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Andrew C. Marshall
This chapter covers a unique form of composites known as ’structural sandwich construction’. A structural sandwich consists of three elements, as shown in Fig. 12.1:
1. a pair of thin, strong facings; 2. a thick, lightweight core to separate the facings and carry loads from one facing to the other; and 3. an attachment which is capable of transmitting shear and axial loads to and from the core.
This chapter provides a general background and a brief summary of the various materials in common use; the design steps used to calculate loads; some design details for solving load point, edging and attachment problems; and a few tables, charts and graphs containing useful information for the designer. An attempt is also made throughout the chapter to provide suggestions and perspectives to help a new user of sandwich structures technology to avoid some of the errors of his predecessors. Structural sandwich construction is one of the first forms of composite structures to have attained broad acceptance and usage. Virtually all commercial airliners and helicopters and Fig. 12.1 The elements of a sandwich structure are nearly all military air and space vehicles make as follows: (a) two rigid, thin, high strength facings; extensive usage of sandwich construction. In (b) one thick, low density core; and (c) an adhesive recent years, most commercial space vehicles attachment which forces the core and facings to act as a continuous structure.The facings of a sandwich have also adopted this technology for many panel act similarly to the flanges of an I-beam, components. The effectiveness of sandwich resisting the bending loads and increasing the construction is shown in Fig. 12.2. bending stiffness of the structure by spreading the In addition to air and space vehicles, the sysfacings apart. However, unlike the I-beam’s web, tem is commonly used in the manufacture of the core gives continuous support to the flanges or cargo containers, relocatable shelters and airfacings. field surfacing, navy ship interiors, small boats and yachts, duplicate die models and production parts in the automobile and recreational Handbook of Composites. Edited by S.T. Peters. Published
in 1998 by Chapman & Hall, London. ISBN 0 412 54020 7
Fncing material 255
Fig. 12.2 A striking example of how conversion to sandwich stiffens a structure without materially increasing its weight. This example uses 1.6 mm (0.063 in) thick aluminum facings and 1/4-5052 37 kg/m7 (2.3 lb/fPj aluminum core.
vehicle industry, snow skis, display cases, residential construction materials, interior partitions, doors, cabinets and a great many other everyday items. Although the employment of sandwich design to produce lightweight or special purpose load-carrying members is thought to have originated as early as 1820, routine commercial use of the idea did not occur until about 110 years later. What started this sudden acceptance was the successful commercial production of structural adhesives, starting in both UK and USA in the 1920s and 1930s. This early production began with the use of casein glue and later urea-formaldehyde and phenolics, with wood facings and cores. The search for better adhesives subsequently resulted in the development of the rubberphenolics and the vinyl-phenolics, which were suitable for use with metals. Commercial adhesives such as ’Cycleweld,’ (from Chrysler Motors), ’Plycosite,’ (from US Plywood) and ’Redux’ (from Bonded Structures, in Duxford, UK) adhered well to both wood and metals and possessed rather high and predictable strength. The result was the beginning of a revolution in bonding technology. Many further developments followed in only a few years. They included improved cleaning methods for metal skins; low weight, high strength/stiffness honeycomb core materials; ‘B’ staged tape adhesives which could be stored for long times; glass fabrics and collimated tapes preimpregnated with accurately measured
amounts of ’B’ staged resins; high strength resins; tough, high peel adhesives requiring lower cure temperatures and pressures; as well as the discovery of the resistance of sandwich to sonic fatigue.
12.2 FACING MATERIAL
The primary function of the face sheets in a sandwich structure is to provide the required bending and in-plane shear stiffness and to carry the edgewise and bending loads, as well as the in-plane shear loading. In the aerospace field, facings most commonly chosen are resin impregnated fiberglass cloth or a laminate of unidirectional fibers (commonly called ’prepreg’), graphite prepreg, 2024 or 7075 aluminum alloy, titanium alloy, or any of several stainless steel or refractory metal alloys. Even the most economical of these products represents a substantial cost and customary practice is to choose among them very carefully on a value engineering, or lowest lifetime cost, basis.
