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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

1899

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.

5. 3.1 In¯uence of ncuts on the dierent models In this section. 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. we shall focus on the following results of particular interest: 1. 'zz for Es/Ec&200: in¯uence of ncuts. 32 through the thickness of the core (ncore=32). 3. denoted Uz in results. the discontinuous components of stresses. i. interlaminar stress: this is the continuous component 'xz at point A. 2.4 Results of interest In our studies. 0.1900 V. 1. for values of Ec of 3. 'xx at point A in the skin and in the core. 2.2 and corresponding to dierent materials and dierent meshes. Fig. (b) A planar model using the plane element Plane 82: One element is used to model each layer (nskin=ncore=1). the maximum displacement of the structure in the z-direction. 3 STUDY OF THE SANDWICH BEAM We now present results obtained with ANSYS 5. (d) A model done with the multi-layered shell element Shell 91. 2. 2 for displacements. Sandwich beam. 2.34 GPa and 70 MPa. . Results for the case Ec=340 MPa are plotted in Fig. respectively.3 The models We shall use the following models: (a) The reference model: 2D with 8-node quadrilateral elements (Plane 82). (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 GPa. Fig. Fig. 'xz for Es/Ec&200: in¯uence of ncuts. 'xx in the core for Es/Ec&200: in¯uence of ncuts. with sandwich option (keyopt(9)=1): One element through the total thickness representing all the layers of the sandwich structure. 4 elements through the thickness of each skin (nskin=4). and the continuous component 'zz . Uz for Es/Ec&200: in¯uence of ncuts. Manet Fig.e. 3 elements through the thickness of the sandwich. Fig. 3. 4. we are interested in the structural responses to the dierent models. and 400 longitudinal cuts (ncuts=400) in the beam's axis directions (16000 elements for the half beam).

66% 0. .755% 0. 5. 8.10% 3.90000 4.506 13.2% 0.17% 'xx skin 123.22% 3.31% 0. Plane 82 is very much better than other models. Case Ec=3.987 14.001% 6.52618 2. Nevertheless. But we must note that sandwiches now generally exhibit a ratio between 200 and 1500.3161 0.740 1. 6. 3.50000 47. Plane 82 is the only model leading to a correct determination of the discontinuous component 'xx in the skin and the core.50000 47.2926 3.28% 132.08 0. In this section we shall study the in¯uence of this ratio on the dierent modellings when the utilized mesh is ®xed to ncuts=20.4 Gpa Uz Ref P82 S91 S46 0.1364 62.0000 8.2956 3.2616 3.6599 20. From these Figures and Tables.3614 0.06% 1.09 27.41% 3.721% 0.43 20.98% 'xz 3. Fig.1587 0. Es/Ec.0% 'xx core 0. This point will be studied in the next section. The discontinuous component 'xx is illustrated in Figs 10 and 11 in the core and in the skin.432% 0.71 102.95461 0.741 0.368% 0.3091 0.21388 0.45994 10.16% 'xz 3. sandwich materials cover an extremely wide domain.3301 8.62% 'xz 3. very close to laminates) to 1000 (new high-technology sandwiches go up to 1500).34 Gpa Uz Ref P82 S91 S46 0. Shell 91 is particularly interesting for continuous components of stresses 'zz and 'xz .4802 32.96121 0.2 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.94624 0.887% 0.2042 45.21596 0.2843 0.0% ncuts 400 1000 1000 Table 2.2844 6. 'zz for ncuts=20: in¯uence of Es/Ec.9% ncuts 400 1000 1000 Fig.55712 8. Table 3.66% 132.97% 'xx skin 103. 4. Solid 46 is the worst model.35% 8.4% 130. Tables 1±3 present numerical results and error percentages after convergence for these 3 cases. A parameter of interest is therefore the ratio of Young's moduli. so to speak. Table 1. 7.4202 34.28 0.95033 0.8701 5.68 26.746% 'zz 0.35 2.1561 4.89% 'xx skin 20.1% 1.04% 126. It seems that errors increase with the ratio Es/Ec.2% 1.12% 'xx core 6.1635 3.21527 0. This parameter can vary from 4 (old sandwiches.0000 5.15% 3.4% 'zz 0.1369 2.51353 0.71% 3.77 1. Case Ec=0. Case Ec=70 Mpa Uz Ref P82 S91 S46 1.13 123. 'xx in the top skin for Es/Ec&200: in¯uence of ncuts.64 549% 131. It never converges towards the correct values (for any component of stresses nor for displacements).901% 0.963% 0. Uz for ncuts=20: in¯uence of Es/Ec.20355 5.7% ncuts 400 1000 1000 Fig.90000 6. Continuous components 'zz and 'xz are shown in Figs 8 and 9.463% 0.96847 0.61% 123. 3.90000 5.96321 0. 7.15% 3.43 543% 'xx core 0.8262 0. the following conclusions can be drawn: 1. Results relating to displacements are plotted in Fig.488% 0.0000 8. respectively.44% 'zz 0.50000 47.319% 0.Behaviour of sandwich structures 1901 2. it should be noticed that it seems to diverge for displacements (with the coarse mesh used: nskin=ncore=1).38 1.3024 0.

