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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

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

3 and 4. the core of the sandwich. 'm—x c ˆ 28X4 MPa. Uniaxial tension/compression tests on the syntactic foam (tension positive): (a) shape and size of the specimen used for compression (dimensions in mm). 2a). repeated from Table 1 for the sake of comparison. further experimental tests on foams prepared with more careful manufacturing techniques did not show appreciable di€erences in elastic sti€nesses [7]. 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. Moreover. the other two tests exhibited breakage in zones near the tapered sections and showed slightly lower tensile strength. The material specimens were prepared directly by the manufacturer.7 1.92 1.9 ± ± ± 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. 2b). E™ ˆ 1X6 GPa. 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]). In fact. the elastic modulus attributed to the core for numerical simulations has been chosen equal to that obtained in ¯atwise compression tests on the sandwich. (c) stress/strain curves. together with the nominal values furnished by the manufacturer. The remaining 20% di€erence should be mainly explained in terms of the presence of air bubbles between matrix and ®ller. only one test displayed fracture in the central part of the specimen. 2c). 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. Young's modulus pressive strength.A. as explained in Sections 3. Corigliano et al. (b) shape and size of the specimen used for tension (dimensions in mm).5 ± Et …w€—† 1812 14 200 17 000 8050 t 'm—x …w€—† 4t f—il …7† 8. 2c. is about 55% of the comstrength. Loading/ Fig. Poisson's ratio was instead rather una€ected by the sign of the applied stress: the average value of # ˆ 0X34 was recorded. with a softening post-peak branch which tends to stabilize on an horizontal plateau at residual strength. The values of experimental elastic sti€nesses and strengths are reported in Table 2. Tensile t ˆ 15X6 MPa. Guideline for tensile specimens geometry was the ASTM D 638 for composites (Fig. 2. In the following no consideration will be further taken of the syntactic foam bimodularity. The response under tension is instead perfectly brittle with rupture on a section perpendicular to the loading axis. E ˆ 2X2 GPa. . is about 38% larger than Young's modulus in compression. specimen shapes and sizes were determined according to UNI 6132-72 for concrete and to ASTM D 695 M-91 for composites (Fig. / 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. 'm—x t in tension. The compression behaviour is rather ductile. The stress/strain curves from the uniaxial tests are reported in Fig. For the compression tests. unloading paths performed in some of the compression tests showed that the elastic sti€ness degradation is not particularly signi®cant [7].

Picture of a specimen after rupture. 3a).9 1414 ± Compression Beside the uniaxial tests. 5a). 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. The specimens.6 0.3. caused by the successive partialization of the cross-section. The failure is sudden and brittle and displays the typical pattern shown in Fig. the specimens. 7]). which were directly provided by the manufacturer. As shown in Fig.7 2200 0.5 mm/min. suggestions on loading ®xtures and a way to classify the di€erent failure modes. Because of marked anisotropy. 4. where the results of a typical test are reported. (b) axial and transverse stress/strain responses under tension in both weft and warp directions. Composite extra-skin tested under tension. 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. 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).2. Fig.34 28. were instrumented with glued electric strain gauges: because of the size of the fabric repeated unit cell (10 mm). The ASTM D 3039 was followed. Corigliano et al. biaxial compression tests and TPB tests on notched specimens were also performed on the syntactic foam. Flatwise compression tests on the sandwich The C365-94 ASTM [10] was followed to perform ¯atwise compression (FC) tests on the sandwich. 3. / 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. 3b). which provides specimen shape and size (Fig. Fig. The displacement Experimental mean value 15. 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. the second showed a quasi-brittle response during fracture (see [6. The ®rst suggest an eggshaped failure domain typical of frictional geomaterials. .2172 A.5 1600 0.34 16 0.4 3.92 1812 ± 32 8. According to the norm. 3b. Composite extra-skin tested under tension: (a) shape and size of the specimen used (dimensions in mm). the composite skin shows an almost linearelastic brittle behaviour with a slight deviation near failure. 4. large grid strain gauges were choosen and only few specimens were equipped with an additional transverse device to detect the transversal strain. 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. just before the complete rupture of the fabric the threads fail one after another causing a rapid decreasing of strength. of square geometry with sides of 25 mm (Fig. were loaded under displacement control at a rate of 0.

