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Composite Structures 44 (1999) 263-278
flexure and shear properties of a sandwich composite containing defects
A.P. Mouritz a,*, R.S. Thomson b
P. 0. Box 4331, Melbourne, Victoria 3001, Australia Ltd., 506 Lorimer Street, Fishermens Bend, Victoria 3207, Australia
a Department of Defence, DSTO, Aeronautical and Maritime Research Laboratory,
b Cooperative Research Centre for Advanced Composite Structures
The mechanical properties of a sandwich composite containing interfacial cracks or impact damage are compared when loaded in edgewise compression, flexure or shear. The composite is made from glass fibre reinforced polymer (GFRP) laminate skins over a
core of foamed poly vinyl chloride (PVC), and this sandwich material is used in some naval minehunting ships. The properties are reduced with increasing interfacial crack or impact damage length, but only when the defects cause a change in the failure mode, which is dependent on the load state. The principal failure modes under the different load states are compared. The properties are also dependent on the severity of impact damage, with low energy damage to the skin having a smaller effect on stiffness and strength than high energy impacts which damage both the skin and foam core. The implications of these findings on the structural integrity of a minehunting ship made from GFRP/PVC foam sandwich composite is discussed. 0 1999 Elsevier Science Ltd. All rights reserved.
1. Introduction Sandwich composites made from glass fibre reinforced polymer (GFRP) laminate skins over a poly vinyl
chloride (PVC) foam core are steadily gaining popularity as marine construction materials. These composites are used in racing yachts, superstructures for fast passenger ferries, control surfaces for submarines, and in internal ship hull stiffeners [ 1,2]. The growing popularity of sandwich composites is due mainly to their low cost, high specific stiffness, buoyancy, and excellent corrosion resistance compared against traditional marine construction materials such as wood, steel and aluminium alloys. One of the most common uses of sandwich composites is in naval minehunting ships because of their low magnetic signature, good sound and vibration damping properties together with reasonable resistance to damage by underwater explosive blasts caused by seamines. Examples of minehunters made from sandwich composites are the Swedish Landsort class [1,2] and the Australian Bay class vessels. Figure 1 shows HMAS Rushcutter, one of two Bay class minehunters operated by the Royal Australian Navy, in which the superstructure and catamaran hull are made with over 100
*Corresponding author. Tel.: 00 61 396268276; fax: 00 61 396268999; e-mail: firstname.lastname@example.org.
tonnes of sandwich composite consisting of thin GFRP skins over a foam core of closed-cell PVC . One problem with using sandwich composites is that high quality fabrication standards are required, otherwise processing defects may be inadvertently introduced into the minehunter structure. Hall  reviewed the major types of defects that can occur during fabrication of the Bay class minehunters when strict fabrication conditions and quality control inspection procedures are not met. Defects within the fibreglass skin include excessive voiding, foreign inclusions, uncured resin, dry fibres and resin-rich regions. Interfacial defects between the skin and core can also occur, such as porosity and foreign inclusions. Fabrication defects such as these can easily develop into interfacial cracks in the minehunter by shear stresses which are generated by waves slamming against the hull. Fabrication defects and interfacial cracks are usually not easily detected using conventional non-destructive inspection techniques such as ultrasonics or thermography, but they have the potential to seriously degrade the structural integrity of the vessel. Despite this problem, the reduction to the mechanical properties of marine-grade sandwich composites caused by fabrication defects has received little attention. McClave and Goodwin  investigated the effect of defects on the tensile and flexural properties of a variety of composites for maritime craft, including GFRP/
- see front matter 0 1999 Elsevier Science Ltd. All rights reserved. PII:SO263-8223(98)00133-O
respectively. As well as having potential problems with fabrication defects. the influence of other load states such as compression or bending have not been as widely studied.13]. Thomson et al. In almost all cases. This impact-type damage is expected to be more detrimental than fabrication defects because it usually consists of extensive delamination cracking within the GFRP skin. Zenkert  measured a large reduction (-70%) in the shear strength of a GFRP/PVC foam sandwich composite due to a short interfacial crack. they measured reductions in the tensile and flexural strengths of between 5. particularly when the composite is loaded in shear. which is made almost entirely from a GFRP/PVC foam sandwich composite. other ships and the sea-bed.  recently reported large falls in the fatigue life of a GFRP/PVC composite with increasing interfacial crack length when tested under cyclic shear loading. Other studies indicate that greater reductions in strength occur when an interfacial crack develops between the skin and core. Impact damage can seriously degrade compression [12. Triantofillou and Gibson  and Carlsson et al. These studies found. Similarly.264 Fig. While these studies clearly show that long interfacial cracks are detrimental to the shear properties. flexural  and shear strengths . HMAS Rushcutter. 1. However. that the strengths were only reduced when the interfacial crack exceeded a critical length. shear cracking through the core [ 10.111. most studies examining the damage tolerance of sandwich composites focussed on aircraft materials such as carbon fibre reinforced epoxy skins over honeycomb cores made of aluminium or NomexB. cracks or foreign inclusions (dirt) were in the fibreglass skin. debonding of the skin from the core and.6% and ~30% when dry fibres. minehunters can also be damaged in-service by underwater explosions during sea-mine clearance operations and by accidental collisions with wharves. polymer foam sandwich materials. however. [S] report that interfacial cracks can cause significant reductions in the shear strengths of aluminium/PVC foam and GFRP/balsa sandwich composites. under severe impact conditions. Virtually no work has been reported on the . For example.
