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Wrinkling of Composite Sandwich Structures

Under Compression

Article in Journal of Composites Technology and Research · January 1995

DOI: 10.1520/CTR10451J


26 83

5 authors, including:

Christos Kassapoglou Jack Chou

Delft University of Technology China Medical University (ROC)


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Christos Kassapoglou,^ Steven C. Fantle,^ and Jack C. Chou^

rinkling of Composite Sandwich Structures Under


R E F E R E N C E : Kassapoglou, C, Fantle, S. C, and Chou, J. C, More specifically, H o f f and Mautner [7] used an energy method
"Wrinkling of Composite Sandwicli Structures Under Compres- and a sinusoidal wave to model the out-of-plane deflections of the
sion," Journal of Composites Teciinology & Research, JCTRER, Vol. sandwich facesheets. Comparison with test results was not very
17, No. 4, October 1995, pp. 308-316.
favorable because some of the material properties were not accu-
rately known. In his treatment, Yussuff [2] modeled the facesheet
A B S T R A C T : The phenomenon of wrinkling as a failure mode of
sandwich composite structures under compression is examined using as a beam with initial waviness on an elastic foundation. Due to
analysis verified by testing. Two cases are considered. In the first case, similar lack of accurate data on material properties, he fitted the
the facesheets are assumed flat and the wrinkling compression load is experimental data with his analytical predictions. Gutierrez and
determined as a buckling load along with the associated short wave- Webber [3] were among the first to attempt to realistically model
length. This solution is then compared to finite element predictions
and is shown to be in very good agreement. In the second case, the the facesheet/core interface. In an earlier work, Webber et al. [5]
facesheets are assumed to have a wavy shape of known amplitude included the membrane-bending coupling effects of the facesheets.
and wavelength. The various failure modes possible (core tension, Finally, the treatment in Ref 4 is based on a series of publications.
compression or shear, adhesive tension or shear, and facesheet bending) It is perhaps one of the most detailed treatments of the problem.
are modeled in an effort to predict failure. Test specimens were fabri-
In an experimental investigation conducted by Llorente [6], a
cated and the waviness of the facesheets was measured. The specimens
were then tested in compression. Reasonable agreement was found compression specimen was used to produce face wrinkling in
with theoretical predictions. sandwiches of toughened thermoset faces and Nomex core. Bonded
loading tabs and locally dense aluminum core were used to prevent
K E Y W O R D S : sandwich structure, wrinkling, waviness, compression the sandwich from crushing when installed in the hydraulic grips
failure, local buckling, short wavelength buckling for testing. This is by no means an exhaustive account o f previous
work. It only aims to highlight some of the main thrusts of the
Composite sandwich structures have been used widely in aircraft work in the subject.
industry because of their increased stiffness and reduced weight. The present investigation builds upon previous work, in particu-
Early on in their application, it was realized that one o f the most lar that o f H o f f and Mautner [1] and Yussuff [2], but attempts to
common failure modes under compression involved a short wave- go beyond a simple model of the waviness effect and examines
length stability type of failure. This local buckling was termed various failure modes that may arise in a wavy, facesheet under
wrinkling and many investigators developed approaches for the compression. These failure modes are particular to the constituents
quantification of this effect. of the structure: (1) core (compression, tension, or shear failure);
In the first analyses, facesheets were assumed perfectly flat and (2) adhesive (tension or shear); and (3) facesheet (local bending).
wrinkling was treated as a bifurcation problem where no out-of- The analytical expressions derived are verified against finite
plane deflections were allowed until some compressive load was element predictions (for facesheets without waviness) and test
reached where the facesheets would locally buckle in a symmetric results (for facesheets with waviness). A simple test specimen was
or antisymmetric mode. Such solutions can be found in Refs 1 designed to isolate the wrinkling failure mode and was shown to
through 5. I t was realized, however, that due to imperfections perform very well.
inherent in the fabrication process, such as core machining, or
cocuring the facesheets, or both, the fabricated structures exhibited
a small amplitude waviness [l-4\ that led to failures at loads Analytical Model
significantly lower than those predicted f r o m an analysis assuming
The analysis focuses on modeling the symmetric wrinlding
perfectly flat facesheets.
shown in Fig. 1. It is assumed that, before loading, each facesheet
While no accurate measurements of the waviness were provided, has a sinusoidal shape with amplitude A,, and half-wave length /.
certain investigators (notably Ref 4) recommended certain wavi- This shape is given by
ness ratios (ratio of waviness amplitude to facesheet thickness)
that, combined with a waviness analysis, seemed to give reasonable
agreement with the test results. = Ao sin (1)
'Stress analysts, Pratt and Whitney, West Palm Beach, FL.
^Stress analyst, Boeing Commercial Airplane Company, Seattle, WA. During loading, some portion o f the core w i l l deform. For thici<
© 1995 by the American Society for Testing and Materials