/ Composites Science and Technology 60 (2000) 2169±2180 2173 was measured by four LVDTs applied to the loading plate (Fig. Corigliano et al.A.3 14 707 0. one carried out until maximum stroke is reached). 6.0 13 153 0. The ®rst seven plots are named FC1-FC7. Fig. i.g. In [7]. Stress/strain response of the sandwich under ¯atwise compression (eight tests. During loading.21 210 1. 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. after a plastic plateau. Fig. Flatwise compression (FC) tests on the sandwich: (a) shape and size of the specimen used (dimensions in mm). This reduction in sti€ness is again to be attributed to the presence of the piles. 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. 5. At di€erence with the plain syntactic foam (Section 3. 5b). 5c shows a side and a top view of a specimen after the compression test. .5 17 000 ± 175 1. is in practice a viscous ¯uid which is not easy to inject in the narrow empty space inside the sandwich-fabric. 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. which preclude full monoliticity of the foam: the epoxy resin. the sandwich core under ¯atwise compression shows a ductile behaviour. the last one. 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. mixed with the glass bubbles.20 187 2. Fig. 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. [11]). Moreover. 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.e. the sandwich may in fact undergo a shear deformation with relative sliding of the external skins which is contrasted by the piles. the responses in Fig. labeled FCC. It is interesting to remark that syntactic foams loaded in triaxial compression show similar qualitative locking behaviours (see. Comparing the values in Table 4 with the compressive elastic properties of the foam (Table 2). (c) side and top views of a specimen after the test. 6 shows the stress/strain experimental curves corresponding to eight di€erent tests. 6 vary from FC1 with a void percentage of about 22% to FC7 with a void percentage of about 30%. e. Fig. (b) the specimen mounted on the testing device.7 14 200 ± Weft stresses corresponding to a 2% strain (as prescribed by the norm) and of the elastic moduli are given in Table 4.1).

it can be inferred that the piles in¯uence the core mechanical properties. The test method covers the evaluation of the bond resistance between core and skins in a sandwich structure.5. / 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. 7c). Three. 3.04 1120 22. Fig.42 1765 FC6 15. As suggested by the norm.32 FT5 6. Flatwise tension tests on the sandwich The ¯atwise tension (FT) tests were performed according to the ASTM C 297-94 [12].47 Average value 5. composed by a couple of sti€ loading blocks bonded to the skins by a suitable adhesive (Fig.88 687 Average value 20. and by ¯exural tests as discussed below in Section 3.03 FT4 4.57 845 FC7 15. 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.31 1054 FC3 21. the core shear modulus G and the core shear strength (m—x . The data collected in Table 6 show that the specimens under FPB display an higher shear resistance of the core.4 1290 FC4 16. In Table 6 are given values of G and (m—x . 7b). as derived from the tests.5. on square specimens with 25 mm side. A ®rst group of specimens was prepared so that the piles were inclined along the specimen length. 8 displays specimens and testing devices. hence the same specimens used for the ¯atwise compression tests (Fig. the tests were carried out by using self-aligning loading ®xtures. The weakness of the ROVIMAT/sandwich-fabric bond can be mainly attributed to the production technology which consisted in a simple lamination. (b) the specimen mounted on the testing device. 7.and four-point bending tests on the sandwich Three.2174 A. (c) three specimens after testing showing delamination failure.4. t The values of stress at debonding …'m—x † are given in Table 5 for ®ve tests (FT1±FT5). 7a). this can be partially explained by observing that Table 5 Experimental data of the sandwich in ¯atwise tension (FT) tests Fig.85 6. All the specimens failed due to delamination of the weakest interface in the series arrangement. Flatwise tension (FT) test on the sandwich: (a) shape and size of the specimen used (dimensions in mm). which are separately described in [7]. Rectangular plates 110 mm long and 30 mm wide were cut from the 16 mm thick sandwich panel.and four-point bending (TPB and FPB) tests on ¯at sandwich panels were conducted according to the ASTM C 393-94 [13]. On the light of the experimental observations. this manufacturing technique appears to be rather inadequate and should be improved or substituted by a more ecient one. FT1 t 'm—x …w€—† FT2 4. From the di€erence in the recorded mechanical properties of the two groups. Corigliano et al. The data of Table 5 show the weakness of the bond between the sandwichfabric and the ROVIMAT. 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. in view to determine the sandwich ¯exural sti€ness. The core shear strength (m—x was determined from both TPB and FPB tests.11 FT3 8. The failure of the skin/core bond was also investigated by edgewise compression tests. and a second group so that the piles were inclined along the specimen width.72 1148 3. namely the ROVIMAT/sandwich-fabric interface (Fig.34 .98 1053 FC5 26.