7 MPa and thickness of 30 mm. 2. Interfacial crack lengths of 20. The hemispherical nose of the tup was 25 mm in diameter. The ASTM method recommends that the unsupported specimen gauge length is less than eight times the thickness. while three compression tests were performed for each interfacial crack length and impact damage length. and as a result a considerable percentage of the absorbed impact energy is expected to dissipate through damage processes. A cold-curing vinyl ester. The load states of edgewise compression. with the polymerisation cure reaction being about 85% complete. and all cracks extended across the entire width of the specimens. Based on these results a gauge length best suited for testing specimens containing an interfacial crack or impact damage can be determined. Furthermore.6 kg/m2. . The foam (DivinylcellB HT-90) was a rigid cross-linked PVC with a density of 90 kg/m3. Because the Young’s modulus of the GFRP skins (Ef = 12 100 MPa) was much greater than for the foam core (EC= 76 MPa). P. 2. The size of the interfacial crack and impact damaged area is increased to assess the effect of defect size for the different load states.1.1.5 mm/min to failure. Because an exact gauge length is not specified by the ASTM. The composite studied is a thick-section GFRP/PVC foam sandwich material that is similar to that used in the Bay class minehunters. Therefore. Sandwich composite beams were impacted with a 1.2. The specimens were loaded in edgewise compression at a cross-head speed of 0. RS Thomson I Composite Structures 44 (1999) 263-278 265 damage tolerance of marine-grade sandwich composites. it is assumed that the axial load is carried by the skins. whereas the damage to minehunters caused by an underwater explosion or collision occurs over a much larger area. Each skin consisted of three CSM plies and two WR plies. 40. shear modulus (GE) of 19. 87 and 116 mm were studied.8 mm thick. During testing the beams were rigidly clamped close to the impact site by two steel platens to minimise bending under impact. 2. flexure and shear are investigated because they are the main load types acting on the minehunter. Interfacial cracks which occur in poorly fabricated sandwich composites were simulated in test specimens by inserting 90 urn thick Teflon film along the skin/core interface during lamination to stop the GFRP skin from bonding to the core. By subjecting the beams to a distributed array of impacts which were spaced 15 mm apart. Differential scanning calorimetry measurements on the vinyl ester revealed that cold-curing under these conditions only partially cured the resin. The resin content of the skin was 45-50% by weight. respectively. the variation in compression strength of the pristine sandwich composite (i. Mouritz. 70. 100 and 150 mm were studied. respectively. The GFRP skins were cold-cured under ambient conditions for at least two weeks before mechanical testing. and when it struck the composite a circular damaged area with a diameter of -20 mm was formed. The CSM and WR were made by Consolidated Industries and Colan Products. The foam was sandwiched between two GFRP skins which were each 2. as shown schematically in Fig. Inspection of the specimens in cross-section using scanning electron microscopy (SEM) showed that the damage formed at the impact sites was interconnected to produce a relatively even distribution of damage. the aim of this paper is to compare the stiffness and strength of a sandwich composite containing an interfacial crack or impact damage when loaded in edgewise compression.6 mm thick. most studies have only investigated the effect of small. Sandwich composite The sandwich composite was made from thin GFRP skins and a thick core of closed-cell PVC foam.3 kg tup dropped from heights of 2 m or 3 m to create low energy (-20 J) or high energy (-30 J) damage.e. ’ The fibreglass in the skins was a mixture of chopped strand mat (CSM) with an area1 density of 0.A. Four compression tests were performed for each gauge length with the pristine composite specimens. which for the sandwich composite means a gauge length less than 285 mm. it was possible to increase the length of the impact damaged zone. the edgewise compressive stress (0) exerted on the sandwich composite can be calculated from the applied load (P) by the expression ’ The skins on the Bay class minehunters are about 8 mm thick while the thickness of the PVC used in the hull is 60 mm. Therefore. Materials and experimental techniques 2. 58. was used as the resin in the GFRP skins.3 kg/m2 and plain woven roving (WR) with a density of 0. Mechanical property testing 2. shear or flexure. Impact damage lengths of 25. The types of impact damage the Bay class minehunter is likely to suffer when involved in a low speed collision or subjected to a underwater explosive blast was simulated by impact testing. without an interfacial crack or impact damage) was measured over a range of gauge lengths between 50 and 225 mm. produced by the Dow Chemical Company as Derakane@ 411-45. localised areas of impact damage on the mechanical properties. and these were laminated by hand onto the core in an alternating ply sequence. Edgewise compression testing The edgewise compression properties of the sandwich composite were measured in accordance with ASTM C364-94 specifications [ 151using specimens that were 75 mm wide and 35.2.
