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Experimental Characterization and Numerical Simulations

Experimental Characterization and Numerical Simulations

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Experimental Characterization and Numerical Simulations
Experimental Characterization and Numerical Simulations

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Composites Science and Technology 60 (2000) 2169±2180


Experimental characterization and numerical simulations of a syntactic-foam/glass-®bre composite sandwich
Alberto Corigliano a,*, Egidio Rizzi b, Enrico Papa a

Á di Ingegneria Leonardo, Politecnico di Milano, piazza Leonardo da Vinci 32, 20133 Milan, Italy Dipartimento di Ingegneria Strutturale, Facolta b Á di Ingegneria di Taranto, Politecnico di Bari, via Orabona 4, 70125 Bari, Italy Dipartimento di Ingegneria Strutturale, Facolta Received 7 February 2000; accepted 11 May 2000

Abstract This note presents the main results of an experimental and numerical investigation on the mechanical behaviour of a composite sandwich primarily designed for naval engineering applications. The skins of the sandwich are made of glass-®bre/polymer-matrix composites; their interior layers are connected with interwoven threads called piles which cross the sandwich core. Such core consists of a syntactic foam made by hollow glass microspheres embedded in an epoxy matrix. Experimental tests and numerical ®nite element (FE) simulations on both the sandwich composite and its separate components have been performed in order to characterise fully the complex mechanical behaviour of such a highly heterogeneous material. # 2000 Elsevier Science Ltd. All rights reserved.
Keywords: A. Glass ®bre; Composite sandwich; Syntactic foam; Mechanical tests; Numerical simulations (FE)

1. Introduction Composite sandwiches are commonly adopted in marine and aeronautical engineering for structures or structural elements requiring high sti€ness and strength, mainly to ¯exural loads, together with low speci®c weight (see e.g. [1±5]). Frequently, the weakest point of such composite elements consists in the possible debonding (delamination) of the external facings of the sandwich (skins), which must possess considerable rigidity and strength, from the central part of the sandwich (core), which is required to possess a low speci®c weight and an adequate shear sti€ness. This note presents the salient results of an experimental and numerical study on the mechanical behaviour of a syntactic-foam/glass-®bre composite sandwich primarily designed as a lightweight material for naval engineering applications (Fig. 1). The sandwich core material is a syntactic foam consisting of hollow glass microspheres embedded in an epoxy resin matrix, whereas the sandwich skins are glass-®bre/polymer-matrix composites. To reduce the risk of possible delamination damage, the interior layers of the skins are interconnected
* Corresponding author. Tel.: +39-2-2399-4244; fax: +39-2-23994220. E-mail address: coriglia@stru.polimit.it (A. Corigliano).

to each other by glass ®bre piles which cross the syntactic foam core. Actually, the sandwich under study is in practice a monolithic element made by a sandwichfabric in which the syntactic foam core is in¯ated until the proper sandwich thickness is obtained. The mechanical characterization of this highly heterogeneous material (or rather, structural element) has been carried out at the Department of Structural Engineering, Politecnico di Milano, through the following sequence of steps: (a) experimental characterization of the syntactic foam material adopted for the core; (b) development and numerical exploitation of engineeringoriented constitutive models for the foam behaviour; (c) experimental testing of the sandwich panels and their single components; (d) numerical FE simulation of the sandwich panels under three- and four-point bending tests. The present paper focusses on the results obtained through phases (c) and (d) of the above program; whereas the mechanical characterization of the syntactic foam emerging from phases (a) and (b) is described in detail in a companion paper [6]. A separate, comprehensive presentation and discussion exclusively on the experimental results and techniques employed on both syntactic foam and sandwich materials is further available to the interested reader in [7]. The paper is organised as follows. In Section 2, the sandwich under study is fully described. The experimental

0266-3538/00/$ - see front matter # 2000 Elsevier Science Ltd. All rights reserved. PII: S0266-3538(00)00118-4