12.2.1 SUITABILITY OF MATERIALS
When choosing facing materials (as well as the core, adhesive, or other materials) for an application, it is wise to examine the less obvious properties of the material, such as toughness or brittleness, mode of fracture, durability and weatherability, compatibility with rivets and bolts and other such attributes which may directly affect the usability or success of the
The oldest of these is wood. in . Another fast-growing form of the material is in cores for fiberglass snow skis and tennis rackets. their role in structural parts for refrigerated vehicles and buildings having been largely taken over by the urethanes. BaltekI3. which continues to be used in many applications as a core for such common applications as doors. when used with appropriate facing materials. End-grain balsa has broad acceptance in boat hulls up to lengths of 15. in which the foam is injection molded in a single production step.256 Sandwich construction applications such as boat hulls. The very low cost polystyrene foams are used primarily in non-sandwich applications. Complete information can be obtained from the leading producer of these materials. Foams can also provide special properties such as insulation or radar transparency. extensive. together with the heat-sink effect of the mold results in a part with facings which are simply an un-foamed.3 CORE MATERIALS The primary function of a core in sandwich structures is that of stabilizing the facings and carrying most of the shear loads through the thickness. higher density form of the same polymer which constitutes the foamed core. The traditional advantage of the low cost of wood has been progressively eroded with the passage of time and many users report difficulty in supply. although a few of the higher performance skis employ honeycomb. either flat-grain or endgrain. large tanks and airborne pallets and containers. 12. partitions and many other ’builder’s supply’ items. or reinforced plastic cores.or Balsa Ecuador Lumber Company. Even so. the core must be as rigid and as light as possible and must deliver uniformly predictable properties in the environment (such as high humidity) in which the finished part is to perform. particularly of the carefully selected grades of end-grain balsa. Recent developments in the technology of foam injection have sharply increased the use of these materials.3.1 TYPES OF CORE MATERIALS Foam The use of foam as a structural core has been and is now. It is also used in the majority of snow skis. A careful adjustment of the mixing and curing reaction of the foam. An understanding of these requirements has resulted in a switch from aluminum to fiberglass skins and from fiberglass to aramid (Nomex. even though not directly involved in stress analysis or weight savings. This broadening usage is also prompted by its excellent compressive strength and modulus properties when compared to all but the aramid paper honeycombs. 12. In order to perform this job efficiently. foam. The most novel of these is use of a cold-cavity die.2m (50 ft) or more and is still used for replacement flooring for many older and a few new aircraft. which are much more expensive. the ease of use and excellent durability of the end product has led to substantially increased usage. from DuPont) cores for most aircraft cabin interior panels. The high productivity and modest cost of this scheme have resulted in many applications in the automotive and industrial fields. The single major Wood Several different materials are used extensively as sandwich cores. even at prices higher than foam and sometimes approaching that of honeycomb. end product. The saving in labor over conventional assembly methods has resulted in rapid acceptance of the process and the construction of many new factories. in which an assembly of facings and close-out details is placed in a closed cavity mold and foam injected to form both the core and the adhesive attachment to the pre-cured glass fiber skins and various edge details.
The actual value for an application at hand must be determined for the actual materials and conditions of use in order to be considered reliable. The foam-in-place system of producing sandwich structures has been used for more than 35 years. However.3. In the case of aramid paper honeycomb. various aluminum alloys. in the case of critical airframe parts. It will be noted that Table 12. the c T r A HOBE Block HOBE Slice + I Expanded Panel Expansion Process of Honeycomb Manufacture Corrugated Sheet Corrugated Block Roll Corrugating Rolls Corrugation Process of Honeycomb Manufacture Fig. Even the compressive strength cannot be considered to be reliable. used in his series of high performance small aircraft and the many similar designs offered by others in subsequent years. The use of systematic incoming inspection. even where listed. users of this system have always had difficulty with the continuing problem of producing uniform properties from one mix to the next and in achieving uniformly high core and bond strengths to the metal or pre-cured glass fiber skins. 12. This application was pioneered by Burt Rutan. Honeycombs based on titanium. even though this value is needed for sandwich panel design. have been largely replaced by the more efficient high density aramid honeycombs.Cove materials 257 exception to this statement lies in the extensive use of polystyrene foams as cores in several thousand amateur-built composite aircraft.3. The polyvinyl chloride (PVC) foams.1 does not list the shear strength of many of the various Roll foams. 12. however. aramid paper and glass or carbon fiber reinforced plastic in a number of cloth weaves and resin systems. When a value for shear strength is not available. which made an impact on the transport aircraft industry as flooring cores. because of its simple concept. produced integrally with the basic part. have all helped to keep the problems under control. automatic mixing and dispensing equipment and. stainless steel and many others are used in lesser quantities. . as many differing methods of measuring this value are commonly used and each results in a substantially different value reported. Actual cell shape produced by either method may vary greatly. This property. it may be roughly estimated to be about 0. test coupons.2 HONEYCOMB Honeycomb types in common usage include products made from uncoated and resinimpregnated kraft paper.7 times the compressive strength shown. cannot be considered to be a reliable value. in his ’moldless construction’. 12. Most honeycomb cores are constructed by adhesively bonding strips of thin material together.3 Most honeycomb is produced by the expansion process. as shown in Fig.