(b) testing device for three-point-bending (TPB). some specimens with piles inclined along the specimen width showed the same behaviour. The kind of rupture mechanism is strongly in¯uenced by the piles inclination. 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. Failure mechanisms of core rupture and lower skin rupture appear subsequently during the test. 11b). The main characteristic mechanisms reported for the specimen are (Fig. 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 12.8 Fig. (b) symmetric collapse with development of two 45 inclined cracks in the core. 11a). 10 and 11. 9. in some cases.7 Piles inclined along the specimen length 167 12. .A. Fig. the sandwich structure can be loaded after the core failure: at higher loads the failure extends to the skin under tension or. (c) extra skin collapse in tension. 10. to the skin/core bond under shear. respectively. Di€erent kinds of load/displacement responses are shown in Figs. Load/displacement curves of TPB tests. 11a±d): (a) unsymmetric collapse with the formation of a single 45 inclined crack in the core. Corigliano et al. 8. Load/displacement curves of FPB tests. As shown in Figs. whereas other specimens loaded on FPB con®guration failed with double symmetric crack opening (Fig. The single crack follows the piles slope when the piles are inclined along the length of the specimen (Fig. Flexural tests on the sandwich: (a) shape and size of the specimen used (dimensions in mm). Di€erent failure mechanisms characterise the single test. 9 and 10 for TPB and FPB. (c) testing device for four-point-bending (FPB). / 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.8 15. Fig.6 13. (d) extra skin delamination.

procedures. 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.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). Corigliano et al. 4. Numerical ®nite-element strategy and material modelling From the experimental results of Section 3. the industrial-oriented simulations presented in Section 4. either based on local strain or stress states. the contribution of that Gauss point to the element sti€ness matrix is then brought to zero. ad-hoc developed. When a threshold value of a scalar failure index is reached in a single Gauss point.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.2176 A. 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). implemented through a user subroutine. Recorded rupture mechanisms in TPB and FPB tests. The numerical model adopted. 4. respectively.1. the tensile elastic modulus Et is annihilated locally.1. All the numerical simulations have been performed with the commercial ®nite element code ABAQUS [14]. In order to simulate. Numerical FE simulations of the three. / Composites Science and Technology 60 (2000) 2169±2180 Fig. is based on rather simplifying assumptions. Indeed. described in Section 4.2 show the potentiality of the simpli®ed procedure adopted here. The simpli®ed procedure consists in a local sti€ness release at the Gauss point level. 11. In the numerical calculations. core collapse. a Rankine criterion was . 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. in the skins or in the line of elements near the interface between the extra-skin and the core. Di€erent failure indexes may be considered. with the addition of few. 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.

two experimental load-displacement plots concerning specimen failed for extra-skin delamination are compared with a numerically simu- Fig. 12. Corigliano et al. The skin and core model parameters used for the numerical simulations are collected in Table 7. Moreover.1 and Table 2). Crack patterns in Fig. the whole cross-section was modelled. since the specimen width to span ratio is equal to 0. at least qualitatively.3 and Table 4). Table 7 Mechanical data adopted for the numerical simulations of the TPB and FPB tests E (MPa) Skin Core 14 000 1100 # 0. The elastic sti€ness and the fracture load are adequately captured considering the great simplicity of the adopted model. The average critical-stress threshold and Poisson's ratio for the core were obtained from the uniaxial tension tests on the foam (Section 3. 15 shows the comparison between experimental and numerical load/displacement plots for the FPB tests. The results of Fig. the core was considered as homogeneous and isotropic.20 0.5 (Fig. 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. from the comparison it can be observed that the crack pattern is correctly reproduced. 12. in Fig. As in the experiments. since the delamination occurred between the ROVIMATTM extra-skin and the sandwich-fabric external surface.and four-point bending tests. This value of (m—x was derived from previous experimental tests on laminate specimens similar to the sandwich skins considered here [15.A. Comparison between numerical and experimental results for the three. 15 show again that the numerical analyses are in good qualitative and quantitative agreement with the experiments.16]). half of the section was considered inde®nitely elastic. 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. The loading and support rollers are simulated as rigid bodies. The meshes are composed of four node plane strain elements. 13a and b for a symmetric TPB case and an unsymmetric FPB one. 16. Although the specimen geometry and loading con®gurations were symmetrical. Fig. The numerical analyses were conducted under the assumption of plane strain. 13 the elements which were concerned in the sti€ness release procedure are marked in black. The mesh adopted in the simulations are shown in Fig.2. unsymmetric. 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. To simulate single. respectively.2 and Table 3) by averaging the experimental values obtained for loading in the warp and weft directions. 8a). 13a and b the numerically computed crack patterns at the end of the analyses in the numerically simulated TPB and FPB are shown. 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. 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. in Fig. The elastic sti€ness of the core was instead taken from the FC tests on sandwich specimens (Section 3. 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.63. In Fig. Schematic representation of the elastic/brittle behaviour assumed for the numerical simulations.34 t 'm—x …w€—† 225 15 . crack propagation. The above procedure implies that the mechanical behaviour of the single constituents was assumed to be elastic/perfectly brittle as depicted schematically in Fig. A numerical load/displacement plot obtained for the TPB test by activating the rupture criterion in the core only is compared in Fig. 4. / Composites Science and Technology 60 (2000) 2169±2180 2177 assumed for the simulation of damage in the core and the skins. 11. since the behaviour at rupture was unsymmetrical in some cases. and the skins were also considered as homogeneous and isotropic. in the simulations. 13 can be compared with the experimental ones in Fig. 14 with two experimental plots concerning TPB tests which registered unsymmetric failure in the core. the presence of piles was neglected. while in the other half the local sti€ness release procedure was applied. More precisely. Finally.

