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Composites Science and Technology 58 (1998) 1899±1905 # 1998 Elsevier Science Ltd. All rights reserved Printed in Great Britain 0266-3538/98 $Ðsee front matter

**THE USE OF ANSYS TO CALCULATE THE BEHAVIOUR OF SANDWICH STRUCTURES
**

Vincent Manet*

Â cole des Mines de Saint-Etienne, Material and Mechanical Department, 158, cours Fauriel, 42023 Saint-Etienne Cedex 2, France E (Received 8 September 1997; accepted 9 January 1998)

Abstract In this article, we use dierent models to compute displacements and stresses of a simply supported sandwich beam subjected to a uniform pressure. 8-node quadrilateral elements (Plane 82), multi-layered 8-node quadrilateral shell elements (Shell 91) and multi-layered 20-node cubic elements (Solid 46) are used. The in¯uence of mesh re®nement and of the ratio of Young's moduli of the layers are studied. Finally, a local Reissner method is presented and assessed, which permits an improvement in the accuracy of interface stresses for a high ratio of Young's moduli of the layers with Plane 82 elements. # 1998 Elsevier Science Ltd. All rights reserved Keywords: ANSYS, sandwich structure, interface stresses, local Reissner method, post-processing 1 INTRODUCTION Sandwich materials are currently much valued in industry, and especially in the ®elds of transport (automotive, aeronautics, shipbuilding and railroads) and civil engineering. It is therefore important to determine which elements should be used to model such structures. A sandwich structure is composed of three layers, viz. two surfaces made of rigid layers, working as membranes, which represent the skins, and a thick and soft central layer, the core, with low rigidity and density and essentially submitted to transverse shear loading, sandwiched between the faces. In the design process, interface stresses can be of great importance, since they play a crucial role in failure modes.1,2 The core being essentially subjected to transverse shear stress, this component, of which the rigidity is generally very much lower than that of the others, must not be neglected: in some cases, eects arising from shear eects exceed other phenomena (¯exural eects for example).3±6 The determination of transverse shear stress at interfaces is therefore of particular importance in the design of new optimized materials. If we assume that the three layers remain perfectly

*Fax: 0033 4 77 420000; e-mail: manet@emse.fr

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bonded, then at interfaces, the displacement ®eld must be continuous and the normal trace of the stress tensor must be continuous. In this article we shall study a very simple case using the well-known ®nite element software ANSYS 5.2. We shall not discuss special elements based on hybrid,7,8 mixed9±12 or modi®ed13±15 formulations nor shall we consider pre- and post-processing methods.16,17 Solutions obtained with dierent models (complex or simple) are compared. Particular emphasis is put on their respecting of continuity requirements. By modifying the stiness of the core, we shall see which model should be preferred by designers. Finally a method, based on Reissner's formulation, is developed to improve the accuracy for new sandwich structures. 2 DESCRIPTION OF THE SANDWICH BEAM STUDIED One of simplest examples is the case of the simply supported sandwich beam subjected to a uniform pressure on its top face. Such a beam is shown in Fig. 1. 2.1 Characteristics The total length of the beam is L=24 mm, its total height H=2 mm and the core represents 80% of the total height of this symmetrical sandwich. The applied pressure is q=À1 N/mm. The thickness of the beam in the y direction is taken to be equal to 1. By symmetry, only one half of the beam is modelled. 2.2 Parameters of the study In this study, we are interested in determining the structural response at point A (at the interface between the top skin and the core and located at x=L/4) when dierent parameters vary. The skins are made of aluminum (Es=70 GPa and vs=0.34) and the core will be one of the following: 1. 2. 3. 4. carbon/epoxy (Ec=3.4 Gpa and vc=0.34); foam (Ec=0.34 Gpa and vc=0.40); soft foam (Ec=70 Mpa and vc=0.40); other material: vc=0.4 is ®xed and Es/Ec varies.

