has to be assumed as well as displacements and transverse shear. On the other hand, the independent variables in Jing-Liao's functional include only displacements and transverse shear. The comparison of these functionals is made through two examples, one with assumed transverse normal stress and the other without. It is found that for the cases studied in this paper Jing-Liao's functional provides a simpler, sometimes even better, alternative approach than Reissner's functional in formulating shear deformation theory of thick plates.
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