The present paper extends the finite element perturbation approach already presented for pin‐jointed and framed structures15 to rectangular thin plates. Koiter's asymptotic strategy2 is coupled with a High‐Continuity finite element discretization of the plate.22 The consistency of the discrete model is discussed from the kinematical and numerical points of view and several numerical tests are reported. It appears that use of the HC elements makes the perturbation algorithm insensitive to the locking phenomenon occurring in the evaluation of the postbuckling behaviour. It also allows the use of very fine discretization meshes at low computational cost. Copyright © 1995 John Wiley & Sons, Ltd
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