the maximum displacement of the structure in the z-direction. 2 for displacements. (c) A model using the multi-layered cubic element Solid 46: One element through the total thickness representing all the layers of the sandwich structure. 4.1900 V. 'xx at point A in the skin and in the core. Figs 3 and 4 for the two continuous components 'zz and 'xx and Figs 5 and 6 for 'xx in the core and in the skin. Manet Fig. 5. i. for values of Ec of 3. we shall focus on the following results of particular interest: 1. 3. 3. 1. Fig.4 GPa. 3. Fig. 2. 4 elements through the thickness of each skin (nskin=4).3 The models We shall use the following models: (a) The reference model: 2D with 8-node quadrilateral elements (Plane 82). with sandwich option (keyopt(9)=1): One element through the total thickness representing all the layers of the sandwich structure. respectively. interlaminar stress: this is the continuous component 'xz at point A. (d) A model done with the multi-layered shell element Shell 91. 2. 2. denoted Uz in results. Sandwich beam.4 Results of interest In our studies. . 3 STUDY OF THE SANDWICH BEAM We now present results obtained with ANSYS 5. Results for the case Ec=340 MPa are plotted in Fig. Uz for Es/Ec&200: in¯uence of ncuts.2 and corresponding to dierent materials and dierent meshes. 32 through the thickness of the core (ncore=32). (b) A planar model using the plane element Plane 82: One element is used to model each layer (nskin=ncore=1). 0. Fig.e. Fig. 3 elements through the thickness of the sandwich. 'zz for Es/Ec&200: in¯uence of ncuts.1 In¯uence of ncuts on the dierent models In this section. and 400 longitudinal cuts (ncuts=400) in the beam's axis directions (16000 elements for the half beam).34 GPa and 70 MPa. the discontinuous components of stresses. 'xz for Es/Ec&200: in¯uence of ncuts. 'xx in the core for Es/Ec&200: in¯uence of ncuts. and the continuous component 'zz . we are interested in the structural responses to the dierent models. 2.

10% 3.4802 32.2843 0.95461 0.71 102. Solid 46 is the worst model.1369 2. 4. 'xx in the top skin for Es/Ec&200: in¯uence of ncuts.22% 3.3161 0.432% 0.755% 0.06% 1.35% 8. This point will be studied in the next section.35 2.89% 'xx skin 20. But we must note that sandwiches now generally exhibit a ratio between 200 and 1500.61% 123.44% 'zz 0.51353 0.368% 0. it should be noticed that it seems to diverge for displacements (with the coarse mesh used: nskin=ncore=1). Results relating to displacements are plotted in Fig.721% 0.2% 1.97% 'xx skin 103. very close to laminates) to 1000 (new high-technology sandwiches go up to 1500).2616 3.4202 34. From these Figures and Tables.20355 5.21388 0.15% 3.08 0.77 1. Case Ec=3. Continuous components 'zz and 'xz are shown in Figs 8 and 9.1635 3. Fig.746% 'zz 0.740 1. 3.64 549% 131. Table 3. so to speak. 7.90000 6.50000 47. the following conclusions can be drawn: 1. Table 1.96847 0. It never converges towards the correct values (for any component of stresses nor for displacements).41% 3.3614 0. Uz for ncuts=20: in¯uence of Es/Ec.6599 20.55712 8. Plane 82 is very much better than other models.3301 8.45994 10.319% 0. Tables 1±3 present numerical results and error percentages after convergence for these 3 cases.987 14.90000 5. This parameter can vary from 4 (old sandwiches.21527 0. Plane 82 is the only model leading to a correct determination of the discontinuous component 'xx in the skin and the core. Nevertheless.43 543% 'xx core 0.96321 0.2844 6.28 0.2926 3.12% 'xx core 6. 6.1561 4.13 123.28% 132.68 26.9% ncuts 400 1000 1000 Fig.95033 0.66% 0. .4% 130. Es/Ec.488% 0.52618 2.2956 3.96121 0.463% 0.1587 0.7% ncuts 400 1000 1000 Fig.04% 126.3091 0.21596 0. 7.3024 0.741 0.2% 0.43 20. A parameter of interest is therefore the ratio of Young's moduli.2042 45.0% ncuts 400 1000 1000 Table 2. 5.34 Gpa Uz Ref P82 S91 S46 0.887% 0.4 Gpa Uz Ref P82 S91 S46 0. 3.963% 0.50000 47. 8.0% 'xx core 0.0000 8.71% 3. Shell 91 is particularly interesting for continuous components of stresses 'zz and 'xz .94624 0.1% 1.16% 'xz 3.001% 6.62% 'xz 3.09 27.Behaviour of sandwich structures 1901 2.0000 8.38 1. Case Ec=0.50000 47.2 In¯uence of the ratio Es/Ec for ncuts=20 Since every material which can be obtained in a thin skin shape is acceptable for the skins and every material with low density is acceptable for the core.15% 3.1364 62. In this section we shall study the in¯uence of this ratio on the dierent modellings when the utilized mesh is ®xed to ncuts=20.90000 4.901% 0.8262 0.4% 'zz 0.98% 'xz 3.66% 132.8701 5.0000 5. 'zz for ncuts=20: in¯uence of Es/Ec. sandwich materials cover an extremely wide domain.31% 0. It seems that errors increase with the ratio Es/Ec.506 13.17% 'xx skin 123. Case Ec=70 Mpa Uz Ref P82 S91 S46 1. The discontinuous component 'xx is illustrated in Figs 10 and 11 in the core and in the skin. respectively.