8 0.15-0.0 1.99 70-275 1.28-20. pipe covering.5 0.7 times the compressive strength shown as a first approximation for design feasibility consideration.0 96-128 80 160 320 170 51 180 650 3-17 20-54 80-130 1.258 Sandwich construction Table 12.014-0.65 15-60 0.96 1200-2000 0. molded.07 service at 145 300 51. foam.68-18.and three-package systems for foam-in-place.284.4 0.12 0.10 0.8-25.1384.9 11.99-3. use a figure of 0.2 0.62-1. Rigid (closed cell) molded parts. one-shot.90 1.896 125 90 260 1080 2-15 22-85 158-300 0.48-7. two. sheet Phenolics Foam-in-phase liquid resin Tensile strength (ASTM 01623) Compressive strength at 10% deflection (ASTM 01621) psi MPa Maximum service temperature "F "C kg/m3 psi MPa 641-897 20004000 13.6 15-1500 6.48-1.3-3. closed cell foam) Epoxies Rigid closed cell.104. a High density.90 andup 40-3000 15-1500 95 200 Skinned molded (rigid) Skin Core Polyvinyl chloride Rigid closed cell boards and billets 25-65 400-1041 3-30 48481 100-2700 150-250 66-121 150-250 66-121 3 6 48 96 1000 andup 0.% 5-24 X1 2-5 32-80 112-160 7-10 0. slabs.0-8. parts and shapes.34-8.10 290-550 3. with solid.1 Properties of several foam materials used as cores* TYP Density lb/ft3 ABS (acrylonitrile bu tadiene-styrene) Injection molding type pellets 40-56 Cellulois acetate Boards and rods (rigid.0 5.79 4.7 14.58 8.8-27. boards. precast blocks. blocks.58-3.10-0.8 7.6 2300-3700 15. Always test actual material used for true value of shear strength and modulus.552-0.0 4-8 9-12 13-18 19-25 801 561 2148 64-128 144192 208-288 30p400 5500 1600 15-96 90-290 230450 475-700 775-1300 37.03 7500 2100 0. integral skin.372 0.0 10.35 1.2 4. pour.83 650-1100 5.7 180-250 200-250 250-275 250-300 250-300 82-121 93-131 121-135 121-149 121-149 270 132 Polypropylene Pellets Polypropylene" Polyurethaneb 50 35.86 0.38 * Where shear strength and modulus properties are not shown. slabs. or froth-pour techniques.09-2.0 20.for spray. .65 1.5 176-180 80-82 6.62 1.27-13.58 Continuous 1.021-0.41 0.4 350 350 350 350 177 177 177 177 ' .
28 1.28 0. closed cell foam) Epoxies Rigid closed cell. blocks.83 225-15 000 1200 2200 8.52 0.04 0. .26 0.2 1-0. pour.28 0.06 0.2-0.58-2. or froth-pour techniques. for spray.21 0. with solid. two.03-0. one-shot. foam.07 0.04 0.4 0.02-0.29 0.80 0. use a figure of 0.05 0. boards.5 3.22 0.2 20 90 180 450 0.1 Continued Type Thermal conductivity BTU in h-'Pf2 Shear strength Wm-' K-I ~ _ _ Shear modulus MPa psi MPa psi ABS (acrylonitrile butadiene-styrene) Injection molding type pellets Cellulose acetate Boards and rods (rigid. integral skin.08-0.24 226 1500 4500 15000 1. precast blocks.61 0.03-0.15 0.Core materials 259 Table 12.04 0.2 0.05 0. sheet Phenolics Foam-in-phase liquid resin Polypropylene Pellets Polypropylene" Polyurethaneb 0.45 0. slabs.34-0.30 0.31 0.35 0.7 times the compressive strength shown as a first approximation for design feasibility consideration.21-0.1 0.32 0.04-0.0 103.1 Skinned molded (rigid) Skin Core Polyvinyl chloride Rigid closed cell boards and billets * Where shear strength and modulus properties are not shown.26-0.24-0.56 10.62 1.02-0.15-0.20-0. molded.12 20-500 65 120 0.04 0.and three-package systems for foam-in-place.0 at 70 0.12-0.19-0. Rigid (closed cell) molded parts.14 0.11-0.40 0.3 15. parts and shapes. pipe covering.55 2. slabs.3 31.03-0.04 0. a High density. Always test actual material used for true value of shear strength and modulus.03-0.05 4.04 0.05-0.04 0.
9"C (75°F).5.010 12. honeycomb core materials are strongly influThermal Resistance . it has been found that the cell size is more critical than core density. These graphs give the resistance for aluminum and non-metallic honeycomb at a mean temperature of 23. Some of these lb/ft3) an excellent choice for aircraft cabin differences are obvious in the thermal conducinterior walls and ceilings.including the effect of boundary layer conditions. even with glass fab. The thermal properties of typical facing materials may be found in many handbooks. 12.014 w 0) 007 (4 0 25(1 0) 5 0 (20) 76(30 lO(40) Core Thickness. The resistances (or reciprocal of conductivity) can simply be added .254 mm (0. Note that for non-metallic honeycomb. The reverse is true with aluminum honeycomb.01 for unsupported adhesives.cm (in ) Effect of Mean TemDerature -1 29 -17. ric-reinforced skins as low as 0. 12. several significant properties of honeycomb cores are peculiar to the materiin) in thickness. cu Thermal Resistance-Non Metallic Honevcomb 70 4 $13 W 53 3 9 2 e PI U 35 2 18 1 1 3 (0 5) 25(10) 3 8(1 5) 5 0 (20 ) Core Thickness. To correct for mean temperature.cm (in ) Fig. Physical and mechanical properties of the als and should be separately noted.03 for film adhesives with a scrim cloth support and 0. However. core and adhesive. Thermal resistance values for typical core to facing adhesives are typically 0.Aluminum Honeycomb .028 N E13021 W P -=x U &j .8 93 204 .4 and Fig.tivity information shown in Fig.260 Sandwich construction inherent toughness and abuse resistance of the enced by the properties of the materials from material makes cores of 1 6 4 8 k g / m 3 (1-3 which they are manufactured.4 Thermal conductivity through sandwich panels can be isolated into the contribution of each component: facings.9"C (75°F) by coefficient Q. divide the resistance at 23.