P. [ 171: CT= PL(Q + 03. Bending-Tension -/ 800 mm Fig. the shear stress (r) is assumed to be carried predominantly by the core. The general lay-out of the flexural test is shown in Fig. In addition.z ’ (2) where L is the support span and t. 3.3. this difference is not expected to significantly affect the flexural properties of the sandwich composite. rather than being the recommended minimum width of 72 mm. Illustration of the four-point bend test for measuring (length of 2a) located mid-span between the load points. The maximum flexural stress carried by the surface fibres of the skin for a sandwich composite under l/Cpoint bending is calculated by the expression given in Ref. Flexural testing The flexural properties were measured under fourpoint bending in general accordance with ASTM C39394 . with the beams tested at a cross-head speed of 3 mmlmin in quarter-point loading using load and support spans of 400 and 800 mm. As the skins of the sandwich composite are thin. 4. respectively. L- Bending-Compressionw Tests were performed with the interfacial crack or impact damage . 2. but in this case the interfacial crack or impact damage was positioned midway between one of the load and support points as shown in Fig. flexural properties.266 A. is the core thickness. The specimens with the interfacial crack or impact damage area had the crack/damage positioned mid-span between the load points. Aluminium Tab---. Mouric R. Shear testing The shear properties were also measured using the four-point flexural configuration. specimens were tested with the crack or impact damage near the bottom surface that experienced a “bending-tension” load state. Thomson I Composite Structures 44 (1999) 263-278 Fig. In this position the region of beam containing the crack or impact damage is subject to shear loading. However. and is calculated by P T=2bt.. The only departure from the test specification was that the specimens were 34 mm wide. The specimens were tested so that the interfacial crack or impact damage was near the top surface which experienced bending induced compressive stresses.2. and in this paper is termed the “bending-compression” load state. Illustration showing the distribution of impacts used to extend damage along and across the sandwich composite P a=2btf’ where b is the specimen width and tf is the skin thickness. Three bendingcompression and three bending-tension tests were performed on specimens for each interfacial crack length and impact damage length.2. 2.) 4btft. 3.S.2. 2.
17. Compression specimen size eflects The ASTM method for edgewise compression testing does not specify a specimen gauge length other than it must be less than eight times the beam thickness. which is equivalent to a Q value of 0.1. where &. such as the Bay class minehunter. Three shear tests were performed for each interfacial crack length and impact damage length. Using this value. This type of failure is common for sandwich composite beams that are unstable in compression. and the shear and flexural tests were terminated when the buckling became excessive. Therefore. Properties and failure mechanisms for the composite with an interfacial crack composite was found to be dependent on the load state. (5) Figures 6-9 show stress against cross-head displacement curves for the sandwich composite with and without an interfacial crack when tested in edgewise compression. respectively. Caprino and Teti  report that sandwich composites typically have a surface waviness of about 0.S. Figure 5 shows that the compression strength decreased rapidly with increasing gauge length. with failure occurring by compressive fracture of the GFRP skins for specimens shorter than N 100-120 mm while longer specimens failed by shear crimping of the foam core. which agrees well with the measured value of 150 MPa. The strong dependence of compression strength on gauge length reveals that short specimens do not give an accurate measure of the compression properties expected of much larger sandwich composite structures. despite the use of aluminium tabs at the contact points between the loading rods and specimen. R. bending-compression and bendingtension. In this study a gauge length of 225 mm was chosen as the most suitable for testing composites with interfacial cracks or impact damage.4. : ~wrinkling = QVGWZ. 3. Results and discussion 3. The failure mode of the crack-free where Ef and E.5 mm. testing the defect-free composite in the three other load states using the four-point bend method caused the specimen to fail gradually under one or both upper load points by skin wrinkling. The stress required to cause skin wrinkling is calculated by method described in Ref. are the Young’s moduli of the skin and core. and is difficult to avoid when testing materials with a compliant core using the four-point bend method. the strength and failure mechanism were determined for lengths between 50 and 225 mm. and the stress at which shear crimping occurs can be predicted using 1171 where G. Mouritz. Under edgewise compression the crack-free composite failed by shear crimping of the core (Fig. this indicates that the . 6). shear. to assess whether the compression properties of the minehunter composite are affected by gauge length. (5). In contrast. is the shear modulus of the core. Tests were performed with the interfacial crack or impact damage (length of 2a) located mid-span between one of the load and support points. 4. and Q is a factor based on the initial skin waviness. Because the defectfree sandwich composite did not fail by a shear or bending dominated process. This failure mode involved the localised wrinkling of the skin as it was pressed by the loading rods into the core. Illustration of the four-point bend test for measuring shear properties.. ThomsonI CompositeStructures44 (1999) 263-278 267 I- ammm j Fig. respectively.P.2. This value is in excellent agreement with the measured flexural failure stress of about 105 MPa. Using this equation it is predicted that crimping failure of the sandwich composite will occur at 126 MPa. Skin wrinkling is a common failure mode in defectfree sandwich composites [7.18]. This is because the core crimping failure mechanism is the same as that expected for large sandwich composite ship panels that have low shear rigidity and/or high flexural rigidity. a skin wrinkling failure stress of 118 MPa for the sandwich composite is calculated using Eq. 3. is the distance between the skin mid-planes.A.