Due to the fact that the ROVING 900TM is a plain weave directional fabric. Italy) and a plain-weave GRP fabric. 1. 2. The syntactic foam is prepared by mixing resin and hardener under vacuum and by adding microspheres repeatedly until full homogenization. France). The sandwich under study: (a) schematic representation. the piles were not completely stretched as they should be after a correct manufacturing procedure. chemically stable. 1c. Uniaxial tension/compression tests on the syntactic foam This section concerns the uniaxial tests performed on the syntactic foam Tencara 2000TM which constitutes . (c) side view of a piece of the ®nal sandwich after foam in¯ation.55 g/cm3 (see [6. The sandwich structure is depicted schematically in Fig. / Composites Science and Technology 60 (2000) 2169±2180 Fig. The foam is assembled with an epoxy resin matrix which embeds hollow air-®lled glass micro- spheres. The sandwich skeleton is made by a sandwich-fabric. As can be observed from Fig. but they were inclined at about 45 . Section 4 is dedicated to the numerical simulations of both three and four point bending (TPB. Corigliano et al.1.5 mm). To increase the sti€ness of the 3D fabric facings. a side view is shown in Fig. The syntactic foam core to be injected in the sandwichfabric was manufactured by the same industry which furnished the whole sandwich. type K1. at a ®xed distance by interwoven threads called piles [8]. as will be discussed later in Section 3. (Italy). (b) side picture of the three-dimensional fabric. results concerning the uniaxial tension/compression behaviour of the syntactic foam. with a maximum stroke of 50 and with an angular di€erential transformer (ADT) mounted on it. with axial and torsional actuators. the ensemble of the fabrics constitutes the so-called ROVIMAT 1200TM tissue (thickness 2. through pre-impregnation.2170 A. 1a. The axial jack has a static capacity of 100 kN. Bubbles have an average diameter of 70 mm and an average wall thickness of 0. named 3M ScotchliteTM Glass Bubbles. 3. The sandwich under study The syntactic-foam/glass-®bre composite sandwich under study was manufactured by a former branch of Intermarine S. with a maximum stroke of 150 mm and incorporates a linear variable di€erential transformer (LVDT). The torsional jack is mounted in line with respect to the axial jack. A side view of the sandwich-fabric is shown in Fig. These additional layers will be called extra skins in the following. Experimental results on the sandwich and its components All the mechanical tests on the sandwich and its components described in this Section have been performed on an MTS 329. borosilicate glass. The density of the resulting syntactic foam averages 0. 1. It is constituted by two plainwave fabrics maintained. produced by Parabeam (The Netherlands). 1b.58 mm. in the ®nal sandwich supplied by the producer for testing. called ROVING 900TM (manufactured by Chomarat. the tensile response of the composite external skins and the mechanical characterization of the entire sandwich structure are presented in Section 3. two additional layers of bi-dimensional fabrics were simply laminated on them: a non-directional glass reinforced plastic (GRP) fabric. It has a static capacity of 1100 Nm.9] for all the details).p. This fact has important consequences on the mechanical behaviour of the tested sandwich. The global thickness of the sandwich is t ˆ 15 mm.10 S testing machine. Closing remarks and future perspectives are brie¯y outlined in Section 5. are manufactured with a water-resistant. The data in Table 1 refer to uniaxial tension or compression tests. The matrix is made with SP Ampreg 20TM epoxy resin treated with SP AmpregTM UltraSlow hardener. data are given for both loading in the weft and in the warp directions. studied in depth in the framework of a BRITE EURAM project (AFICOSS Ð Advanced Fabrics for Integrally-woven Composite Sandwich Structures [8]). The air-®lled hollow glass microspheres. under the trademark Tencara 2000TM. FPB) tests carried out on the sandwich specimens. called MAT 300TM (manufactured by Vetrotex. 3. Table 1 collects some nominal mechanical properties of the single sandwich components as given by the manufacturers.A.