1 (bl 0 I' 125 L E KRAFT PAPER. 12.9 .5 5 F 8 0 0 . Figure 12.7shows typical differences in shear strength for the L and W directions. Physical tests of the final design must be used to confirm actual values obtained. Cell shape All honeycombs are anisotropic and the resulting directional properties should be adapted to Fig.6 . the loads anticipated. . 12. I I I I I I I I 1.7 .H I 9 ALUMINUM 00024 -INCH FOIL . PHENOLIC RESIN. & " I N C H XEXAGON CELLS 3003 . The above curves may be used only for preliminary correction factors. 12.5 Measured core shear strength will vary depending upon the test method.4 I 1 I I I I I I Fig. In addition.6(a) Typical stabilized compressive strengths.o 8 Y 4: a .2 261 .1 Y 1.6. core thickness.Core materials 1. skin thickness and many other factors. some cell shapes allow easy forming or curving at a small loss in strength/weight ratio.e .':INCH HEXAGON' C E L L S 1 I 4 I I I I 2 3 CORE THICKNESS (INCHES J Density All mechanical properties increase with higher density. as the curves shown above are only approximate. This attribute can be of great importance in manufacturing curved parts of appreciable thickness. as shown in Fig.
Fig. C is flexible in one axis.or over-expansion of the core changes its cell shape and density.262 Sandwich construction 1 PCF I L 0 20 40 60 80 100 120 140 160kglm' Density Fig. B is a reinforced corrugated core. A being normal expansion. 8.8(c) changes directional properties such that the L direction becomes slightly the weaker of the two major axes. F is a cell configuration nearly always used in the manufacture of welded metal honeycomb. G and H are only produced by the corrugating method. shapes may be intentionally or inadvertently altered by the core user. 12.6(b) Typical 'L' shear strengths. The over-expanded version of Fig. C and D are expanded from identical unexpanded slices. 8 C D E F Fig.7 Plate shear test values may be significantly different from test results obtained from testing beams. C fully over-expanded and D 50% expanded. or. while G and H are flexible in both axes. G H Cell shape variations Cell shape variations may be either furnished to specification by the core manufacturer. in certain materials such as aluminum. with an extra layer of uncorrugated web material placed between each layer of corrugated web material. It should be noted that the under. A. 12.8 A few of the many cell configurations in common usage. 12. . Reinforcing layers may be added in discrete locations or patterns and may be of the same or different web material or thickness. 12. Values shown above are typical for 5052 aluminum honeycomb.
such changes in cell shape must not be allowed to occur by error. Shear strength values obtained using plate shear test methods of Fig. It will be noted that the tables of mechanical properties for various honeycombs. in fixing the required lower limit on core-to-panel adhesive weight) and in determining stress levels at which intracell buckling or face dimpling of facings occurs. 12. Specimen geometry and test method Like thickness. as well as the exact test method used. depending on skin material and thickness. 263 Cell size Although cell size tends to be a secondary variable for most mechanical properties of core materials. if nonsensical.-hear failure.10. Failure to allow for the effect of thickness can affect observed values by a factor of 4 or more.12. prior to Paper honeycomb Paper honeycomb is the first predecessor of all the types of honeycomb.27 cm (0. having been produced for some 2000 years. problems. 12. 12. v : Fig.4-12.50 in) thick steel plates are oven-cleaned and may be reused many times. It should be emphasized that the correction factor shown may be considerably different. specify the shear test method used in producing the data shown.5. Tables 12. Note the ample bearing area provided at each load and support point to preclude core crushing . Fig. these must be specified and carefully controlled in order to obtain comparability -with test values obtained by others.9 Plate shear test for honeycomb shear strength and modulus 1. as noted in Fig. it is primary in fixing the strength level of the core-to-face attachment (or. Both methods are accepted and used and any lack of understanding of the differences can lead to monumental. more accurately. Thickness The shear and compressive properties noted for a 'pecific 'Ore type can Only be 'Pecified and when test methods are controlled and the correct thickness of core is tested.9 are quite normally up to 25% below those obtained when using the flexure method shown in Fig.Core materials Since the drop in the L direction strength can amount to as much as 30%. l2*l0 Short beam shear test for core. but were . 12. Early forms were not used as structural cores.
264 Sandwich constructiotz .
Core materials 265 .
- .266 Sandwich construction m n .
Core materials 267 E2222 yzzzz 6 \ \ \ \ x x x x 0000 a . 3 L .
