- A new beam element is developed to study the thermoelastic behavior of functionally graded beam structures. The element is based on the first-order shear deformation theory and it accounts for varying elastic and thermal properties along its thickness. The exact solution of static part of the governing differential equations is used to construct interpolating polynomials for the element formulation. Consequently, the stiffness matrix has super-convergent property and the element is free of shear locking. Both exponential and power-law variations of material property distribution are used to examine different stress variations. Static, free vibration and wave propagation problems are considered to highlight the behavioral difference of functionally graded material beam with pure metal or pure ceramic beams. 2003 Elsevier Science Ltd. All rights reserved.