7-9 are lower than the true shear and flexural strengths. where the compression strength fell with increasing delamination size due to sub-laminate buckling . Figure 6 shows that under edgewise compression a reduction in stiffness occurred at 50 MPa because of the sudden outward buckling of the skin covering the crack. Variation in edgewise compression strength with specimen gauge length. It appears.S. It has been shown that the compression stress needed to cause this buckling in monolithic laminates can be predicted using the Euler equation for elastic instability of a long slender beam. P. This trend has been observed in a variety of monolithic composites. 2a is the interfacial crack length. The scatter bars show the standard strength measurements. 8 and 9 may be similar in value to the true flexural strength of the sandwich composite. the buckling stress is over-predicted by the . For short interfacial crack lengths. therefore. that when Lingard  tested a variety of GFRP/PVC foam sandwich composites under four-point bending it was found that the failure load needed to cause skin wrinkling under the load points was about of the same order as the load needed to cause true bending failure. which for a beam with clamped ends equals 4. The vertical line shows the gauge length mechanism changes from compressive fracture of the skins to shear crimping of the core. R. The stress-displacement curve was affected by an interfacial crack only when the sandwich composite was loaded in edgewise compression or shear but not in bending. 5. Z is the second moment of area and A is the cross-section area of the beam.268 A. however. which was observed to consist of skin wrinkling and core compression failure at the mid-span between the load points. This skin buckling stress was found to decrease as the interfacial crack length increased. (6) for the sandwich composite is compared against the measured stresses in Fig. 10. Mouritz. The theoretical skin buckling stress determined using Eq. as shown in Fig. E is the elastic modulus.1 and 105 MPa shown in Figs. that the failure strengths shown in Figs. at which the failure deviation from four respective shear and flexural strength values of 1. It is worth noting. Thomson I Composite Srructures 44 11999) 263-278 225 Core Crimping F‘hilure \ 125 0 50 100 150 200 250 Gauge Length (mm) Fig. which in its simplest form is given by where C is the coefficient of constraint. 10.
Triantofillou and Gibson  and Thomson et al. Mouritz. and upon further loading grew into the foam until it reached the opposing skin. Figure 7 shows that in shear loading the composite containing the interfacial crack failed at a lower load than the defect-free specimen. 6.5 1.  have shown that the load needed to cause the onset of shear cracking can be predicted with good accuracy using analytical or finite element models based on Mode II fracture mechanics theory applied to a layered anisotropic material._ ? 8 s 25 75 100 Crack Flee - 50 40 mm Interfacial Crack / 0 0.P. at which point the composite suddenly failed. Edgewise compression stress against cross-head displacement curves for the composite without a crack and with a 40 mm long interfacial crack.0 2.5 Cross-head Displacement (mm) Fig. 7. slender beam is violated. Thomson I Composite Structures 44 (1999) 263-278 269 150 t 125 3 P .0 q c 0.0 1.0 3. While the agreement improves for longer interfacial crack lengths. .S. equation as the assumption of a long.8 ! z SO mm Interfacial Crack Shar CorePaEwe 10 20 Displacement (mm) 30 40 Fig.0 0. 1. !! 3j g . Shear stress against cross-head displacement curves and photographs of the failure mechanism for the composite without a crack and with a 90 mm long interfacial crack. R. Zenkert . In this case a shear crack initiated near the interfacial crack tip. the difference that exist is probably due to the assumed isotropic properties of the skin and the nature of the support provided by the foam core.5 Sk/n Buckhg klhmm 3. The photographs show the failure mechanisms of the composite while under load.A. Zenkert  also observed this type of shear failure in polymer foam sandwich composites containing interfacial cracks.5 2.