Mechanical properties are listed in Table 12. start at under 128kg/m3 (81b/ft3) and can be purchased up to 880 kg/m3 (55 lb/ft3). It has also seen distinguished service as a matrix for retaining non-structural ablative materials. Many variations are available in cell sizes of 10. or other unique configurations. . or where a heat resistant resin and low thermal conductivity make it a natural choice. Current materials used as sandwich cores are different. Most applications are found in non-aircraft uses. Densities range from 32 to 192 kg/m" (2 to 12 lb/ft3). a sphere.0Ib/ft").13 and 19 mm (%.6. Glass fiber-reinforced plastic honeycomb This family of materials is most commonly used in electrically sensitive parts. such as radomes and antennae. They are commonly available in cell sizes of 5.3 and 10 mm (K. in that much stronger kraft paper is employed and 11-35% phenolic resin is frequently used to improve mechanical properties. Aluminum honeycomb This family of materials has been in production and growing since about 1947.3-12. Usage is growing rapidly in recreational vehicles. the most often used aircraft grade. corrugated and reinforced. which otherwise could not have been used effectively as ablative heat shields on the Gemini and Apollo re-entry vehicles. X and % in) or even larger sizes. Available with a corrosion resistant surface treatment. Mechanical properties of several commercially available glass fiber-reinforced cores are shown in Tables 12. usually used for non-aircraft applications. The aluminum honeycomb cores remain the most used.268 Sandwich construction employed as decoration . spheres and so forth. the most heat-resistant alloy and slightly stronger in some properties than 5056-H39. where cost saving is the one primary objective. in packaged patio room additions for homes. overexpanded and flexible cell configurations. Expanded aluminum cores commercially available ranges from a low of about 32 kg/m3 (2 lb/ft3) to a high of 192kg/m3 (12. as well as moisture and fungus resistance. Some have also been produced in a specially tailored geometry to make all the cell axes lie on a true radius of a cylinder. with the 10mm (% in) cell available as a watermigration resistant grade meeting military specification MIL-H-2104Q. and in bearing walls for commercial building. 2024-T3 or T81. available with a corrosion resistant surface treatment. X and X in) with a 3 mm (% in) cell available in a bias weave glass reinforcement. At densities below 128 kg/m3 (8 lb/ft3) corrugated core suffers a serious penalty in shear properties when compared to expanded core. the lowest strength of the group. at least five cell shapes and many foil gauges to provide a range of densities. 5052-H39.Aluminum honeycomb now includes four alloys. the strongest of the regular aircraft grades. walls and partitions. in curtain wall panels. 6. The higher strength versions are only produced in the smaller cell size. 5056-H39. Corrugated aluminum cores. however. 0 0 0 3003-H19.and are still frequently seen today as seasonal decorations in department stores in the form of expanded bells. These same alloy foils can also be wound as a corrugated spiral to form a cylinder or tube for very light energy absorption applications.2. such as soft silicone rubbers or syntactic rigid epoxy foams. for factory produced kitchen cabinets. as well as the most versatile of the various core materials obtainable and are often found to possess the most favorable performance/cost ratio available. Only high temperature phenolic and polyimide cores are generally produced. for doors. available with a corrosion resistant surface treatment. The alloys generally available are: 0 Some of the above alloys are also available as corrugated.
3. The base material is relatively incombustible and the small amounts present .3/16 .0 HFT . Modulus. Modulus. The mechanical properties of the material as a structural core are some- what lower than aluminum.8 HFT . psi ksi typical 95P 150p 225p 340p 5% 6OP typical 7P 12p 17p 25p 1OOp 14p 17p 32p 45p 67p 48P 13P 15P 24P 3% 13P 4P 5P loop 27513 435p lOOOp loop 140p 335p 9P 12p 30p * Test data obtained at 0.1.3/16 . especially in modulus. The core is expanded very much like aluminum or glass fabric honeycomb and then dip-coated with phenolic or other suitable resin system.3/16 . This translates into abuse resistance when applied to very light interior aircraft panels or flooring and gives the material a competitive edge even at the higher cost it represents.3. Honeycomb is normally not tested for bare compressive strength.4.0 HFT . 89P 48P 82P 117p 172p 27P 34P 6% 82P 206p Aramid paper honeycomb This is an especially tough and damage resistant product.density HFT .3. calendered 'Nomex' paper material produced by DuPont.6.0 Bare Strength.1 / 8 .0 HFT .6.500 in thickness.8. kPa MPa typical 2413p 396413 6618p 1 203p 1 827p 1172p 2585p 3792p 7584p typical 151p 310p 461p 689p 97P 117p 220p 310p 461p Plate shear _____ Honeycomb designation material .2.0 HFT . ksi typical 17P 32P 42P Strength.70 mm thickness. MPa typical 117p 220p 289p 331p 103p 165p 206p 89P * Test data obtained at 12.1.1/8 . psi typical 300p 390p 52533 1450p 75P Stabilized Strength.0 HFT/OX .3/16 .5 HFT .3/16 . kPa MPa typical 655p 1034p 1551p 2344 344p 413p 68913 965p 2309p typical Strength. psi ksi typical 350p 575p 960p 1625p 120p 170p 375p 550p 11OOp typical 22p 45p 67p 'L' Direction __ 'W' Direction Strength.4(b) Properties of glass-reinforced phenolic honeycomb (bias weave reinforcement)*(metric) ~ _~_ Compressive Stabilized Strength. based on a completely synthetic.--_____ Plate shear . kPa typical 1275p 206813 2930p 3964p 724p 792p 1378p 1896p 1999p Modulus.density __ HFT . Conipressiue ~~~ -.3.0 HFT . ~ Honeycomb designation material .0 HFT/OX .5 HFT .Core materials 269 Table 12.3/16 .1/8 .3/16 .5. Honeycomb is normally not tested for bare compressive strength.0 HFT . Modulus. Modulus.3/16 .4(a) Properties of glass-reinforced phenolic honeycomb (bias weave reinforcement)* -~_____. Table 12.cell . psi typical 185p 300p 425p 575p 105p 115p 200p 275p 290p Modulus.8 HFT .0 HFT-1/8-188.8.131.52 / 8 .4.8.0 HFT . but it possesses a unique ability to survive overloads in local areas without permanent damage.4.0 HFT .3/16 .1 / 8 .1 / 8 . kPa typical 2068p 2688p 3619p 9997p 517p 689p 1896p 2999p 6894p 'L' Direction 'W' Direction Strength.1 / 8 .0 Bare Strength.0 HFT .3/16 .cell .