•ll v . = 77 sm — (7)

! where the deformed shape is proportional to the undeformed wavy

shape, but scaled by a mutiplier 1/M Substituting in the governing
Eq 6 and solving for M, the following expression is obtained

G,vv , E, /2
M=\ - PmlP Pm = + (8)

where P is the applied load and the numerator P,„ in Eq 8 is the

buckling (wrinkling) load for a facesheet without initial waviness.
This can be seen when Ao = 0. Equation 7 suggests there is no
out-of-plane deflection unless M is zero in which case the ratio
AJM becomes indeterminate and out-of-plane deflections are pos-
sible. Equation 8 indicates that M is nonzero for any load P until
P = P,„. Therefore, the first load at which out-of-plane solutions
are admissible is P,„.
In the case of no waviness, the wrinkling load is given by P„,
in Eq 8. The wavelength / and the core deformation extent w are
determined by minimizing P„, with respect to / and w, to achieve
< • I the lowest energy configuration. Performing the calculations, the
expressions for w, I, and P„, are derived
FIG. 1—Wrinkling mode deformation (symmetric).

w = 0.91 t (9a)

jres (relative to the facesheet thickness), only a portion of the

3re deforms, while the rest remains unchanged. Denoting by vv
le portion of the core undergoing deformation, the deflection of L = 1.65 f. {%)
ly point i n the core or the facesheet is modeled as ErG,

P,„ = 0.91 tf(E,G,E;y (9c)

v = ^v(x) (2)
It should be noted that i f vv given by Eq 9a is larger than half the
The energy stored in core extention and shear can be found to be core thickness tJ2, w must be set equal to tJ2. Then, minimization
with respect to / only gives the expressions
w / dv
dx (3)
2 w 2 3 \dx vv = fc/2 (10a)

The energy stored in bending the facesheet is Er. \"

= I.42-fr^fJ m )
'here I f , Ef are the facesheet moment of inertia per unit width and ll — tf] + 0.167 Gj,
lodulus. The work done by the applied load is given by
It is common in practice to use Eq 9c (or 10c) for design with
a knock-down factor that represents the fact that the facesheets
dx (5) have a certain waviness, the value of which is unknown. In fact,
dx] \ dx
Eq 9c is used so widely that, with appropriate knockdown factors,
environmental conditioning and low-speed impact damage are also
Combining all energy contributions and setting the first variation
accounted for. However, such an approach, while simple in design,
f the resulting expression equal to zero, the governing differential gives no insight as to the performance and interaction of the various
quation for v is obtained constituents, and limits the possibilities of improving the design
to using materials or lay-ups with higher stiffnessess. This approach
G,w\ d^v E, _ P d'Vp
is not very efficient, since it does not account for the strength of
3X-* eA 3 'Eflf dx^ the constituents.
Further insight in the sandwich performance can be gained by
With reference to Eq 1, solutions to Eq 6 are sought in the form using Eq 8 and modeling the failure modes of the three constituents:

