Postprint version. Published in Thin-Walled Structures, Volume 72, November 1, 2013, pages 139-163.
The definitive version is available at https://doi.org/10.1016/j.tws.2013.06.001.
In this study, a new theory for the accurate simulation of the shear-mode behaviour of thin or thick piezoelectric sandwich composite beams is developed. The effects of transverse normal stress and transverse flexibility of layers are considered in the development of the proposed formulation. In order to increase the computational accuracy, all kinematic and stress continuity conditions are satisfied at layer interfaces. Moreover, for the first time, both the electrically induced strain components and the transverse flexibility are taken into account in the proposed formulation. Despite the fact that the number of unknown mechanical parameters in this theory is only one degree higher than the first order shear deformation theory, the accuracy is surprisingly more pronounced for the thicker beams.