Little data is yet available on these new cores. Mechanical properties of some of these core materials are shown in Table 12.5p 30.2.As a consequence. carbon fiber honeycomb is now used as the structural core for nacelle assemblies in the Boeing Model 777 transport aircraft. 6. while the other has a requirement for heat transfer through the thickness of the panel.0~ Strength. In addition to this small usage. materid .0 HFT .5. psi ksi typical 96P 150p 240p 340p 55P 90P 150p 335p typical 6. Uses outside the aerospace industry are limited due to the high cost of the material. 36.500 in thickness. as well as in skis. The former type uses only the usual pan based carbon fibers.6. In the past few years. which have a potential corrosion problem when used with aluminum cores.3.8.densitu Bare Strength. The constant pressure for lighter structures in such designs has led to the use of carbon fiber facings.5p 20.1/8 . which duplicate the heat transfer properties of the aluminum core which it replaces. One is for purely structural applications. mi typical ~ Stabilized ~ _ _ ~~ _ 'L' _ Direction 'W' Direction -~ Strength. but it is likely they will see substantial .5~ 9.b u t only rarely employed other fibers. but despite this it has seen some application in boat hulls up to 10. Modulus. Carbon fiber honeycomb Reinforced plastic honeycomb has for many years employed glass fabric reinforcement. p = preliminary properties in typical panels result in low volumes of smoke and gases given off in fire tests. Two types of carbon fiber cores are now being produced.4. ks i typical 16P 25P 34P 43P 15p 20P 25P 13P HFT . in densities of 24-192 kg/m3 (1.6.3/16 . Modulus.0 HFT .3/16 .3. they have grown to a commercial volume nearly as large as that of aluminum.3/16 .0 IIFT/OX .5p 13.1/8.0 HFT . Although neither of these materials is as yet in large volume production.0 HFT .X and % in).5 HFT glass-reinforced phenolic honeycomb (Fibertruss bias weave)* ~~ _ ~ _ Compressive _ _ _ _ _ . Typical applications make use of these properties very effectively.1/8 . however. the economic impact is substantial. while the latter employs pitch based carbon fibers.5 and 10 mm (%.4. for use in aircraft structures.0 250p 460p 850p 1600p 90P 250p 460p l000p * Test data obtained at 0.5 HFT .4~ 9.5-12 lb/ft").3p 6.1/8 .3/16 . This concern for corrosion problems has subsequently led to the adoption of a new class of carbon fiber honeycomb materials for this aircraft and will possibly lead to further use in other future designs. however. racing shells and several other products. both Kevlar and carbon fiber have become much more common as reinforcing fibers for honeycomb.0p 4.0 HFT . psi typical 185p 310p 460p 600p 118p 170p 310p 290p Modulus. since these honeycombs are markedly higher in price than the aluminum or Nomex cores they replace.270 Sandwich construction Table 12. ~~~~ _ ~ ~ _ _ Plate shear _ ~ __- Honeycomb drsignation. Densities higher than 64 kg/m3 (4 lb/ft3) are almost entirely used for aircraft flooring. 5.2 m (40 ft) in length. asi ksi typical 360y 530p 9501) 1750p 140p 320p 530p 1100p typical 21P 45P 65P 95P 17P 32P 45P 67P Strength. Carbon fibers only now are beginning to be used in space vehicles.cell . Aramid core is normally produced in cell sizes of 3.