Plane 82 is the best model for displacements. Shell 91 and Solid 46 are acceptable for displacements and in the core.3 Element Plane 82: in¯uence of mesh re®nement In previous sections. the following conclusions can be drawn: 1. the mesh corresponding to the 8node quadrilateral element Plane 82 only used 1 element to model 1 layer. 14. 4. These computations are done for a ratio Es/Ec=500. Displacements are plotted in Fig. Fig. Manet meshing of the beam with Plane 82 elements is studied in the next section. Fig. Fig.1902 V. . 'xz for ncuts=20 and Es/Ec=500: in¯uence of nskin and ncore. From these ®gures. 10. 'zz for ncuts=20 and Es/Ec=500: in¯uence of nskin and ncore. 'xx in the top skin for ncuts=20: in¯uence of Es/Ec. The in¯uence of the Fig. 12. Shell 91 leads to an acceptable approximation of 'zz and is very interesting for 'xz . 2. 'zz and 'xz in Figs 13 and 14. 9. Fig. 3. 'xx in the core for ncuts=20: in¯uence of Es/Ec. They are acceptable for 'xx in the skin for Es/Ec 50. 11. shows some diculty here. Fig. which was exceptionally good in the last section. 13. We propose to see what happens when the number of elements through the thickness of the skins (nskin) and of the core (ncore) vary. Uz for ncuts=20 and Es/Ec=500: in¯uence of nskin and ncore. and 'xx in Figs 15 and 16 in the core and in the skin. 'xz for ncuts=20: in¯uence of Es/Ec. respectively. 12. Plane 82. 3. 'zz and 'xx in the core and the skin. especially at high Es/Ec ratio for 'xz .

9 and from Table 4 (which summaries results and gives the good `working zone' of the dierent models). 4. From these ®gures. In this range. ( . But. This slightest modi®cation of the mesh (4 elements through the thickness of the sandwich instead of 3) is sucient to lead to very good results for Es/Ec 200.15] good for Es/Ec 100 always weak good for Es/Ec 20 acceptable for Es/Ec 20 .Behaviour of sandwich structures 1903 Results are not improved by increasing nskin nor ncore. a coarse mesh (nskin=1) does not permit to obtain an acceptable value 'zz . sandwiches nowadays exhibit ratios generally between 200 and 1500. Accuracy of results (ncuts!20 understood) Uz P82 always good 'zz always good 'xz acceptable for Es/EcP[100. ncuts. when the meshing is regular through the thickness.e. Since this component is very important in the design process. A way of improving results is to re®ne the meshing. the curve `Plane 82/2' gives results obtained with nskin=1 and ncore=2 (instead of 1). nskin and ncore do not have any in¯uence on the convergence of displacements. is therefore the most dominant parameter. 2. In order to improve the accuracy of stresses. a very re®ned mesh (nskin=4) must be used in order to converge towards the correct value of 'xz . 'xx in the top skin for ncuts=20 and Es/Ec=500: in¯uence of nskin and ncore.400] 'xx core always good 'xx skin always good S91 S46 improvement of results Ð use a ®ne meshing: nskin >3 and ncore 8=nskin Ð use local Reissners method always acceptable always acceptable always good always acceptable never acceptable acceptable for Es/EcP[8. we must answer the following question: how are nodal stresses computed? Nodal stresses. 3. are generally computed by using a minimization process. 5. Such a mesh yields an unacceptable computation time. 9. 15. Plane 82 is not able to give accurately the interlaminar stress 'xz with a coarse mesh. the following conclusions can be drawn: 1. i. as mentioned before. In Fig. results must be improved. convergence towards 'xx reference value in the core is controlled by ncuts. 'xx in the core for ncuts=20 and Es/Ec=500: in¯uence of nskin and ncore. the convergence is only reached with a very re®ned meshing: nskin!3 and ncore=8 nskin. essentially caused by ¯exure: the number of longitudinal cuts. Fig. 'm À 'u 2 d I where sm denotes the mixed way to calculate stresses: 'm N' ( and su the displacements way: 'u DvNu q Q P or using the stress projection method18 by minimizing: 'm À 'u d R Table 4. The last point is also true for the convergence towards 'xx value in the skin. results are always accurate when ncore=8 nskin. 16. 4 LOCAL REISSNER: IMPROVING RESULTS FOR PLANE 82 As can be see from Fig. They are obtained from nodal displacements q using a least-squares method and by minimizing: Fig.

