The effect of loading rate on the compression properties of carbon fibre-reinforced epoxy honeycomb structures

R. A. Alia, J. Zhou, Z. W. Guan, Q. Qin, Y. Duan, W. J. Cantwell

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

18 Scopus citations


The effect of varying strain rate on the compression strength and energy absorption characteristics of a carbon fibre-reinforced plastic honeycomb core has been investigated over a wide range of loading rates. The honeycombs were manufactured by infusing an epoxy resin through a carbon fibre fabric positioned in a dismountable honeycomb mould. The vacuum-assisted resin transfer moulding technique yielded honeycomb cores of a high quality with few defects. Compression tests were undertaken on single and multiple cells and representative volumes removed from the cores in order to assess how the compression strength and specific energy absorption vary with test rate. Crushing tests over the range of strain rates considered highlighted the impressive strength and energy-absorbing response of the honeycomb cores. At quasi-static rates of loading, the compression strength and specific energy absorption characteristics of the unidirectional samples exceeded those of the multidirectional cores. Here, extensive longitudinal splitting and fibre fracture were the predominant failure mechanisms in the cores. For all three stacking sequences, the single-cell samples offer higher compression strength than their five-cell counterparts. In contrast, the specific energy absorption values were found to be slightly higher in the five-cell cores. The experiments highlighted a trend of increased compression strength with loading rate in the multidirectional samples, whereas the strength of the [0°]4 samples was relatively insensitive to strain rate. Finally, the energy absorbing capacity of all structures studied was found to be reasonably constant at increasing rates of strain.

Original languageBritish English
Pages (from-to)2565-2576
Number of pages12
JournalJournal of Composite Materials
Issue number19
StatePublished - 1 Aug 2020


  • Carbon fibre-reinforced plastic honeycomb
  • crushing tests
  • energy absorption
  • strain rate


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