Moreover. further experimental tests on foams prepared with more careful manufacturing techniques did not show appreciable di€erences in elastic sti€nesses [7]. 'm—x t in tension. is about 38% larger than Young's modulus in compression. Part of the difference should be attributed to the fact that the specimens tested in tension belonged to a second set of syntactic foam specimens which displayed lower degree of porosity and compressive sti€ness about 15% higher with respect to the set tested in compression. only one test displayed fracture in the central part of the specimen.7 1. For the compression tests. (c) stress/strain curves. The compression behaviour is rather ductile.3 and 4. 2b). specimen shapes and sizes were determined according to UNI 6132-72 for concrete and to ASTM D 695 M-91 for composites (Fig. (b) shape and size of the specimen used for tension (dimensions in mm). The response under tension is instead perfectly brittle with rupture on a section perpendicular to the loading axis. 2c.9 ± ± ± Et …w€—† 1414 17 000 18 100 ± Syntactic foam Roving 900/53/300TM MAT300TM a Weft Warp 16 175 210 98 32 215 235 ± Data for ROVING fabric are given for loading in both weft and warp directions. E™ ˆ 1X6 GPa. Corigliano et al. The material specimens were prepared directly by the manufacturer. Poisson's ratio was instead rather una€ected by the sign of the applied stress: the average value of # ˆ 0X34 was recorded. the other two tests exhibited breakage in zones near the tapered sections and showed slightly lower tensile strength. . The phenomenological feature of bimodularity …Et Tˆ E™ † is not pointed out in the available literature on syntactic foams (see the references quoted in [6]). unloading paths performed in some of the compression tests showed that the elastic sti€ness degradation is not particularly signi®cant [7]. 2c). 2a).A. the core of the sandwich. Tensile t ˆ 15X6 MPa. / Composites Science and Technology 60 (2000) 2169±2180 Table 1 Mechanical nominal data on the single sandwich components as provided by the manufacturera Tension t …w€—† 'm—x 2171 Compression 4t f—il …7† 0. together with the nominal values furnished by the manufacturer.5 ± Et …w€—† 1812 14 200 17 000 8050 t 'm—x …w€—† 4t f—il …7† 8. Uniaxial tension/compression tests on the syntactic foam (tension positive): (a) shape and size of the specimen used for compression (dimensions in mm). is about 55% of the comstrength. with a softening post-peak branch which tends to stabilize on an horizontal plateau at residual strength. 'm—x c ˆ 28X4 MPa. as explained in Sections 3. The collapse mechanism is preceded by strain localization along a shear band inclined to an angle of about 45 with respect to the loading axis: interlocking and friction govern the behavior after the onset of strain localization and are responsible for the residual strength that can be observed in the stress/strain curves (Fig. In the following no consideration will be further taken of the syntactic foam bimodularity. Loading/ Fig. The stress/strain curves from the uniaxial tests are reported in Fig. repeated from Table 1 for the sake of comparison. E ˆ 2X2 GPa. The remaining 20% di€erence should be mainly explained in terms of the presence of air bubbles between matrix and ®ller. Guideline for tensile specimens geometry was the ASTM D 638 for composites (Fig. 2. The values of experimental elastic sti€nesses and strengths are reported in Table 2. the elastic modulus attributed to the core for numerical simulations has been chosen equal to that obtained in ¯atwise compression tests on the sandwich.92 1. In fact. Young's modulus pressive strength.