but Plane 82 is the most accurate. it may be more convenient (simpler and faster) to directly ®nd the stress ®eld using Reissner's formulation. D is the generalized Hooke's matrix relating stresses to strains. Nevertheless if the designer must know 'xx at interfaces. 2. In order to improve the stress computation at interfaces. 17. Plane 82 being the most accurate. 'zz can be correctly given by Shell 91 and Plane 82.1. . 17. . located on each side of an interface. ncore and ncuts). . seems to lead to the conclusion that Plane 82 is the best model. and the `working zone' in which the dierent elements can be used is given in Table 4. nodal stresses are related to nodal displacements by:20±23 ( AÀ1 Bq with: A and B 5 CONCLUSIONS The reference solution has been obtained using a very ®ne meshing and the 8-node quadrilateral element Plane 82. Plane 82 is very well adapted. 9 for sandwiches with Es/Ec!200. A summary of results. which is a close-up view of Fig. we can see that: Fig. the solution given by Shell 91 is not so good as for lower Es/Ec ratio. . 3. Manet 1. we propose to use the last formulation on two adjacent elements. Solid 46 is not very accurate in the determination of the design quantities. then this element can only be used for Es/Ec 50. S t N' SN' d T t N' vx u d U S=DÀ1 being the compliance matrix. It is to be noticed that these methods lead to convergence towards Reissner's (reference) solution. from the previous results. Doing so. 'xx in the skin is very accurately computed with Plane 82 and with Shell 91 (but only for Es/ Ec 20). 'xz for ncuts=20: in¯uence of high Es/Ec ratio. the latest being the most accurate. in¯uence of ncuts on the dierent model in section 3. Hence. 'xx in the core can be calculated using any model. Ns and Nu the matrices of shapes functions for stresses and displacements.1904 V. As expressed in Ref. In these equations. it is to be noticed that this method is not very stable for very coarse meshes (small values of nskin. Nevertheless. we ensure the equilibrium state at interface in a better way. In terms for design quantities: . the minimization process chosen is generally the local one. Since the local process converges towards the same limit as the global process. the minimization process can be global (done over the whole structure: being the entire structure) or local (done over one element: being the considered element). especially when looking at Figs 2±6 (obtained with a coarse mesh and in the case Es/Ec&200). Shell 91 (with sandwich option) is a good way of computing sandwich structures. but for Es/Ec 200. 'xz is only very accurately computed with Shell 91. for planar problems. we can say that: 1. and acceptable with Solid 46 (and only for Es/Ec 20). v the dierential operator relating strains to displacements. instead of minimizing the dierence between two solutions. the study of the in¯uence of the Es/Ec ratio in the previous section permits to see some weaknesses of this model. Nevertheless. the use of the local Reissner method (denoted Local Reissner/2 because we used ncore=2) permits to really improve the accuracy of 'xz which is of great importance. Now looking at Fig. 3. all models lead to a correct value of displacements. A model using this kind of element should be avoided. In Reissner's solution. and the volume or surface of interest. and that interlaminar stress 'xz can only be reached with a ®ne meshing. 2. We shall refer to this method as `local Reissner' method. . 19. The ®rst study. This kind of method is not more time consuming than least squares methods generally used (in ANSYS for example) to derive nodal stresses from nodal displacements. It is to be noticed that the same mesh with Plane 82 (Plane 82/2) does not permit to improve results with this high Es/Ec ratio. Nevertheless.