core, adhesive, and facesheets. With reference to Fig. 2, the possible

Maximum Core Compression Stress = Ec
failure modes and locations are summarized in Table 1. The loca-
tions indicate where the loads corresponding to the failure modes
are maximized. A t this point, interaction between failure modes
is not taken into account. Knowing the deformed shape as a func-
tion of the applied load (Eq 8) the corresponding strains or stresses Maximum Core Tension Stress = E,
can be estimated at the various critical locations and compared to
corresponding failure stresses or strains.
Using Eq 7 to substitute in Eq 2, the deflections in the sandwich
can be written as where Ec and E, are the core flatwise (stabilized) compression and
tension moduli. A t failure, the left-hand side of these equations will
equal the failure compressionCT^or tension cr, flatwise (stabilized)
. TTX y stress. Substituting for these stresses in the above equations and
sm — (11)
Pn / w solving for the applied load, the following expressions ai-e obtained
- 1
p for the applied load (force per unit width) required to cause core
compression or tension failure

with P,„ given by Eq 8.

The strains in the sandwich can be determined by taking appro- (12)
priate derivatives o f Eq 11 with respect to the out-of-plane coordi-
nate y or the in-plane coordinate x. These strains can then be
compared to failure strains for the corresponding constituents at
the critical locations o f Table 1. Thus, the applied load P required
to cause failure o f that constituent can be determined. Or, for Pfail - (13)
constituents such as the core, for which failure stresses are usually
available instead of strains, the strains can be multiplied by the VV CT,

corresponding stiffness values to transform them to stresses. I n

the specific case o f the facesheet, the facesheet curvature is used Similarly, the core shear stress at Location C can be determined
to predict failure. by differentiating Eq 11 with respect to x and multiplying by the
core shear modulus G^. Then, solving for the applied load required
to cause shear failure.

Core Failure
Pfnil ~ (14)
Differentiating Eq 11 with respect to y and multiplying by the
core compression or tension modulus, the maximum compression 1 -I-
and tension stresses in the core are determined (Locations A and
B in Fig. 2)
These expressions assume a constitutive law for the core in the
form of

This is a valid assumption since the in-plane stiffnesses for most
types of core are negligible.

Adhesive Failure

The maximum shear strain in the adhesive is estimated as equal

FIG. 2—Facesheet with waviness under load.
to the maximum shear strain in the core at the interface between
the facesheet and the core. Differentiating Eq 11 with respect to
X, setting the trigonometric term equal to 1 (maximum shear strain
TABLE 1—Failure modes and locations in wavy corresponding to Location C in Fig. 2) and solving for the applied
facesheet under compression. load that would result in adhesive strains equal to the adhesive
Mode Location (Fig. 2) failure strains gives

Core compression A
Core tension B P rail — (15)
Core shear C
Adhesive shear C
Adhesive tension B
Facesheet bending B or A
where 7„ is the ultimate shear strain for the adhesive. In a similar

anner, the applied load that results in adhesive normal stresses Because of the dependence on all these parameters, no single
[ual to the adhesive peel failure stresses is given by values of waviness amplitude and wavelength can be used. They
will vary with manufacturer and tooling used. Some average values
that tend to fit the data well can be used, as is recommended in
Pm = , (16) Ref 4. In addition, measurement of these parameters is complicated,
as will be shown.

