The vast majority of composites are used in the form of shells [2, Chs. 6 & 10][3, Ch. 4]. Although, shell elements are not the only ones used, they are prominent. A list of shell elements available in Abaqus™ is shown in Table 9.1.
Threedimensional conventional shell elements 

STRI3(S) 
3node triangular facet thin shell 
S3 
3node triangular generalpurpose shell, finite membrane strains (identical to element S3R) 
S3R 
3node triangular generalpurpose shell, finite membrane strains (identical to element S3) 
S3RS(E) 
3node triangular shell, small membrane strains 
STRI65(S) 
6node triangular thin shell, using five degrees of freedom per node 
S4 
4node generalpurpose shell, finite membrane strains 
S4R 
4node generalpurpose shell, reduced integration with hourglass control, finite membrane strains 
S4RS(E) 
4node, reduced integration, shell with hourglass control, small membrane strains 
S4RSW(E) 
4node, reduced integration, shell with hourglass control, small membrane strains, warping considered in smallstrain formulation 
S4R5(S) 
4node thin shell, reduced integration with hourglass control, using five degrees of freedom per node 
S8R(S) 
8node doubly curved thick shell, reduced integration 
S8R5(S) 
8node doubly curved thin shell, reduced integration, using five degrees of freedom per node 
S9R5(S) 
9node doubly curved thin shell, reduced integration, using five degrees of freedom per node 
Continuum shell elements 

SC6R 
6node triangular inplane continuum shell wedge, generalpurpose, finite membrane strains 
SC8R 
8node hexahedron, generalpurpose, finite membrane strains 
Axisymmetric shell elements 

SAX1 
2node thin or thick linear shell 
SAX2(S) 
3node thin or thick quadratic shell 
SAXA1N 
Linear interpolation, Fourier shell element with 2 nodes in the meridional direction and N Fourier modes 
SAXA2N 
Quadratic interpolation, Fourier shell element with 3 nodes in the meridional direction and N Fourier modes 