The free vibration characteristics of stepped thickness plates by including the effect of transverse shear deformation and rotary inertia is presented. A method based on the variational procedure in conjunction with the finite difference technique is used to determine the natural frequencies and mode shapes. The convergence characteristics of the present method is studied and the results are compared with existing solutions based on the classical thin plate theory. The effects of the stepped thickness and relative thickness ratio on the vibration characteristics are studied.

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