here is the adhesive tension modulus and F,a is the adhesive Verification
nsion failure stress. Equations 15 and 16 should be regarded Analytical Model
approximate, since the adhesive is modeled with infinitesimal
ickness and as linearly elastic. The assumption of linear stress- To verify the model in the case of no waviness, a detailed
rain adhesive behavior is probably valid for the normal stress finite element model was constructed using MSC/NASTRAN. The
nee adhesives constrained between adherends exhibit plasticity model consisted of a 5.08- by 5.08-cm squared facesheet on 1.905-
cm core. The facesheet thickness was 0.0762 cm and was made
shear at loads significantly lower than the tension yield stress.
of four plain weave fabric plies with lay-up [ 0 / ± 4 5 / + 4 5 / 0 ] and
more elaborate analysis would be necessary to account for
material properties given in Table 2. The facesheet was modeled
Ihesive thickness effects, the local adhesive cusps at the core
with four-noded quadrilateral elements. The facesheet thickness
11 locations, and adhesive plasticity. The simplifications in the
consisted of one element with equivalent bending stiffness given
irrent model are not serious drawbacks since for most types of
by classical laminated-plate theory. The core was modeled with
ndwich structures, the adhesive does not fail, or, when it does,
eight noded solid elements with negligible in-plane stiffnesses
)es so in tension.
compared to the out-of-plane moduli. The model was loaded in
icesheet Failure To accurately pick up the modal shape in the loading direction,
a fine mesh was used with 50 equal sized elements (element
By assuming that the facesheet undergoes cylindrical bending
dimension 0.1016 cm). Perpendicular to the load, a coarse mesh
the applied Toad increases, the minimum curvature (and thus
with only four elements was used (element dimension 1.27 cm).
aximum bending stress) in the facesheet can be calculated by
The finite element mesh is shown in Fig. 3. Three different cases
king the second derivative of Eq 11 with respect to x This
were run in which the core axial (out-of-plane) stiffness and
bscript would correspond to Location A or B in Fig. 2. Then,
shear stiffness were varied. The wrinkling loads and half wave-
inoting by kf the value of curvature at which the facesheet fails
lengths were recorded. They are compared in Table 3 to those
cylindrical bending, the following expression is derived for the
predicted by E q 9.
)rresponding applied load.
Good agreement is observed between the analytical predictions
and the finite element solution both for the wrinkling stress and
the halfwave of the resulting mode. In all cases, the predictions
Pfail — (17)
are somewhat lower than the finite element results.
1 + ^ f ^

Test Results
The curvature at failure kj can be determined for the specific
The predictive capability of Eqs 12 through 17 was evaluated
cesheet by using a standard laminate failure criterion. The Tsai-
by comparing to the test results.
ill first-ply failure criterion was used in the results reported
The two options considered for test specimen configuration were
;low. No post first-ply failure analysis was done since for thin
a compression-type specimen similar to that used in Refs 6 and
cesheets with fabric material; first-ply failure is usually very
7 or a four-point bending specimen. The former configuration
ose to (or coincides with) final failure. The strength values used
requires a relatively complex and costly manufacturing process. The
the failure criterion are showninJTable 2.
latter, when applied to non-metallic cores, would result in large
Equations 12 through 17 form the basis for predicting wrinkling
deformations due to the relatively low shear stiffness of the core.
dure of sandwich panels under compression with initial waviness.
In order to produce low-cost and reliable specimens, a new 152-
3 is seen from these equations, the waviness amplitude and wave-
by 152- by 25-mm compression coupon was designed for the
ngth appear in all equations and become important parameters
face wrinkling tests. Test panels consisted of polyamide (Hexcel
at affect the failure mode and load. Accurate knowledge of these
irameters is necessary for accurate prediction of wrinkling loads.
In general, these parameters will depend on: the materials used TABLE 2—Plain weave fabric material properties.
ores with smaller cell size and thicker walls result in less wavi- Property Value
;ss); the fabrication process (accuracy in machining core flat
rfaces, precured versus cocured facesheets); tooling (use of stiff 65.8 GPa
ul plate and stiff and stretchable bag material reduce waviness); £22 65.8 GPa
G12 5.4 GPa
e thickness of the facesheet (facesheets with more than 7 to 10 Poisson's ratio 0.05
ies exhibit negligible waviness); and cure cycle specifics (cure Fill tension strength 951 MPa
essure, vacuum). Finally, the waviness will be affected by the Fill compression strength 847 MPa
ivironmental conditions. Most adhesives soften significantiy at Warp tension strength 1068 MPa
Warp compression strength 1068 MPa
ïvated temperatures in the presence of moisture. This will tend
Shear strength 125 MPa
alter the waviness from the room temperature ambient condition.