S. crack. Bending-tension stress against cross-head displacement curves for the composite without a crack and with a 100 mm long interfacial The photograph shows the failure mechanism of localised skin wrinkling beneath the load point. The effect of interfacial crack length on the normalised strengths in the different load states are compared in Fig. as shown in Figs. 8 and 9. the skin over the interfacial crack usually buckled upwards away from the core by a similar skin buckling process to that observed in edgewise compression. . that soon after skin wrinkling had occurred in bending-compression. Mowit. however they had a significant affect on the strength when tested in edgewise compression or shear. The strength of the composite containing the interfacial crack has been normalised against the Skin Whklhg Failure 0 0 10 20 Displacement 30 (mm) 40 50 Fig. The upper photograph stress against cross-head displacement curves for the composite without a crack and with a 100 mm long interfacial shows the failure mechanism of localised skin wrinkling beneath the load point.270 A. Interfacial cracks did not affect the stressdisplacement curve when the composite was loaded in bendingcompression or bending-tension. 11. It is worth noting. 9. The interfacial cracks did not alter the stiffness of the composite.. 8. In both load states failure occurred under the load points by the same skin wrinkling process which caused the crack-free composite to fail. however. R. P. Thomson I Composite Structures 44 i 1999J 263-278 120 Crack-free ! 9 I 100 mm Interfacial Crack I ov 0 1 I I I 10 20 30 40 50 Displacement (mm) Fig. Bending-compression crack.
Properties and failure mechanisms of the impact damaged composite Optical microscopy and scanning electron microscopy (SEM) were used to observe the main types of damage suffered by the sandwich composite from impact loading. interfacial cracks were only observed in those localised regions where the skin was broken. with tears occurring directly beneath the rupture sites in the skin and many of the foam cells were partially or completely crushed. Despite the severe damage to the skin and core. The underlying foam showed a small amount of compaction. Mouritz.P. as shown in Fig. At this point the failure mechanism changed suddenly from core crimping to skin buckling under edgewise compression and from skin wrinkling to core cracking under shear. SEM examination revealed that the damage consisted of delamination cracking between the fibreglass plies and shear cracks through the resin matrix of the skin.3. Effect of interfacial crack length on the normalised strength for the four load states. This crushing resulted in the compaction of the foam.6 b I! z 0. R.A. 12. strength of the crack-free composite so the different load states can be compared directly. There was no evidence of broken fibres or interfacial cracks between the skin and core despite the widespread delamination cracking within the skin. but in some locations the skin was completely broken. In comparison.4 P 0. 11. 13. Both the edgewise compression and shear strengths fell rapidly when the interfacial crack exceeded a length of -30 mm. Damage produced by the low energy impacts was confined mostly to the impacted GFRP skin. but this was considered negligible. The high energy impacts caused more severe damage. 12. The damage to the impacted skin consisted of delaminations and resin cracks similar to those shown in Fig.2 A I Ccmpressive Bending I I I I I 40 60 lnterhcial 80 100 120 140 160 0.S. The depth of this depression crater increased towards the centre of the impact damaged zone where the depth reached about 2 mm. Nemes and Simmons [l l] examined the low-velocity impact response of foam core sandwich composites using a combination of computational and experimental . 3.8 f SJ 0. which caused a shallow depression to form across the impacted surface.0 J 0 50 Crack Length (mm) loo 150 200 250 Interfacial Crack LengUt (mm) Fig. the failure strength was unaffected by an interfacial crack in the composite loaded in bending-compression or bending-tension because the failure mechanism of local skin wrinkling remained unchanged. as shown in Fig. 10. The foam below the impacted skin was also damaged. Comparison of measured and predicted skin buckling stresses for the sandwich composite containing an interfacial crack loaded in edgewise compression. which promoted good mechanical bonding to the skin. Thomson I Composite Structures 44 (1999) 263-278 211 A 4 80 0. The good impact damage tolerance of the interface was probably caused by the reasonably high surface roughness of the foam. Fig.
This damage was similar to that produced by the high energy impacts. I’. in cases when a large explosion was used by Hall to produce a high pressure underwater shock wave the core failed by shear cracking. Fig. The damage consisted of shear cracks through the techniques. S. interfacial cracks and shear cracks through the core were not produced because the impact energy was too low. It is worth noting that Hall [lo] found in the underwater explosion blast testing of large sandwich panels made from the Bay class minehunter composite that damage usually consisted of skin fracture and core crushing. Mouritz. 12. The impacted GFRP skin was broken and the underlying foam . This type of failure was not generated by the impact test where the core failed by tearing. From this comparison of impact and underwater shock damage it appears that impact testing reproduced medium level blast damage with good accuracy.272 A. damage to the GFRP skin. However. and concluded that high shear forces generated under impact are responsible for most of the damage. 13. Scanning resin-rich regions electron micrograph showing low energy impact and delaminations between the fibreglass plies. R. A sandwich composite core was torn and compressed. While dynamic shear forces were generated in the GFRP/PVC foam sandwich composite studied here because the specimens were rigidly clamped close to the impact site. but could not generate high level shock damage. in cross-section showing high energy impact damage. Thomson I Compositc~ Structures 44 (1999) 263-278 200 pm Fig. which can include interfacial cracks and core shear cracks.