(b) axial and transverse stress/strain responses under tension in both weft and warp directions. 3b. 3a). the composite skin shows an almost linearelastic brittle behaviour with a slight deviation near failure. The ASTM D 3039 was followed. Flatwise compression tests on the sandwich The C365-94 ASTM [10] was followed to perform ¯atwise compression (FC) tests on the sandwich.4 3. Picture of a specimen after rupture. The failure is sudden and brittle and displays the typical pattern shown in Fig. The specimens. Fig. The displacement Experimental mean value 15.2. . caused by the successive partialization of the cross-section. Tension tests on the composite extra-skins Uniaxial tension tests were performed on specimens of 1 mm thickness made with the same material of the extra skins (ROVIMAT). which were directly provided by the manufacturer.9 1414 ± Compression Beside the uniaxial tests. 4. Composite extra-skin tested under tension. / Composites Science and Technology 60 (2000) 2169±2180 Table 2 Experimental mean values and nominal values of the syntactic foam properties in uniaxial tension/compression Nominal value provided by the manufacture Tension t 'm—x …w€—† 4t f—il …7† Et …w€—† #t ™ 'm—x …w€—† 4™ f—il …7† E™ …w€—† #™ 3.34 16 0.7 2200 0. 5a). 3b).3. The composite tested shows a less marked anisotropy in the elastic moduli and a more marked one in the values of strength with respect to the nominal data (see also Fig. where the results of a typical test are reported.5 mm/min. seven specimens were cut parallel to each of the two main warp and weft directions and were tested under displacement control at a 1 mm/mm loading rate. 4. biaxial compression tests and TPB tests on notched specimens were also performed on the syntactic foam. 3.6 0. As shown in Fig.5 1600 0. were loaded under displacement control at a rate of 0. Corigliano et al.2172 A. Fig. just before the complete rupture of the fabric the threads fail one after another causing a rapid decreasing of strength. The norm covers the determination of the compressive strength and of the elastic modulus of sandwich cores in the direction normal to the plane of the structure.92 1812 ± 32 8. large grid strain gauges were choosen and only few specimens were equipped with an additional transverse device to detect the transversal strain. Composite extra-skin tested under tension: (a) shape and size of the specimen used (dimensions in mm). 3. of square geometry with sides of 25 mm (Fig. which provides specimen shape and size (Fig. were instrumented with glued electric strain gauges: because of the size of the fabric repeated unit cell (10 mm). The elastic sti€nesses and strengths of the composite skins as measured through the tests are compared in Table 3 with the nominal values given by the producer.34 28. the specimens. The ®rst suggest an eggshaped failure domain typical of frictional geomaterials. 7]). Because of marked anisotropy. suggestions on loading ®xtures and a way to classify the di€erent failure modes. the second showed a quasi-brittle response during fracture (see [6. According to the norm.

Fig.A. 6 vary from FC1 with a void percentage of about 22% to FC7 with a void percentage of about 30%. the sandwich may in fact undergo a shear deformation with relative sliding of the external skins which is contrasted by the piles. / Composites Science and Technology 60 (2000) 2169±2180 2173 was measured by four LVDTs applied to the loading plate (Fig. Comparing the values in Table 4 with the compressive elastic properties of the foam (Table 2). the estimated values of the voids percentages in the core as a result of the presence of piles are reported and it is shown that the mechanical properties of the sandwich decrease at increasing void percentage. i. Moreover. Fig. a strong locking is shown due to the following the complete compactness reached and to the threedimensional containment e€ect created by the sti€er skins and by the piles. 5c shows a side and a top view of a specimen after the compression test.21 210 1. The ®rst seven plots are named FC1-FC7. [11]).0 13 153 0. e. Stress/strain response of the sandwich under ¯atwise compression (eight tests.3 14 707 0. the last one.1).g. At di€erence with the plain syntactic foam (Section 3. 6. In [7]. 5. after a plastic plateau. Fig. Flatwise compression (FC) tests on the sandwich: (a) shape and size of the specimen used (dimensions in mm). It is interesting to remark that syntactic foams loaded in triaxial compression show similar qualitative locking behaviours (see. Another e€ect which can justify the increased ductility of the core compared with that of the simple foam is represented by the piles inclination. one carried out until maximum stroke is reached). labeled FCC. which preclude full monoliticity of the foam: the epoxy resin.20 187 2. (b) the specimen mounted on the testing device. 6 shows the stress/strain experimental curves corresponding to eight di€erent tests. Corigliano et al. During loading. the sandwich core under ¯atwise compression shows a ductile behaviour. the responses in Fig. is in practice a viscous ¯uid which is not easy to inject in the narrow empty space inside the sandwich-fabric. Fig. it can be noticed that the mean value of the sti€ness of the syntactic foam core (with the sandwich-fabric piles) is about 21% lower than that of the plain foam. This reduction in sti€ness is again to be attributed to the presence of the piles. (c) side and top views of a specimen after the test. mixed with the glass bubbles. has been obtained by prolonging the test until the maximum available limits for the loading device: only part of the total response is shown in the ®gure. .e.7 14 200 ± Weft stresses corresponding to a 2% strain (as prescribed by the norm) and of the elastic moduli are given in Table 4.5 17 000 ± 175 1. The values of the Table 3 Experimental mean values and nominal values of the extra-skins in uniaxial tension for loading in the weft and warp direction Nominal value provided by the manufacture Warp t 'm—x …w€—† 4t f—il …7† Et …w€—† #t t 'm—x …w€—† 4t f—il …7† Et …w€—† #t Experimental mean value 267 2. 5b).