direction of TABLE A—Sandwich compression face wrinkling specimen

a p p l i e d compression
Specimen Specimen
ID Core, t = 25 mm Face Sheets Number
INB Nomex, HRH ± 45,0/90, ± 45 3
10-1/8-3.0 t = 0.571 ram
2NB Nomex, HRH ± 45,(0/90)2, ± 45 6
IO-I/8-3.0 t = 0.762 ram
3NB Nomex, HRH ± 45,(0/90) 3
10-1/8-3.0 t = 0.381 ram
HINB Phenolic, HFT-3/ ± 45,0/90, ± 45 3
16-3.0 t = 0.571 mm
H2NB Phenolic, HFT 3/ ± 45,(0/90)2, ± 45 3
16-3.0 t = 0.762 mm
H3NB Phenolic, HFT-3/ ± 45,0/90 3
16-3.0 t = 0.381 mm
KINB Phenolic, ± 45,0/90, ± 45 3
Korex-1/8-3.0 / = 0.571 mra

TABLE 5a—Face sheet properties used in wrinkling analysis.

Face £rt.
Plies Specimen ID Orientation E„ MPa MPa tf, mm

2 3NB, H3NB ± 45,0/90 5.32E4 3.66E4 0.381

3 INB, HINB ± 45,0/90, ± 45 4.38E4 2.20E4 0.571
4 2NB, H2NB ± 45,(0/90)2 ± 45 5.32E4 2.93E4 0.762

TABLE 5b—Core properties used in wrinkling analysis.

Ec, GL, Fc. Ft, Fs,

Core MPa MPa MPa MPa MPa

(Note: not t o s c a l e I n Nomex, HRH-10 1/8-3.0 133.1 42.1 2.3 2.4, 1.24
the y d i r e c t i o n ) HFT, HFT-3/16-3.0 221.3 119.9 3.0 3.0" 1.60
P Korex, Korex-1/8-3.0 196.8 102.7 2.6 2.6° 1.46

FIG. 3—Finite element mesli. "Assumed same as compression strength.

TABLE 5c—Adiiesive properties used in wrinkling analysis.

Nomex®) and glass phenolic (Hexcel HFT® and DuPont Korex®) Ea, Eta,
honeycomb cores, combined with 2-, 3- and 4-ply face sheets Type Specimen ID MPa MPa MPa
of Hercules IM7G/8552 6 K plain-weave graphite/epoxy fabric.
FM300 INB, 2NB, 3NB 1139 6.68 O.ll
Multiple test specimens were cut from larger panels to reduce
M l 146 HINB, H2NB, H3NB, KINB 1671 8.34 0.13
fabrication time and cost. Test panel configurations are shown in
Table 4. The face sheet lay-up and mechanical properties, and the
core mechanical properties are shown in Tables 5a through 5 c. vacuum bag. The f i l m adhesive and face sheets could then be
Figure 4 shows the test specimen geometry. In order to introduce placed directly on the panel and cured as a single assembly. The
the compressive load uniformly, 25-mm wide strips o f core were Epocast® 1614 exhibited no outgassing, and porosity was negligi-
densified with syntactic foam at each end of the panel during ble. It also exhibited superior compression properties at elevated
fabrication. It is of interest to note that the particular syntactic temperature wet conditions (82°C), that was necessary f o r addi-
foam used, Furane Epocast® 1614, was a one-part system in frozen tional tests not part of the current study. The cost savings in labor
patty form. When partially thawed, it could be cut to the desired and time, as well as the quality improvement, when compared to
shape, placed on top of the core (which had been previously using a conventional two-part syntactic foam, were substandal.
masked), and drawn through the cells using a conventional nylon After cure and rough cutting, the ends o f the individual test
specimens were ground parallel before testing. Two pairs of axial
strain gages were applied back-to-back to each face. The gages
TABLE 3—Comparison of predicted wriniding loads to finite element were tracked during testing to ensure that the two faces of the
predictions (no waviness). specimen were uniformly loaded. Tests were conducted on undam-
aged specimens at room temperature ambient (RTA) environment.
tj 'A Wave % The test matrix is shown in Table 4.
Fc, Predicted, a FE
Gc, % Diff- Predicted, Wave, % Diff-
MPa MPa MPa MPa erence cm FE cm erence