Figures 19 and 20 compare the effect of impact damage length on the normalised stiffness and strength of the sandwich composite when tested in the different load states. which ultimately caused the plies to fold and buckle at the peak load. The strength was reduced about 10% by low energy impact damage and about 50% by high energy damage. when the composite failed in shear by skin buckling the degradation to the properties was not as severe and when 140 - 8 tll f s ‘! a 120 - loo Cora Sham &ln@ng 80 - 60 - 40 - 1. 18. This buckling was characterised by the separation of delaminated plies in the damaged skin under shear. when tested in bendingtension the properties were largely unaffected by the impact damage. Figure 14 shows that when the impacted composite was tested in edgewise compression it suffered large reductions in stiffness and strength.A.S. The curves shown for the damaged composite were measured after impact loading over a length of 116 mm at low and high energies. R. 14. The properties decreased rapidly with increasing impact damage length and impact energy except when the composite was tested in bending-tension. Edgewise compression stress against cross-head displacement curves for the undamaged composite and with impact damage over a length of 116 mm. As reported earlier. The stress-displacement curve and failure mechanism of the sandwich composite in shear was also affected by impact (Fig. The photographs show the failure mechanisms of the composite while under load. 16). When the impacted sandwich composite was tested in bending-compression it suffered substantial reductions in strength and stiffness due to failure occurring by wrinkling of the damaged skin over the entire impacted area (Fig. This mode of failure occurred mostly in specimens with a skin that had ruptured or suffered extensive fibre damage as a result of the impact. . The stiffness and strength values of the impacted composite were normalised against the properties of the undamaged composite tested in the same load state.0 1.0 2. Thomson I Composite Structures 44 (1999) 263-278 213 A comparison of the stress against cross-head displacement curve for the undamaged sandwich composite against curves for the impact damaged composite are presented in Figs. The skin wrinkling caused by the high energy impacts was always centred where the skin had suffered most damage and the underlying foam was torn. although the composite failed suddenly by tensile rupture of the damaged skin (Fig.5 Cross-Head Displacmmt (mm) Fig. however none of the impacted specimens failed in this way. which is the region of lowest compressive stiffness. In these load states failure occurred by skin wrinkling. This reveals that despite extensive and severe damage to the skin on the tensile side of the flexural specimen. In a few cases the impact damaged composite failed instead by compressive fracture of the skin. as shown in Fig. 15). 17). the undamaged composite failed in edgewise compression by shear crimping of the foam core. The impact damage also caused a complete change in the failure mechanism: the undamaged composite failed gradually by skin wrinkling under the load points whereas the dominant failure mode for the impacted specimens was skin buckling. the beam is still able to support significant bending stresses. The greatest reductions in strength were experienced when the composite was loaded in edgewise compression or bending-compression.5 2. In comparison. Mouritz.P. In comparison. particularly when damaged by high energy impacts. Instead failure occurred by skin wrinkling because the damaged skin collapsed into the foam due to the depression crater formed by the compaction and crushing of the foam under impact. indicating that this failure mode is extremely detrimental to the strength of damaged sandwich composites. 14-17 for each of the four load states.
including skin and core thickness. Further discussion The mechanical properties of the sandwich composite used on the Bay class minehunter appear to be highly sensitive to interfacial cracks (which can result from poor quality fabrication) and impact damage (from an accidental collision or underwater explosive blast). occurred by rupture the 4. Table 1 summarises the dominant failure mechanisms. It is expected that the failure mode will also be determined by other parameters which were not studied in this paper. and it is apparent that the failure process is complicated because it is controlled by the type and size of the defect as well as by the load state.0 10 20 30 40 Cross-head Displacement Fig. Bending-compression stress against cross-head and with impact damage over a length of 116 mm. P.274 A. R.c a 8 3 P j v) 0.4 0.6 Low Impact Energy High Impact Energy 0. Shear stress against cross-head displacement impact damage over a length of 116 mm.8 I - 0. Mowit:. skin and core modulus. 15. curves and photographs (mm) mechanism for the undamaged composite and with of the failure failure in bending-tension properties were unchanged. and core LowEnergyhnpact High Energy Impact 10 20 30 40 Cross-head Dlspiacemsnt (mm) Fig. 16.2 SldnBudding Failure 0. skin and core strength. displacement curves and photographs of the failure mechanism for the undamaged composite . but only when the load state causes a change in the failure mechanism. Thomson I Composite Structures 44 (1999) 263-278 I1.S.