In this case. . 13. the simpli®ed procedure devised in the present analyses Fig. the agreement between the numerical and the experimental failure loads is particularly good. Finite-element meshes adopted for numerical simulations of TPB and FPB tests. Marked elements represent the numerically simulated crack pattern. / Composites Science and Technology 60 (2000) 2169±2180 lated response. 13±16.2178 A. As shown by the results displayed in Figs. Corigliano et al. 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.

at the same time it furnishes a drastic weight saving with respect to a fully laminated glass-®bre-reinforced plate. but this falls beyond the scope of the present simulations and comparisons to the experimental tests. / Composites Science and Technology 60 (2000) 2169±2180 2179 Fig.A. Comparison between experimental and numerical load/displacement plots for the FPB tests with core rupture. more generally. it emerges the considerable weakness of the sandwich/extra-skins bonding. 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 TPB tests with core rupture. in that case. more re®ned procedure. [17±21]) was also adopted. for the simulation of damage processes and strain localization in the Fig. Marked lines: experiments. . at least partially. The structured material studied appears to be well suited for naval engineering and. Marked lines: experiments. 14. Corigliano et al. As a main point of remark. Comparison between experimental and numerical load/displacement plots for the FPB tests with skin delamination. The experimental campaign con®rmed the remarkable potentialities of the innovative sandwich structure with syntactic foam core and skins interconnected by transverse piles. 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. The risk of delamination of the extra skins in real engineering applications could then be quite relevant. e. based on the discrete crack approach (see. Fig. leading to a considerable improvement of the numerical results. 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. 15. 16. 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. however. from the experimental study.g. 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. In particular. an alternative. 5. for advanced transportation related technologies. this should be. eliminated or reduced by improving the production technology on this speci®c aspect. As a matter of fact. Marked lines: experiments. 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.

space simulation. Analysis and design of structural sandwich panels. Fatigue and Fracture of Engineering Materials and Structures 1992. standard version 5.  ze P. A course on damage mechanics. Sulla caratterizzazione di materiali compositi avanzati: Á meccaniche e sugli e€etti delle imperfeindagini sulle proprieta zioni di laminazione. [20] Cen Z. J Appl Mech ASME 1983. was an employee of Politecnico di Milano. Corigliano A. [22] Lemaitre J. 15. ABAQUS. WCCM-4. Ladeve laminar fracture specimens. Papa E. Á ze P. Standard test method for ¯atwise tensile strength of sandwich constructions.15:911±28. Donzella G.A. Á ze P.DR/PM(1).22:235±42. [12] Anon. At that time. Politecnico di Milano. author E. An introduction to composite materials. Owen DRJ. space simulation. Softening and snap-back instability of cohesive solids. WPO4. Int J Solids Structures 1993. Petersson PE. 29 Giugno-2 Luglio. 1998. Ricci M. e.31:61±74. [29] Corigliano A. 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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. 1965. Minimum weight structural sandwich. A damage computational method for composite [23] Ladeve structures.37(40):5773±94. [24] Rizzi E. [22±25]). Berlin: Springer Verlag. 1966. core. Damage analysis of inter[28] Allix O. Formulation. J. New York: Wiley & Sons. vol 15. Rizzi E. [25] Krajichinovicz D. 1982. Int J of Solids and Structures 1996. Also the possible rate dependency of the sandwich mechanical behaviour should be checked and possibly simulated by means of suitable models. .2180 A. [6] Rizzi E. (ASTM C 365-94). 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. use could be made of ad-hoc formulated damage models (see. Mechanical behaviour of a syntactic foam/glass ®bre composite sandwich: experimental results. Mathematical theory of equilibrium cracks in brittle fracture. Composite panels based on woven sandwich fabric preforms. editor. Corigliano et al. Cement and Concrete Research 1976. Brite Euram project BE-7550. US Forest Service research note FPL-086. London/New York: Elsevier Applied Science. Corigliano A. Katholieke Universiteit Leuven. Corigliano A.7. Standard test method for ¯exural properties of sandwich constructions. Solids Structures. e. Standard Test Method Flatwise Compressive Properties of Sandwich Cores. [17] Barenblatt GI. [19] Dugdale DS. Cambridge University Press. Tempesti E. Submitted for publication. Sandwich construction. high modulus ®bers and composites. 1996. In: Proceedings. We are grateful to Professor Giulio Maier for involving us in this research topic and for fruitful discussions on selected related subjects.7:55±129. [3] Allen HG. 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