- A shear deformable finite element is developed based on generalised (i.e. accounting for shear deformations) first-approximation shell theories. Numerical results are presented for the bending of layered, anisotropic, composite shells. Various shell theories (e.g. those of Sanders, Love and Donnell, etc.) are included as special cases of the present element, and can be obtained by giving numerical values to appropriate tracers. The present finite-element solutions are compared with the exact solutions for certain shell problems and with other solutions available in the literature. The agreement is found to be very good. Numerical results showing the effect of orientation of layers, boundary conditions and material orthotropy on deflections are presented. 1982.