this manufacturing technique appears to be rather inadequate and should be improved or substituted by a more ecient one. All the specimens failed due to delamination of the weakest interface in the series arrangement. this can be partially explained by observing that Table 5 Experimental data of the sandwich in ¯atwise tension (FT) tests Fig. and by ¯exural tests as discussed below in Section 3. Corigliano et al. 7a). the tests were carried out by using self-aligning loading ®xtures. and a second group so that the piles were inclined along the specimen width.11 FT3 8.and four-point bending tests on the sandwich Three. in view to determine the sandwich ¯exural sti€ness.32 FT5 6. The sandwich panels were prepared by cutting them out of a larger panel in two di€erent ways with respect to the piles orientations in the core. 7. Flatwise tension tests on the sandwich The ¯atwise tension (FT) tests were performed according to the ASTM C 297-94 [12].4. it can be inferred that the piles in¯uence the core mechanical properties. (c) three specimens after testing showing delamination failure. the core shear modulus G and the core shear strength (m—x .72 1148 3.57 845 FC7 15.34 . The data of Table 5 show the weakness of the bond between the sandwichfabric and the ROVIMAT. Flatwise tension (FT) test on the sandwich: (a) shape and size of the specimen used (dimensions in mm). The failure of the skin/core bond was also investigated by edgewise compression tests. 3. 8 displays specimens and testing devices. From the di€erence in the recorded mechanical properties of the two groups. In Table 6 are given values of G and (m—x . which are separately described in [7]. As suggested by the norm. The weakness of the ROVIMAT/sandwich-fabric bond can be mainly attributed to the production technology which consisted in a simple lamination. Fig. On the light of the experimental observations. t The values of stress at debonding …'m—x † are given in Table 5 for ®ve tests (FT1±FT5).04 1120 22. hence the same specimens used for the ¯atwise compression tests (Fig. composed by a couple of sti€ loading blocks bonded to the skins by a suitable adhesive (Fig. 7b).47 Average value 5. FT1 t 'm—x …w€—† FT2 4.4 1290 FC4 16.31 1054 FC3 21.42 1765 FC6 15. The data collected in Table 6 show that the specimens under FPB display an higher shear resistance of the core.98 1053 FC5 26.and four-point bending (TPB and FPB) tests on ¯at sandwich panels were conducted according to the ASTM C 393-94 [13]. The test method covers the evaluation of the bond resistance between core and skins in a sandwich structure.5.2174 A. Rectangular plates 110 mm long and 30 mm wide were cut from the 16 mm thick sandwich panel. as derived from the tests. The core shear modulus G was calculated from the measured de¯ections of the specimens on the three-point bending tests as suggested by the ASTM standard.88 687 Average value 20. / Composites Science and Technology 60 (2000) 2169±2180 Table 4 Experimental data of the sandwich in ¯atwise compression (FC) tests FC1 ™ '2 7 …w€—† E™ …w€—† FC2 21. namely the ROVIMAT/sandwich-fabric interface (Fig.85 6.5. 7c). (b) the specimen mounted on the testing device. A ®rst group of specimens was prepared so that the piles were inclined along the specimen length. on square specimens with 25 mm side. The core shear strength (m—x was determined from both TPB and FPB tests.03 FT4 4. Three.