resulting in little or no bond in some areas.5 mm (%-% in) . DuPont has recently introduced a new honeycomb. most core materials will not alone withstand compressive bonding loads exceeding a few atmospheres and consequently cannot be used with any adhesive system requiring higher pressures.3 FILLET FORMING Adhesives. the adhesive must have a unique combination of surface tension. Kevlar honeycomb. 12. which is entirely composed of fibers derived from Kevlar. as they apply to sandwich structures. such as honeycomb. sometimes several inches. core movement. no large scale replacement of Nomex honeycomb appears likely. be understood by the designer and fabricator in order for the otherwise inevitable problems to be avoided.3-9. Also. resulting in an unusable cured part. such as phenolic. based on one of several fabrics woven from Kevlar yarn. is usually produced in cell sizes of 6. as the gas forces its way through the core to a lower pressure area. core splitting.2 BONDING PRESSURE Adhesives such as the phenolics and some others actually require more than atmospheric pressure in order to prevent excessive porosity. 12. but cannot be used at all in open cores such as honeycomb or large cell foams. give off a vapor as a product of the curing reaction and the presence of these secondary materials can lead to several problems: 0 0 0 0 Kevlar paper honeycomb In addition to Kevlar honeycomb made from woven fabric.4. or 'blisters'. . Because the material is somewhat more expensive than Nomex. subsequent corrosion of core or skins by the chemical action of the vapor or its residual condensate. 12. although many special purpose applications have been developed in both air and space craft. constitute a somewhat different family of materials than those required to bond an open cellular core to a stiff and continuous facing.4.4. The purpose of the Kevlar honeycomb is to allow transmission of radio signals through the panel. Some adhesive types. they remain basic and must In order to achieve a good attachment to an open cell core. with strengths well above both glass and Nomex honeycombs and dielectric properties somewhat superior to Nomex. based on a Nomex-like paper. surface wetting and controlled flow during early stages of cure. Some factors which merit attention are discussed below. Although these differences are less important with some of the newer modified epoxy materials.4 ADHESIVE MATERIALS internal pressure. Controlled flow prevents the adhesive from flowing down the cell wall and leaving a low strength top skin attachment and an overweight bottom skin attachment. 12. Usual densities available range from 16 to 64 kg/m3 (14 Ib/ft3).1 PRODUCTS GIVEN OFF DURING CURE Kevlar honeycomb This honeycomb has been in use for a number of years as a core for space vehicle antenna reflectors. This material is trade named 'Kortex' and is available in the usual range of cell sizes and densities. Certain forms may be suitable for solid cores like balsa. This material has rather surprising mechanical and physical properties.Adhesive materials 271 use and public scrutiny in the next several years. while at the same time the Kevlar facing acts as a partial reflecting antenna for a different wavelength of a different signal.
272 Sandwich construction Loloo m m m OOLo m a m + e m .
2 -. . . 6 u u m .N .Adhesive matevials 273 m o o d N N o m 0 d m N m a - s. .
amount of adhesive used. It is the capability of the adhesive to resist being squeezed out from between faying surfaces when excessive pressure is applied to a local area of the part during cure. dependinn upon: toughness of the adhesive.274 Sandwich construction 12. 12. since tolerance control of details is much more difficult to achieve on contoured than on flat panels and a greater degree of latitude for misfit must usually be allowed. The word 'toughness' has many meanings in the world of adhesives. . It has been found from experience that greater toughness in the bond line usually equates to greater durability and thus to longer service life. In the case of contoured parts. the adhesive must also be a good 'gap-filler ' without appreciable strength penalty. virtue of being easily duplicated. degradation of the adherend surface subsequent to bonding.4. but the most common one used for sandwich structures is the climbing drum peel test (Fig. it refers to the resistance shown by the adhesive to permitting bond line cracks to grow under impact loading. Many adhesives are formulated to achieve good core filleting and are subsequently given controlled flow by adding an open weave cloth or fibrous web. as well as possessing an obvious relationship to the toughness whose value is sought.4 ADAPTABILITY The requirements noted above must all be met while also meeting all the requirements of a skin-to-skin to skin-to-doubler attachment. Values of peel strength will vary considerably. all of them must be properly understood and controlled if the peel test is to be used and its value compared to other test results. Usually.11 Climbing drum peel test for adequacy of skin adhesion. density of the core. 12. This 'scrim cloth' then prevents the faying surfaces from squeezing out all the adhesive.6 TOUGHNESS Fig.11). cell size of the core. Many types of tests have been devised to measure toughness. 12.5 BOND LINE CONTROL This is a need which exists because of misfitting details and is approximately the opposite of adaptability.4.4. it refers to the resistance shown by the adhesive toward loads which act to separate the facings from the core under either static or dynamic conditions. 12. direction of the peel (with or across the ribbon direction). cast within a thicker film of adhesive. The difference in diameter of the cylinders to which the straps are attached and the cylinder to which the skin is attached causes the drum to rotate clockwise when tension is applied by the universal testing machine. This test has the 0 0 Because these variables can lead to widely differing peel strengths for the very same adhesive. In the area of sandwich core-to-facing bonds. which would result in an area of low bond strength. adequacy of the surface preparation. This arrangement allows duplication of test results from one shop to another.
