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Experimental investigation of the air blast performance of hybrid composite skinned sandwich panels with X-ray micro-CT damage assessment
Thin-Walled Structures, Volume: 188, Start page: 110874
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This research investigates the performance of interlaminar hybrid composites as the skins of composite sandwich panels under blast loading with the aim of promoting delamination between dissimilar plies for energy absorption. The deformation of the composite panels was captured using high-speed digi...
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This research investigates the performance of interlaminar hybrid composites as the skins of composite sandwich panels under blast loading with the aim of promoting delamination between dissimilar plies for energy absorption. The deformation of the composite panels was captured using high-speed digital image correlation (DIC). High-speed full-field DIC enables failure to be captured at the moment it occurs across the entire panel. X-ray micro-CT imaging was used to assess the post-blast damage sustained by particular areas of interest from each panel, which were selected based on DIC results. The combination of full-field DIC and detailed X-ray micro-CT scanning enabled a unique comparison of both the global and localised blast resilience of hybrid and conventional composite sandwich panels to be performed. Following a single blast load, the extent of damage to the Hybrid-3B skinned sandwich panel was found to lie between that of GFRP and CFRP skinned sandwich panels. X-ray micro-CT scanning of these panels reveals that there is no continuous damage path through the skin thickness of Hybrid-3B, whereas the GFRP and CFRP panels sustain damage in every ply. Following repeat blast loading, the Hybrid-4 skinned sandwich panel suffered from a front skin crack spanning the length of the panel. Post-blast compressive strength testing reveals that this skin crack and resulting core crack acted as a stress relief, limiting the damage sustained elsewhere in the panel. It was concluded that Hybrid-3B results in a good trade-off between strength and stiffness and is advantageous over conventional CFRP and GFRP panels under a single blast load. Under repeated loading Hybrid-4 offers advantages over Hybrid-3B. Finally, the design of the support structure can significantly aid in blast resilience, and, a holistic approach considering both panels and support should be taken when designing for blast resilience.
Air blast, Composite sandwich panel, Hybrid composite, Digital image correlation, X-ray micro-CT
Faculty of Science and Engineering
The authors would like to thank Dr Yapa Rajapakse of the Office of Naval Research [N62909-15-1-2004] for supporting Dr Emily Rolfe, Dr Mark Kelly and Dr Hari Arora during their PhDs and EPSRC for supporting Dr Emily Rolfe. The authors also acknowledge the support from the Sêr Cymru National Research Network Industrial Collaboration Award, which supported instrumentation costs to the project. The damage analysis work was funded by UK EPSRC, through the Impact Acceleration Account 2020-2022, administered by Swansea University. The micro-CT work was supported by the Advanced Imaging of Materials (AIM) core facility [EPSRC Grant No. EP/M028267/1], the Welsh Government Enhancing Competitiveness Grant [MA/KW/5554/19] and the European Social Fund (ESF) through the European Union’s Convergence programme administered by the Welsh Government. The RWIF Collaboration Booster R3-EEF37 supported discussions on composite materials.