(d) extra skin delamination. Failure mechanisms of core rupture and lower skin rupture appear subsequently during the test. to the skin/core bond under shear. Corigliano et al. (b) testing device for three-point-bending (TPB). (c) testing device for four-point-bending (FPB). 10.6 13.A. Di€erent kinds of load/displacement responses are shown in Figs. The single crack follows the piles slope when the piles are inclined along the length of the specimen (Fig. The kind of rupture mechanism is strongly in¯uenced by the piles inclination.8 15. 9. (b) symmetric collapse with development of two 45 inclined cracks in the core. Table 6 Experimental data of the sandwich in TPB and FPB tests Piles inclined along the specimen length TPB FPB G (MPa) (m—x (MPa) (m—x (MPa) 229 12. Fig. the sandwich structure can be loaded after the core failure: at higher loads the failure extends to the skin under tension or. As shown in Figs. Flexural tests on the sandwich: (a) shape and size of the specimen used (dimensions in mm). 8. The di€erence in the responses is a result of the various failure mechanisms that may separately appear in the sandwich panel and lead to its ®nal collapse. some specimens with piles inclined along the specimen width showed the same behaviour. in some cases. (c) extra skin collapse in tension.8 Fig. whereas other specimens loaded on FPB con®guration failed with double symmetric crack opening (Fig. / Composites Science and Technology 60 (2000) 2169±2180 2175 the risk of local core crushing under the load points is lower when the load is applied through two points rather than one. 9 and 10 for TPB and FPB. 10 and 11. 11a). Load/displacement curves of FPB tests.7 Piles inclined along the specimen length 167 12. 11b). 11a±d): (a) unsymmetric collapse with the formation of a single 45 inclined crack in the core. . Fig. respectively. Load/displacement curves of TPB tests. The main characteristic mechanisms reported for the specimen are (Fig. Di€erent failure mechanisms characterise the single test.

Corigliano et al. The purpose of the numerical simulations was therefore to correctly capture those single collapse mechanisms (and the corresponding failure loads) when considered as independent and occurring separately in the specimen. the industrial-oriented simulations presented in Section 4. is based on rather simplifying assumptions.1. described in Section 4. The simpli®ed procedure consists in a local sti€ness release at the Gauss point level. In order to simulate. Indeed. The numerical model adopted. the numerical simulations were done by activating separately a simpli®ed procedure for the simulation of the progressive damage in the core. skin collapse or delamination. the contribution of that Gauss point to the element sti€ness matrix is then brought to zero. with the addition of few. Numerical FE simulations of the three. 4. When a threshold value of a scalar failure index is reached in a single Gauss point. in the skins or in the line of elements near the interface between the extra-skin and the core.2176 A. All the numerical simulations have been performed with the commercial ®nite element code ABAQUS [14]. procedures.and fourpoint-bending tests The purpose of this section is to present the numerical FE simulations of the TPB and FPB tests on the sandwich. 11).1. / Composites Science and Technology 60 (2000) 2169±2180 Fig. a Rankine criterion was . Di€erent failure indexes may be considered. In the numerical calculations.5 it can be deduced that the main rupture mechanisms which may develop in the TPB and FPB tests are the formation of macroscopic cracks in the core or at the interface core/ extra-skins (delamination) and the extra-skin collapse in tension (see Fig. The di€erent materials in the sandwich thickness were reproduced by the superposition of three strips of elements with di€erent mechanical properties: two external strips representing the skins and the extra skins (3 mm thick) and a central layer for the core (9 mm thick). Recorded rupture mechanisms in TPB and FPB tests. implemented through a user subroutine. either based on local strain or stress states. core collapse.2 show the potentiality of the simpli®ed procedure adopted here. the tensile elastic modulus Et is annihilated locally. respectively. Such choice has been made in order to check the possibility to simulate the main rupture mechanisms observed in the tests by making use of a commercial code. ad-hoc developed. Numerical ®nite-element strategy and material modelling From the experimental results of Section 3. 11. 4.