heavy liquids.4.10 URETHANES Urethane based adhesives are used in commercial structures. . areas. In addition to categorizing the available adhesives by chemical type. Some versions are provided as one side of a two-sided tape adhesive. except that it becomes impractical with very thick or very stiff skins. RUBBERS OR EPOXY 12. or syntactic foams Only a few are used as a core-to-facebond. they can be grouped by the form in which they are available. It is particularly useful for this when an environmental exposure involving both elevated temperature and high humidity is interposed between manufacture and test. Some of these materials routinely achieve shear strengths of 34500 kPa (5000psi) and most can be cured over a wide range of temperatures and pressures.Adhesive materials 275 The peel test is used to control quality throughout the sandwich industry. Light liquids. although they are somewhat moisture sensitive. in which the other side is a rubber or vinyl-phenolic. 12. but do not represent either a very large group of materials or a large volume of usage.4. their use as sandwich adhesives has sharply declined in recent years.4"C (40°F) for some two-part systems up to These adhesives were the first to have excellent filleting and controlled flow along with both high strength and high toughness.7 PHENOLICS BLENDED WITH VINYLS. Fortunately for the sandwich user. provided the adhesive weight and core material are in balance. Since the out-gassing cure products usually require venting or perforating the core material and a number of non-outgassing. Curing temperatures vary from as low as 4. 12. 12. epoxy polyamides or epoxy polyimides. me types available. putties. will give indications of tooling or cure problems and of adherend surface preparation problems. pastes. 12. but many such materials are used in sandwich construction to splice pieces of core to each other in order to provide high strength edges. or end ribs. inserts. are as follows.8 EPOXIES MODIFIED WITH NYLON OR OTHER POLYAMIDE POLYMERS These are used in a number of applications ranging up to about 371°C (700°F)service temperature. THERMOPLASTICS AND HIGHLY SPECIALIZED ADHESIVES All of these families of adhesives give off at least some water during cure and are therefore used only where their high strength. It is also adaptable to use with nearly any skin material. Generally these are as follows. high temperature adhesives have become available.9 NITRILE RUBBER MODIFIED EPOXIES These make up a broad group of more recent materials which provide much of the flow and toughness shown by the nylon-epoxies.4.4.11 OTHER POLYIMIDES. They are the most common of the 'toughened' thermosetting adhesives and are usually limited to about 149°C (300°F) service temperature. to provide both excellent peel and durability at the skin side with excellent peel at the core side. It can be readily seen that a number of points of difference separate the sandwich adhesives from other structural adhesives. modified epoxies. durability or high temperature mechanical properties are essential. along with some salient features. Values obtained. or to carry shear loads from fittings. thixotropic liquids. along with the durability and weather resistance of the vinyl-phenolics.4. or surfaces. Both moisture-cured and two-part systems are available. Most of the materials so used are epoxies. many adhesives are available which satisfactorily meet both sets of requirements.
Sometimes other objectives. such as reducing tooling or manufacturing costs. Use the right core. such as getting the loads in. so that it draws back to the cell edge and provides material to form the largest possible fillet without wasting any on the inside facing surface in the middle of the cell. quartz. are also involved. 12. Self-adhesive skins These skins are usually structural fabrics of glass. the weight saved in lower density areas of core is added back in the form of core splice adhesive weight. 12. In many cases. Both of the edge close-out details shown in Fig. each appropriate to the load carried in the area and adhesively bonded to its neighbor. 12. reducing reflected noise. Core splices. contour. The usual objective of a sandwich design is to save weight or to increase stiffness or to use less of an expensive skin material. or spunbonded synthetic fiber are provided either dry or with slight to moderate ’tack’ or stickiness. with the adhesive being melted by hot air after placing on the core. nylon. such as those shown in Fig.Next Page 276 Sandwich construction 216°C (420°F) for some of the materials intended for service at elevated temperatures. have been used to produce ablative matrix structures for large re-entry heat shields. under constraints of deflection.18(b)or (c). getting the loads out and attaching small or large load-carrying members. Reticulating films These are intended for use at very low weights. or polyester fabric. Supported films Films or tapes having a carrier of light glass fiber. or perhaps all three. The cost of a sandwich structure is fundamentally fixed at the design stage and a considerable difference in cost can result from alternate solutions to the design problem. Placing the legs of the channel facing outward instead of inward saves the cost of two relief cuts into the core and the very difficult step of sliding the edge of the core and adhesive into the channel. They are often hard to handle and sometimes have bond line control problems.17. however. graphite.5 DESIGNING A SANDWICH All the above forms of adhesive are in current use at substantial volume and most are available from many sources. . weight and cost.16. cotton. as the weight of the carrier itself becomes quite appreciable in very light sandwich structures. which is then cured so that the fiber-filled resin becomes both the face structure and the attaching material. Several densities of core can be used in a single panel. so that the parts of the assembly stay in place as they are being assembled. achieving aerodynamic smoothness. Understand the fabrication sequence and methods. Unsupported films. Cell-edge adhesive This is a material pre-placed on the cell edge by the honeycomb manufacturer to provide the same results as those produced with reticulating films. pre-impregnated with a resin. The designer’s problems sift down to relatively few.12 perform essentially the same job at the same weight.13-12. or aluminum coated glass fibers. containing only the adhesive The very low weight films are nearly always furnished without a carrier. or increasing durability under exposure to acoustic energy. 12. Another alternative at even lower cost for either fixed or simply supported edges is shown in Figs. 12. as shown in Fig.
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