133 42.0 646 658 -1.8 1.13 1.14 -0.9 Test Procedure
266 42.0 842 1033 -18.5 0.95 0.89 6.7
133 84.0 808 821 -1.6 1.06 1.32 -19.7 The test fixture shown in Fig. 5 was used to introduce loads
into the specimen from the United Datametric 4A test machine.

25 m m
^ \ a \ strain gages between the faces of the specimen. The procedure was repeated
until equal loading in the facesheets was observed. Then, the
specimen was continuously loaded to failure. With proper care,
^ 225 m m
tests using the fixture shown in Fig. 5 showed little bending effects,
51 m m
as evidenced by the back-to-back axial strain gages (Fig. 6).
TABLE 6—Compression face wriniding test faiiure stresses and
52 m m strains.
Core ribbon Number
# 3 0 0 ; ; direction Specimen of Stress, Strain,
Epocast ID Plies Core MPa *(0-6
(typ) 3NB 2 Nomex 313.1 5890
INB 3 Nomex 297.2 6790
-152 m m - 2NB 4 Nomex 337.0 6340
H3NB 2 HFT 350.3 6590
HINB 3 HFT 348.9 7970
F I G . 4—Sandwich compression test specimen geometry.
H2NB 4 HFT 381.6 7180
KINB 3 Korex 365.5 8350

The fixture evolved f r o m an initial design with a ball-joint end

fixture, which produced excessive bending in the test specimen.
TABLE 7—Measured waviness properties.
Compressive load was introduced directly to the ends of the speci-
men, while lateral support was provided by clamped side bars. Cure Face Half
As the specimen was loaded, the strain gages were continuously Face Pressure, Thickness, Amplitude, Wavelength,
monitored to detect any out-of-plane bending. I f necessary, the Specimen Plies MPa mm mm mm
specimen was unloaded after reaching 20% of the anticipated INB 3 0.48 0.530 0.039 5.18
failure load, and shims were inserted between the top of the test 2NB 4 0.48 0.686 0.036 3.64
fixture and the loading head to minimize unequal load distribution

ï r ^ T e s t machine
top head




Test machine
bottom head


F I G . 5—Sandwich compression test fixture.