'zz and 'xz in Figs 13 and 14. 2. They are acceptable for 'xx in the skin for Es/Ec 50. which was exceptionally good in the last section. From these ®gures. 'zz and 'xx in the core and the skin. 'xx in the top skin for ncuts=20: in¯uence of Es/Ec. 12. Fig. Displacements are plotted in Fig. respectively. 14.1902 V. the following conclusions can be drawn: 1. 'xz for ncuts=20: in¯uence of Es/Ec. Uz for ncuts=20 and Es/Ec=500: in¯uence of nskin and ncore. Shell 91 leads to an acceptable approximation of 'zz and is very interesting for 'xz . Fig.3 Element Plane 82: in¯uence of mesh re®nement In previous sections. 'xz for ncuts=20 and Es/Ec=500: in¯uence of nskin and ncore. especially at high Es/Ec ratio for 'xz . and 'xx in Figs 15 and 16 in the core and in the skin. 9. 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. Plane 82 is the best model for displacements. Fig. 3. 10. 'zz for ncuts=20 and Es/Ec=500: in¯uence of nskin and ncore. Shell 91 and Solid 46 are acceptable for displacements and in the core. The in¯uence of the Fig. 4. 3. . These computations are done for a ratio Es/Ec=500. Fig. shows some diculty here. Manet meshing of the beam with Plane 82 elements is studied in the next section. the mesh corresponding to the 8node quadrilateral element Plane 82 only used 1 element to model 1 layer. 'xx in the core for ncuts=20: in¯uence of Es/Ec. 12. 11. Fig. Plane 82.

Such a mesh yields an unacceptable computation time. 15. a coarse mesh (nskin=1) does not permit to obtain an acceptable value 'zz . Accuracy of results (ncuts!20 understood) Uz P82 always good 'zz always good 'xz acceptable for Es/EcP[100. i. 2. 4. ( . 9 and from Table 4 (which summaries results and gives the good `working zone' of the dierent models). convergence towards 'xx reference value in the core is controlled by ncuts. 3. In this range. the curve `Plane 82/2' gives results obtained with nskin=1 and ncore=2 (instead of 1). From these ®gures. Plane 82 is not able to give accurately the interlaminar stress 'xz with a coarse mesh. nskin and ncore do not have any in¯uence on the convergence of displacements.15] good for Es/Ec 100 always weak good for Es/Ec 20 acceptable for Es/Ec 20 . results must be improved. as mentioned before. '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 following conclusions can be drawn: 1. 'xx in the top skin for ncuts=20 and Es/Ec=500: in¯uence of nskin and ncore. sandwiches nowadays exhibit ratios generally between 200 and 1500. are generally computed by using a minimization process. a very re®ned mesh (nskin=4) must be used in order to converge towards the correct value of 'xz . 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. results are always accurate when ncore=8 nskin. 5.Behaviour of sandwich structures 1903 Results are not improved by increasing nskin nor ncore. we must answer the following question: how are nodal stresses computed? Nodal stresses. 16. They are obtained from nodal displacements q using a least-squares method and by minimizing: Fig. 4 LOCAL REISSNER: IMPROVING RESULTS FOR PLANE 82 As can be see from Fig. the convergence is only reached with a very re®ned meshing: nskin!3 and ncore=8 nskin.e. In order to improve the accuracy of stresses. essentially caused by ¯exure: the number of longitudinal cuts. 9. But. ncuts. 'xx in the core for ncuts=20 and Es/Ec=500: in¯uence of nskin and ncore. is therefore the most dominant parameter. The last point is also true for the convergence towards 'xx value in the skin. Since this component is very important in the design process. A way of improving results is to re®ne the meshing. In Fig. Fig.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. when the meshing is regular through the thickness.

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

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

HE USE OF ANSYS TO CALCULATE THE BEHAVIOUR OF

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