2 and Table 3) by averaging the experimental values obtained for loading in the warp and weft directions. Table 7 Mechanical data adopted for the numerical simulations of the TPB and FPB tests E (MPa) Skin Core 14 000 1100 # 0. Comparison between numerical and experimental results for the three. The meshes are composed of four node plane strain elements. in the simulations.5 (Fig. 12. from the comparison it can be observed that the crack pattern is correctly reproduced. Finally. 12. A numerical load/displacement plot obtained for the TPB test by activating the rupture criterion in the core only is compared in Fig. This value of (m—x was derived from previous experimental tests on laminate specimens similar to the sandwich skins considered here [15. Although the specimen geometry and loading con®gurations were symmetrical. while in the other half the local sti€ness release procedure was applied. As in the experiments.A. in Fig.3 and Table 4). The numerical analyses were conducted under the assumption of plane strain.1 and Table 2). The results of Fig. the whole cross-section was modelled. / Composites Science and Technology 60 (2000) 2169±2180 2177 assumed for the simulation of damage in the core and the skins.34 t 'm—x …w€—† 225 15 . Corigliano et al. 8a). The elastic sti€ness of the core was instead taken from the FC tests on sandwich specimens (Section 3. respectively.16]). in Fig. crack propagation. during the numerical simulations the ®rst elements which fail are near the edge of the loading cylinders and the crack proceeds from top to bottom and is inclined towards the lower cylindrical support. two experimental load-displacement plots concerning specimen failed for extra-skin delamination are compared with a numerically simu- Fig. The elastic sti€ness and the fracture load are adequately captured considering the great simplicity of the adopted model. Crack patterns in Fig. the presence of piles was neglected. 13 can be compared with the experimental ones in Fig. 16. while a control on the maximum shear stress was adopted for the strip of elements at the boundary core/lower skin for the simulation of skin debonding. 13a and b the numerically computed crack patterns at the end of the analyses in the numerically simulated TPB and FPB are shown. In this case the control on the failure index is also applied only in the core elements and the specimen tested failed for unsymmetric crack propagation in the core. the core was considered as homogeneous and isotropic.20 0. The skin and core model parameters used for the numerical simulations are collected in Table 7. Fig. at least qualitatively. The above procedure implies that the mechanical behaviour of the single constituents was assumed to be elastic/perfectly brittle as depicted schematically in Fig. since the behaviour at rupture was unsymmetrical in some cases.and four-point bending tests. More precisely. 11. 4. unsymmetric. half of the section was considered inde®nitely elastic. Schematic representation of the elastic/brittle behaviour assumed for the numerical simulations. The mesh adopted in the simulations are shown in Fig.63. The loading and support rollers are simulated as rigid bodies. 13 the elements which were concerned in the sti€ness release procedure are marked in black. The critical value of shear stress for the simulation of skin debonding was assumed equal to the ILSS (interlaminar shear stress) for the glass/epoxy-resin fabric: (m—x ˆ 16X4 MPa. In Fig. 15 show again that the numerical analyses are in good qualitative and quantitative agreement with the experiments. 13a and b for a symmetric TPB case and an unsymmetric FPB one. since it has been observed that the presence of piles modi®es the Young's modulus with respect to the value of the pure syntactic foam: the recorded ratio E™ore aEfo—m is in fact about 0. since the delamination occurred between the ROVIMATTM extra-skin and the sandwich-fabric external surface. 14 with two experimental plots concerning TPB tests which registered unsymmetric failure in the core. 15 shows the comparison between experimental and numerical load/displacement plots for the FPB tests. The values of the elastic modulus and failure stress of the external skins were obtained from the tensile tests of the skin alone (Section 3. and the skins were also considered as homogeneous and isotropic. To simulate single. The average critical-stress threshold and Poisson's ratio for the core were obtained from the uniaxial tension tests on the foam (Section 3.2. Moreover. since the specimen width to span ratio is equal to 0.

In this case. Corigliano et al. 13±16. 13. Marked elements represent the numerically simulated crack pattern. As shown by the results displayed in Figs. . Finite-element meshes adopted for numerical simulations of TPB and FPB tests.2178 A. / Composites Science and Technology 60 (2000) 2169±2180 lated response. the agreement between the numerical and the experimental failure loads is particularly good. The numerical analysis was carried out by activating the simpli®ed procedure for progressive damage simulation in the strip of elements at the boundary core/lower skin. the simpli®ed procedure devised in the present analyses Fig.