TABLE i i—Comparison of predictions to test results. In order to apply Eqs 12 through 17, the waviness information
Experiment, Theory, Difference, particular to the fabrication process and materials used in this
Specimen MPa MPa % study is needed. Two additional untested specimens ( I N B and
2NB) were examined. The specimens were sectioned along the
3NB 313 295 -5.8 loading axis and approximately 3-cm long by 1-cm wide portions
INB 297 264 -11.2
2NB 337 426 +26.4 were mounted for examination under a microscope. Under 200
H3NB 350 344 -1.8 magnification, photographs were taken along a line parallel to the
HINB 349 255 -26.9 facesheet covering the whole length of the mount (Fig. 8). The
H2NB 382 309 -19.0 microscope traversed the mount so that the bottom of the field of
KINB 365 246 -32.7
view for every exposure was exacüy aligned with that of the
previous exposure. This guaranteed that the bottom of the frames
for all photographs formed a straight horizontal line at a fixed
Test Results and Comparison to Theoretical Predictions
distance f r o m the mount.
Post-test visual inspection suggests that all specimens failed by Using the bottom of the frame of each photograph as a reference,
wrinkling-initiated bond tension between one face sheet and the the distances o f the top and bottom of the facesheet were measured
core. Photographs of typical failures are shown in Fig. 7. The from that reference at 0.05-cm intervals. The location of the face-
failures extended the f u l l width of the specimens, with a failure sheet midplane was then calculated relative to the reference line
zone length of approximately 6.4 mm. None of the specimens as half the sum o f these two distances. A typical plot o f the
exhibited the core compression failure, which has been reported facesheet midplane distance from the reference line is shown in
in honeycomb panels with Kevlar® face sheets [6]. Fig. 9. Even though some noise is present, a distinct waviness is
The failure stress and strain values are given in Table 6. Stresses evident. The dashed lines show the points used to measure the
were calculated using the following relation amplitude and wavelength of the waviness. These measurements
are summarized in Table 7. The largest peak is used as it is expected
to drive failure. The measured facesheet thickness (averaged over
2tfW 15 measurements at 0.05-cm intervals) for these specimens is also
shown i n Table 7.
where While the amplitudes are very close for the two specimens, the
half wavelengths vary significantly. It is interesting to note that
Pm — average compression failure load,
for the 2NB specimen, the half wavelength is close to the core
tf = nominal face sheet thickness from Table 2, and
cell size of 3.2 m m . This suggests that other core-related failure
W = specimen width.
modes such as intracellular buckling may interact with the failure
Strains were calculated using the following relation modes discussed above to precipitate specimen failure. This is not
the case for the I N B specimen. A third specimen was made with
o-rai the same configuration as I N B , but using 0.31 MPa autoclave
^raii —
pressure during cure (compared to 0.48 MPa for the other speci-
mens). The waviness o f this specimen showed significantly higher
where calculated elastic modulus parallel to the loading amplitude (by 30%), indicating a strong dependence of the wavi-
direction. ness on processing. Here, only the two specimens with the same


FIG. 6—Typical load-strain plot.

mortem examination of the failed specimens. I n the remaining two

cases (2NB and H2NB), core shear (Eq 14) gives the lowest failure
load among the failure modes considered, with adhesive tension
the next highest. Core damage was observed i n the specimens and
it is possible that failure was initiated as a shear failure in the
core. The examination of the failed specimens does not give conclu-
sive evidence.
Considering the limited material data available for failure
strength values to be included in Eqs 12 through 17, the multiplicity
of materials (three types of core, three facesheet lay-ups, and
two different adhesives) and the noise present in the waviness
measurements in Table 8, the agreement between theory and experi-
ment is considered good. However, more tests are needed to under-
stand f u l l y the failure mode and the possible interactions between
failure modes and to better measure the core, adhesive, and face-
sheet allowables, and the amplitude and half-wavelength of the
waviness. The waviness may vary with different core materials.
Here, only one type of core was used to generate the waviness
information. In addition, it is expected that the waviness w i l l
not be characterized by single sinusoids with the same amplitude
through the specimen width but by halfwaves in both directions.
This was not taken into account in the derivation of the failure
prediction Eqs 12 through 17. These factors should be accounted
for when the process is generalized to other materials, fabrication
procedures, and environmental conditions.
If no experimental data are available on the amplitude and
wavelength of the waviness, conservative estimates for wrinkling
failure can be obtained by using AJtf = 0.1 and / = core cell size.
It should be noted that symmetric wrinkling was chosen as the
mode of deformation rather than antisymmetric wrinkling. This
was done because, for the materials and specimen configurations
in this study, the antisymmetric wrinkling load without waviness
[7] is always higher than the symmetric wrinkling load as predicted
by Eq 9c. This was also supported by the close agreement of the
present method with finite element results. (See the section on
verification.) This suggests that symmetric wrinkling is the pre-
dominant failure mode. However, for thinner cores, antisymmetric
wrinkling may become the dominant failure mode and should be
taken into account.


