- A review of equivalent-single-layer and layerwise laminate theories is presented and their computational models are discussed. The layerwise theory advanced by the author is reviewed and a variable displacement finite element model and the mesh superposition techniques are described. The variable displacement finite elements contain several different types of assumed displacement fields. By choosing appropriate terms from the multiple displacement field, an entire array of elements with different orders of kinematic refinement can be formed. The variable kinematic finite elements can be conveniently connected together in a single domain for global-local analyses, where the local regions are modeled with refined kinematic elements. In the finite element mesh superposition technique an independent overlay mesh is superimposed on a global mesh to provide localized refinement for regions of interest regardless of the original global mesh topology. Integration of these two ideas yields a very robust and economical computational tool for global-local analysis to determine three-dimensional effects (e.g. stresses) within localized regions of interest in practical laminated composite structures. 1993.