density. Predicting the properties of an impacted sandwich composite is more difficult because of the complex types and distribution of damage. Mouritz. and Thomson et al. Zenkert  and Triantofillou and Gibson  proposed models for predicting the shear failure load. Some success has been made in modelling the compression and shear strengths of sandwich composites with an interfacial crack. R.  recently tested these models against the minehunter composite and found good accuracy (within 25%) when the interfacial T crack was long.S. however further refinement is still required to improve the accuracy. This complex interaction of material. Bending-tension stress against cross-head displacement curves and photographs of the failure mechanism for the undamaged composite and with impact damage over a length of 116 mm. 17. particularly under high energy impacts where damage to the core becomes an important factor. However the model by Triantofillou and Gibson became increasingly less accurate with shorter crack lengths. impact damage. in particular. A model for estimating the residual edgewise compression strength of the impact damaged composite has recently been proposed by Thomson and Mouritz .P. . Thomson I Composite Structures 44 (1999) 263-278 215 Shinolmphg Ftilun impact Damaged 10 20 Cross-head Dispkcem~t 30 (mm) I 40 Fig. structural geometry and damage parameters makes it difficult to develop models which accurately determine the properties of a sandwich composite containing an interfacial crack and. For example.A.
0 0 I I I I I I 20 40 60 a0 100 120 0.8 0.2 A 0. Fig. R.2 . I 0 0 Lcw 6 High Energy Damage In Edgewise CompressIon Low& Huh Ensrgy Damsgs in Shear I I I I I 0.8 l Lcw & Hgh Energy Damage in BendhgCompnsrion Lw a Hgh Energy Damage in Bending-Tension 1 8 L 0. Eflect of impact damage length on normalised strength when loaded in (a) edgewise compression and shear and (b) bending-compression and bending-tension.c )0 20 40 60 Damage 00 Length 100 (mm) 120 impact Dmagr Lenglh (mm) (b) Impact Fig.e I - a g to f L 0..6 B 0.276 A.4 1 P o. l 0 0 LIXV L Hgh Energy Da-e in Edgewise Conpmssion Low& H&h Energy Dmnap in Shear . 20.0 0 u 20 40 Impact 60 Damage 00 Length 100 (mm) 120 20 40 60 80 100 120 (a) Impact Damage Length (mm) 64 I.2 E A A 0 4 Low B High Energy Damage in BendingCompnssIon Low a High Ensrgy Dsmmgs in Bending-lenelon 0.S.E 0.6 E & 0.( A A A A A \ 1.a 0. 19.0 A A A 0 0. Mow-it.6 e! tj 1 i z 0. Thomson I Composite Structurrs 44 (1999) 263-278 1. Effect of impact damage length on normalised stiffness when loaded in (a) edgewise compression and shear and (b) bending-compression and bending-tension.P.4 9 0. .4 0.
15:26676. Further testing on large structural components representative of the minehunter should be conducted to verify the results. Non-Destructive Testing . In contrast. Mouritz and Thomson [20.Australia 1986. the compression strength of the impact damaged composite was not reduced until the damage covered more than -20% of the panel width. for example. The stiffness and strength of the sandwich composite decrease with increasing impact energy and impact damage area except when the composite is loaded in bending-tension. A review of the design and materials evaluation programme for the GRP/foam sandwich composite hull of the RAN minehunter. BL. the strength (but not the stiffness) decrease rapidly with increasing crack length above 30 mm. Thomson I Composite Structures 44 (1999) 263-278 Table 1 Summary of failure modes Load state Edgewise compression Shear Bending-compression Bending-tension Interfacial crack Skin buckling* Core shear cracking * No effect No effect Low energy impact Skin wrinkling Skin buckling/skin compressive fracture Skin wrinkling Tensile rupture High energy impact Skin wrinkling Skin buckling/skin compressive fracture Skin wrinkling Tensile rupture 211 * Only when the crack exceeds a critical length (e. 20-30 mm). The compression strength decreases rapidly with increasing gauge length. 121Karlsson KF. [31 Hall DJ. causes and effect of defects in GFRP used for marine defence applications. It was found that determining the edgewise compression properties of a large sandwich structure (such as a minehunting ship) using small specimens is difficult because the strength and failure mechanism are dependent on the gauge length. with an overall length of 3 1. size effects become an important factor when scaling-up the results from small coupon tests to a much larger structure such as a minehunter. Manufacturing and applications of structural sandwich components. the properties are not affected under flexural loading because the failure mechanism remains unchanged. and the failure 111Smith CS. As a result. Mouritz. Any defects within the minehunter caused by poor fabrication or in-service damage are likely to be isolated. [41 Hall D. R.O m and maximum beam of 9.21] have shown. Design of marine structures in composite materials. Robson .g. The results indicate that the structural integrity of a minehunter containing cracks or impact damage will be determined to a large extent on the load state. 