A procedure to determine the wrinkling loads for sandwich

panels under compression was presented. The procedure can
account for perfectly flat or wavy facesheets. Comparisons with
F I G . 7—Sandwich specimen with compression failure. finite elements and test results showed the analysis gives accurate
predictions, but more work is needed to better understand the
failure modes and quantify the failure loads. The waviness inherent
cure process as the specimens tested are used to measure the in cocuring facesheets on honeycomb core was measured and was
waviness properties. successfully used in the predictive equations.
By dividing the amplitude by the facesheet thickness and averag- The sandwich compression specimen described herein provided
ing over the two specimens, the value AJtf = 0.063 is obtained. a relatively inexpensive and reliable means to determine face wrin-
The half-wavelength values were also averaged (Z = 4.1 mm). kling strength. The use of the Epocast 1614 frozen patties greafiy
These two values of AJtf and / were used in Eqs 12 through 17 reduced panel fabrication time and produced a densified core of
'0 predict failure. exceptional quality. The text fixture and set-up minimized uneven
The failure predictions are compared to the experimental results load distribution to the sandwich faces but often required several
'1 Table 8. It should be noted that the bending moduli for the iterations o f shimming. Careful attention to grinding the ends o f
facesheets were used in Eqs 12 through 17 as the assumed sinusoi- the individual specimens is required to ensure the maximum degree
dal shape o f the face implies predominantly bending rather than of parallelism.
•Membrane deformations of the facesheet. In all but two cases (2NB By individually accounting for the various failure modes of the
and H2NB specimens), the adhesive tension failure as predicted constituents, the present method has the potential of giving more
y Eq 16 is the lowest failure load, in agreement with the post- insight on how the stiffnesses and failure strengths of the various



L O.Olcm

FIG. 8—Facesheet cross-section (magnification 200X).

.0483. 0.019

.0157 I


S .0406




0.0 -Ö75- 1.0 1.5 2.0


FIG. 9—Facesiieet mid-piane waviness along loading axis.

components affect the failure load of the sandwich. Thus, it w i l l [2] Yussuff, S., "Face Wrinkling and Core Strength in Sandwich Construc-
tion," Journal of the Royal Aeronautical Society, Vol. 64, 1960, pp.
facilitate material selection, give guidelines for improved materials, 164-167.
and make possible more efficient designs. [3] Gutierrez, A. J. and Webber, J. P H., "Flexural Wrinkling of Honey-
comb Sandwich Beams with Laminated Faces," International Journal
of Solids and Structures, Vol. 16, 1980, pp 645-651.
[4] Structural Sandwich Composites, Military Handbook 23A, Chpt. 3,
U.S. Department of Defense, Washington, DC, Dec. 1968.
[5] Webber, J. P H, Kyriakides, S., and Lee, C. T , "On the Wrinkling of
Honeycomb Sandwich Columns with Laminated Cross-Ply Faces,"
The test program in this investigation was funded by the US Aeronautics Journal, June 1976, pp. 264-272.
Army RAH-66 Program. The authors wish to express their grati- [Ó] Weems, D. and Llorente, S., "Evaluation of a Simplified Approach to
tude to the U.S. Army RAH-66 Comanche office for their support. In-Plane Shear Testing for Damage Tolerance Evaluation," American
Helicopter Society, 46th Annual Forum Proceedings, Washington, DC,
May 1990, pp. 713-720.
References [7] Kassapoglou, C , Jonas, R J., and Abbott, R., "Compressive Strengtli
of Composite Sandwich Panels After Impact Damage: An Experimen-
[/] Hoff, N. J. and Mautner, S. E„ "The Buckling of Sandwich Type tal and Analytical Study," Journal of Composites Technology and
Panels," Journal of Aeronautical Sciences, July 1945, pp. 285-297. Research, JCTRER, Vol. 10, Summer 1988, pp. 65-73.

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