an alternative. As a matter of fact. it can be noticed that the sti€ness release procedure was already attempted in [6] with reference to the simulation of the plain syntactic foam behaviour in notched TPB specimens. In the simulations of the plain foam behaviour. Closing remarks The present paper focussed on the mechanical experimental characterization and numerical simulation of a syntactic foam/glass ®bre composite sandwich conceived as a light-weight material for naval engineering applications. As a main point of remark. more re®ned procedure. at the same time it furnishes a drastic weight saving with respect to a fully laminated glass-®bre-reinforced plate. more generally. Corigliano et al. from the experimental study. this should be. however. Fig. Marked lines: experiments. In particular. / Composites Science and Technology 60 (2000) 2169±2180 2179 Fig. leads to results which are overall in good qualitative agreement with the experimental tests. The use of a syntactic foam to ®ll the sandwich core appears to increase the sandwich sti€ness and strength quite remarkably with respect to lighter but weaker solutions. Comparison between experimental and numerical load/displacement plots for the FPB tests with skin delamination. it emerges the considerable weakness of the sandwich/extra-skins bonding. 15. for the simulation of damage processes and strain localization in the Fig. Comparison between experimental and numerical load/displacement plots for the FPB tests with core rupture. Such computational procedure could also be employed here for a further re®nement of the present results. A better agreement between experimental results and numerical simulations could be obtained by adopting more sophisticated constitutive modelling and relevant computational techniques. 5. in that case. [17±21]) was also adopted. Marked lines: experiments. leading to a considerable improvement of the numerical results. The risk of delamination of the extra skins in real engineering applications could then be quite relevant. the numerical results were not completely satisfactory as a result of the considerable brittleness of the numerical responses which did not take advantage of the extra structural resources available here from the sandwich geometry. The experimental campaign con®rmed the remarkable potentialities of the innovative sandwich structure with syntactic foam core and skins interconnected by transverse piles. The models chosen for the numerical simulations represent a good compromise between the con¯icting requirements of correctly describing the real material behaviour and of o€ering a cost-e€ective analysis tool for numerical simulations in a real industrial environment. The structured material studied appears to be well suited for naval engineering and. Comparison between experimental and numerical load/displacement plots for the TPB tests with core rupture. e.A. but this falls beyond the scope of the present simulations and comparisons to the experimental tests. based on the discrete crack approach (see. 14. eliminated or reduced by improving the production technology on this speci®c aspect.g. for advanced transportation related technologies. 16. at least partially. . Marked lines: experiments.

[16] Poggi C. Katholieke Universiteit Leuven. [13] Anon. Berlin: Springer Verlag. 1990.g. identi®cation and use of interface models in the numerical analysis of composite delamination. high modulus ®bers and composites (ASTM C 297-94). On the compressive elasticity of epoxy resins ®lled with hollow glass microspheres. 2000. Maier G. vol.R. Willam K. while the phenomenon of extra-skin delamination could be captured by making use of suitable interface models (see. 1965. Mechanical behaviour of a syntactic foam/glass ®bre composite sandwich: experimental results. Laurea (Master degree) thesis. [27] Corigliano A. Ricci M. A damage computational method for composite [23] Ladeve structures. space simulation. 1982. Syntactic foam. Characterisation of glass ®ber materials DF1400 and Rovimat1200. Á ze P. vol 15. [14] Hibbit. was an employee of Politecnico di Milano.6:773±82. Rizzi E. Cement and Concrete Research 1976. Sorensen.30:2779±811. US Forest Service research note FPL-086. Frassine R. 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Annual book of ASTM Vol 15. Tempesti E. Analysis and design of structural sandwich panels. Damage analysis of inter[28] Allix O.2180 A. Politecnico di Milano. aerospace and aircraft. Mathematical theory of equilibrium cracks in brittle fracture. In: Hilyard NG. The authors wish to thank Intermarine SpA for providing reference material on composites for naval engineering applications and for granting permission to publish the present results. Mechanics of cellular plastics. use could be made of ad-hoc formulated damage models (see.37(40):5773±94. [6] Rizzi E. Fatigue and Fracture of Engineering Materials and Structures 1992. 1966. Comput Struct 1992. Interlaminar interface modelling for the [26] Allix O.60:47±53. We acknowledge the contributions of our former students Mara Savioli and Ilaria Schiavi who were involved in the present research during the preparation of their Laurea theses. On failure indicators in multi-dissipative materials.44:79±87. 1997. [25] Krajichinovicz D. 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