1990. As a result. Edgewise compression loading causes the failure mechanism to change from core shear crimping to skin buckling while shear loading changes the mechanism from localised skin buckling to core shear cracking. Conclusions This study has investigated the edgewise compression. The minehunter is a large composite structure. 1984. Another important consideration when using the results and observations from this study to understand the damage tolerance of the minehunter is that the tests were performed on small coupons in which the interfacial cracks and impact damage extended across the entire specimen width. As a result the damage tolerance of the minehunter will be greater than that suggested by the small coupon tests.28A:97-111. References 5. In conclusion. mechanism changes suddenly from compressive fracture of the skins to shear crimping of the core when the specimen length reaches -100 mm. that the edgewise compression strength of the minehunter composite was not degraded by an interfacial crack unless it extended more than 70% across the panel. using these results and observations from small coupon tests to determine the damage tolerance of a minehunter is difficult because the vessels are exposed to a complex mixture of structural and wave slamming loads and also because most defects will be isolated within a large superstructure or hull panel. Comp. which occurs in edgewise compression and bending-compression.23(2):347. London: Elsevier Applied Science. As a result. Because of this sensitivity. The properties are most severely degraded when the depression in the impacted surface causes the composite to fail by skin wrinkling. Similarly. however. it is expected that a very large interfacial crack or impact damage area would be required to significantly degrade the structural integrity. it is difficult to translate the results from single load states to multiple load conditions. and therefore edge effects may not be important. Astrom BT.0 m. In normal sea states.A. Comp 1997.S. flexure and shear properties of small GFRP/PVC foam sandwich composite specimens to gain an insight into the damage tolerance of a large minehunter ship. Types. Interfacial cracks only affect the strength of the sandwich composite when they cause a change in the failure mechanism. P. minehunter hulls are subjected to a complicated mixture of flexural and shear fatigue loads due to waves slamming against the ship combined with static compression and shear loads exerted under the weight of the superstructure.
In: Recent Advances in Structural Mechanics. Fuller LB. 1989. vol 15. Jonas PJ. Low-velocity impact response of foam-core sandwich composites. PA.S. Annual Book of ASTM Standards. and Res. 1994:53363. American Society for Mechanical Engineers. Mourit:. 1991. [lo] Hall DJ. J. Goodwin MJ. [S] Carlsson LA.ll: 101-20. Abbott R. [ll] Nemes JA. Effect of impact face [I41 Auerkari P. Compressive strength of composite sandwich panels after impact damage: an experimental and analytical study. Sendlein LS. 1991:17:331--50. 1992. 1996:21 4. Debonding in foam-core sandwich panels. Thomson RS. Thomson I Composite Structures 44 (1999) 263-278  McClave EF. Annual Book of ASTM Standards. test method for edgewise compressive strength of [I51 Standard sandwich constructions.. IO-12 February 1999. PA. vol. ASME. Shear properties of a containing defects. Struct. 295. Mat. Development of a test program to evaluate structural defects in glass-reinforced plastic (GRP). Comp. [191 Cable CW. P. Struct. American Society for Testing and Materials. New York. of Shipshape 2000.22:64-9. CG-D-02A-93. 1. Teti R.  Thomson RS. Strength of sandwich beams with interface debondings. 1996: 13 4. PVP.278 A. Pankakoski damage on the strength of sandwich composites. 1992.26:50019. The effect of defects in glass-reinforced Marine Tech. and Struct.10:65573.  Triantofillou TC. and Mat. Shah Khan Z. Examination of the effects of underwater blasts on sandwich composite structures. Canberra. 8-9 Nov 1993:653-70. Proc. WI Thomson RS. Mat. Tenth International Maritime and Shipping Symposium. R. PH. Sandwich Structures Padua. Merry SL. J. Optimising foam sandwich composites for ship [181 Lingard superstructure applications.03. vol. Kauppinen P. Compressive properties of a sandwich composite containing fabrication defects or impact damage. Gibson LJ. Sandwich J. Comp. [I71 Caprino G. The Second Australasian Congress on Applied Mechanics (ACAM 99). American Society for Testing and Materials. 1989. Mat.  Kassapoglou C. plastic (GRP). Impact and Dynamic Fracture of Polymers and Composites. 1995:423-3 I. London: Mechanical Engineering Publications.25:101~16. submitted.  Kwon YW. ESIS 19. (Ed). Pavan A. Comp. 1988.42:107718.  Zenkert D. vol. 1989. Handbook. 15. Simmonds KE. Mouritz AP. sandwich composite 1998. Comp. JR. 1991. J. 1211 Mouritr AP. United States Coast Guard Report No. in press. . Characterization of face sheet/core shear fracture of composite sandwich beams.28:91l8. In: Williams JG. Comp. Tech. I1 Prato. Mouritz AP. Struct. Struct.03. test method for flexural properties of sandwich 1161 Standard constructions. Skin wrinkling of impact damaged sandwich composite. Compressive failure of unbalanced sandwich composites after impact loading. Comp.
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