Interfacial fracture in composite sandwich structures

W. J. Cantwell, R. Scudamore, P. Davies

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review


Sandwich materials are now finding widespread use in major load-bearing components in both the marine and aeronautical industries. A common mode of failure in impact-loaded sandwich structures is skin-core debonding by interfacial crack propagation. Clearly, failure of the interface between the load-bearing skin material and the low density core may result in a total loss of structural integrity leading to complete structural failure of the part. To date, only a limited amount of work has been undertaken to characterise the strength and toughness of the interfacial region in sandwich materials. Traditionally, the climbing drum test has been widely used to evaluate the degree of bonding in these lightweight materials. The test does, however, suffer several limitations perhaps the most important being that it cannot be applied to structures having thick outer skins. Simple short beam flexural tests are also used to assess interface strength for quality control purpose,s but tend to result in a mixture of failure processes (core shear, upper skin damage and interface debonding) making interpretation hazardous. This paper presents results from a new test technique that can be used to characterise the interfacial properties of fibre reinforced composites.

Original languageBritish English
Pages (from-to)103-106
Number of pages4
JournalUnknown Journal
StatePublished - 1997


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