Aivazzadeh. eds B. Pham Dang. Advances in Composite Materials 2. 3±23. 21. On a variational theorem in elasticity. H. A. Composite structure analysis with micro-computer using classical and interface ®nite elements. 1989. L. Mechanics of Sandwich Structures. A. Ramahefarison. and Taylor. D. A consistent treatment of transverse shear deformation in laminated anisotropic plates. Oxford. 22.. Int. 11(10). Touratier.. S. E. 16. 1997. S. Reissner.-P. Aivazzadeh. Nancy.. 18. S. REFERENCES 1. La mode Â le Â ments ®nis hybrides et ses applications. Bichara. Int.Behaviour of sandwich structures The presented local Reissner method permits to reach excellent results. 2. 1950. Sarhan-Bajbouj.-F. 53±67.. Oxford. F. A. 1974. Hinton.. A new look at shear correction factors and warping functions of anisotropic laminates... Ho. E. M. Lardeur. 1989. and Verchery. Int. Reichard. eds K. as a stand-alone program. G. Int. A. London. Nantes. 11. Pergamon Press.. to appear. Pelle. 1985. In ICCM 3. we should like to emphasize the fact that this method is particularly easy to implement. 1969. V. 6(4). Paris. M. 5. In Proc. 10(5). Num. Olsonn and R. Chameleon Press Ltd. J. In: Sandwich Constructions 1. Calcul des contraintes de cisaillement Â rement e Â paisses. 1997. M. Le Collage Structural Moderne. J. eds K. Variational Methods in Elasticity and Plasticity. A. 343±360. P. S. France. L. 1023±1043. W. 32(16).. and Vautrin. 17. Reichard. sandwich par e In Actes du TroisieÁme Colloque National en Calcul des Structures 2. G. 23. Local and global smoothing of discontinuous ®nite element functions using a least squares method. Kluwer Academic Press. Zienkiewicz... Int. Stress analysis at the interface in the adhesive joint by special ®nite elements. Meth. Pali. Olsonn and R. G. S. S. G. and Verchery. Â miques de l'Ouest. Sandwich Construction Today and Tomorrow.. Mixed plane ®nite elements with application to adhesive joint analysis. and Verchery. Application to beam and plates subjected to transverse shears. 1966. 1983. 1986. 14. 1995. M. Lavoisier. H. EUROMECH 360. 461±480. Meth. J. Composite plate analysis using a new discrete shear triangular ®nite element. Presses acade 657±663.. TheÂorie And Pratique. Manet. and Han. Computers and Mathematics with Applications. Zenkert. 1783±1795. Couvrat. G. 2295±2313. Aubry. 1905 10. W. N. of the European Mechanics Colloqium 227. J. 19.M. London. Analysis of anisotropic sandwich plates assuring the continuities of displacements and transverse stresses at the interfaces. C.. Verchery. J. Maths and Physics. 1992. 3. and Batoz... TEC et DOC. 4. 12. This method is particularly interesting for the design of new sandwich materials. An Introduction to Sandwich Construction. 1995. E. John Wiley and Sons..S. Pergamon Press. London. 13. P. Han. R. J. Chameleon Press Ltd. Vol. T. Â lisation des plaques 7. V.E.. 29. 185±188. El Shaikh. J. 27(2).. 9. Equivalent material for the analysis of laminated and sandwich structures. In Sandwich Construction 1. D. G. . Dordrecht. 1994. 1982.. P. 6. MacGraw-Hill. Teti. 1989. J. Reissner. Analysis and Design of Structural Sandwich Panels. O. but also in existing ®nite-element softwares. Sandwich Construction.. in Eng. Finally. 90±95. E. J. Num. R. 12. Manet. Lerooy. and M. G. 1976. 716±718. Reissner. and Caprino. The Finite Element Method. P. G.. G. Institut National Polytechnique de Lorraine. New York.. Pergamon Press. Solids Structures. in Eng. 15. Static analysis of sandwich plates by ®nite elements. J. AIAA J. Extermal theorems in mixed variables. 571±578. and Verchery. transversales dans les structures mode PhD thesis. and Verchery.. 20. 8. Adhesion and Adhesive. Allen. 15th Polish Solid Mechanics Conference. 1978. On the theory of transverse bending of elastic plates. Allen. R.. E. A.. Nor. Peseux. 8.. J. In Proc. Solids Struct. 1.. 545±554.. Zakopane. Oxford. and Campbell. Mechanical behavior of structural sandwiches. 1973.. Washizu. London. 1961. Sept. 1980. Chameleon Press Ltd. 1987. K. S. especially for the interlaminar stress 'xz and for Es/Ec!200 with a coarse mesh through the thickness of the sandwich. Mechanical behaviour of the adhesive joints.

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