Electric field-polarization interaction shows nonlinear effects in the constitutive relations. In this study, an attempt is made to include these interaction effects in the finite element formulation. A layer-by-layer finite element code is developed to handle the linear and nonlinear problems. Linear and nonlinear analysis is carried out for a smart plate with surfacemounted distributed piezo layer. The nonlinearity leads to a significant increase in the transverse deformation. © 2008 Trans Tech Publications.