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Composite Structures 94 (2012) 33003308

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Impact of carbon bre/epoxy corrugated cores

S. Kazemahvazi a, B.P. Russell b,, D. Zenkert a

Department of Aeronautical and Vehicle Engineering, KTH, Teknikringen 8, Stockholm 100 44, Sweden
Engineering Department, University of Cambridge, Trumpington Street, Cambridge CB1 1PZ, UK

a r t i c l e

i n f o

Article history:
Available online 22 May 2012
Corrugated cores
Sandwich structures
Blast protection
Inertial stabilisation

a b s t r a c t
The dynamic compressive response of corrugated carbon-bre reinforced epoxy sandwich cores has been
investigated using a Kolsky-bar set-up. Compression at quasi-static rates up to v0 = 200 ms1 have been
tested on three different slenderness ratios of strut. High speed photography was used to capture the failure mechanisms and relate these to the measured axial compressive stress. Experiments show signicant
strength enhancement as the loading rate increases. Although material rate sensitivity accounts for some
of this, it has been shown that the majority of the strength enhancement is due to inertial stabilisation of
the core members. Inertial strength enhancement rises non-linearly with impact velocity. The largest
gains are associated with a shift to buckle modes composed of 23 half sine waves. The loading rates
tested within this study are similar to those that are expected when a sandwich core is compressed
due to a blast event.
2012 Elsevier Ltd. All rights reserved.

1. Introduction
The dynamic response of protective sandwich structures subject to blast loading has gained much interest in recent years due
to the benets that can be achieved over monolithic plates from
uidstructure interaction (FSI) effects [1,2]. The superior performance of sandwich structures is derived from the reduced inertia
of the front face of the sandwich with respect to its monolithic
equivalent. The core enables an effective decoupling of the masses
of the front and rear faces of the sandwich such that the blast wave
transmits a lower impulse into the structure. [1] describe 3 stages
of deformation as shown in Fig. 1. In stage I, an incident exponentially decaying pressure pulse hits the structure and imparts an impulse to it. The FSI effect arises because the duration of the primary
shock wave is substantially shorter than the response time of the
sandwich structure. The loaded front face sheet will accelerate
and attain an initial velocity, v0, whilst the core and the back face
will remain stationary. During stage II, the core material is deformed (preferably crushed) by the advancing face sheet and thus
the front face sheet is decelerated by the core while the core and
the back face sheet are accelerated. The inertia of the front face
sheet is typically substantial and the imposed velocity to the core
remains high for overall core deformations of 30% or more [2]. At
the end of this stage, the core and the face sheets attain a uniform
velocity. Stage III of the sandwich response then comprises of dissipation of the remaining kinetic energy by a combination of beam
bending and longitudinal stretching.
Corresponding author.
E-mail address: (B.P. Russell).
0263-8223/$ - see front matter 2012 Elsevier Ltd. All rights reserved.

An understanding of the stages of deformation as described

above enables smart design of a sandwich structure so as to maximise the blast protection performance it affords. Each stage provides mechanisms by which to achieve this: reduction of the
mass of the front face will reduce the transmitted impulse, in a
water blast (stage I); increasing the energy absorption during the
core crushing (stage II); and increasing the ability of the sandwich
to sustain longitudinal stretching (stage III).
During the past decade numerous metallic core topologies have
been developed and analysed, ranging from different lattice truss
congurations [3] to prismatic cores such as corrugations [4,5]
and square honeycombs [6]. The square honeycombs and corrugated cores are able to sustain higher blast impulses than pyramidal lattice truss cores [2], as they posses signicantly higher
resistance to longitudinal (in-plane) stretching. The dynamic
compressive behaviour of metallic prismatic sandwich cores is
considerably different from their response under quasi-static compression. When loaded quasi-statically, they typically fail through
elastic or plastic buckling. The global loaddeection curve shows
a sharp drop after the initial peak is reached as the core members
buckle. [7] referred to these type of structures as Type II structures.
Type II structures are much more sensitive to changes in loading
rate compared to structures that show a at-topped quasi-static
loaddeection response (referred to as Type I structures). The reason for this is that the buckling mode of the core members are suppressed or delayed due to inertia effects. The dynamic behaviour of
metallic prismatic cores has been investigated experimentally and
numerically by [8,9]. It was shown that the buckling wave length of
the core members decreased signicantly with increasing loading
rate, and as a consequence, the peak load of the structures

S. Kazemahvazi et al. / Composite Structures 94 (2012) 33003308


Fig. 1. The three decoupled stages of dynamic beam deformation subject to a blast loading.

increased. As loading rate is increased further, there is an interaction of inertial stabilisation against buckling and axial plastic wave
effects. This coupled phenomenon has been termed bucklewaves
and was analysed by [10].
1.1. Light-weight composites
Composite materials such as long bre reinforced polymers
have specic strengths several times that of steels, enabling the
construction of ultra-light-weight sandwich structures. Sandwich
structures composed from such materials provide increased potential for blast resistant structures. The core will behave in one of two
ways. At low impulse levels or cores with a high crush strength will
behave as a monolithic beam, and so none of the benets of the
sandwich structure FSI effects proposed by [1] will apply. However,
the core will be substantially lighter than the equivalent strength
steel structure, so some of the FSI effects originating from the lower mass of a composite construction will be of relevance and there
will be a reduction in the transmitted impulse according to the
Taylor analysis. At high impulse levels or with cores having a low
crush strength, sandwiches can achieve further benets through
the FSI effect in stage I by virtue of low mass, and through stages
II and III by increasing the strength of struts and webs for the same
To date, little research has been done on composite prismatic
sandwich cores. The quasi-static response of monolithic and hierarchical composite corrugations was investigated by Kazemahvazi
and Zenkert [11,12], The monolithic corrugations generally failed
through elastic buckling at low relative densities and compressive
material failure at high relative densities. The corrugated monolithic cores showed superior compressive and shear performance
at intermediate and high densities while the hierarchical cores
showed highest performance at low densities. Russell et al.
[13,14] investigated the square honeycomb topology manufactured from Carbon Fibre Reinforced Polymer (CFRP). They concluded that signicant specic strengths could be achieved over
their metallic equivalents. A follow on study looked at the dynamic
performance of fully composite sandwiches with honeycomb cores
[15]. Russell et al. [16] also looked at the dynamic strengthening
effect in corrugated cores manufactured from glass-bre composite. They showed that these cores showed a dramatic strengthening effect, nearly a factor of 5, with increasing strain rate.
In this paper the dynamic out-of-plane compressive strength of
monolithic carbon-bre/epoxy corrugated cores is investigated
through direct impact Kolsky bar experiments. A simple unit cell
of the core comprising 2 struts is used in the present study. It is

reasonable to assume that this unit will be representative of a core

comprising a large number of struts since there is no interaction of
adjacent struts. However, it is acknowledged that the boundary
condition of the struts which is determined by the precise geometrical detail at the join with the face sheet, will have signicant
bearing on the overall structural performance. In this present study
the boundary has been designed to be that of a clamped condition,
permitting no rotation. The outline of the paper is as follows.
Taylors one dimensional shock wave theory [17] is used to estimate the imparted impulse to a composite sandwich structure
and the initial velocity of the front face sheet. Results from the Taylor analysis are used to inform the initial velocities selected for the
experiments. The stress-time data from compressive impact tests
and high speed photographs are correlated to investigate dynamic
strengthening effects.
1.2. Taylor analysis estimates
Fleck and Deshpande [1] used Taylors one dimensional uid
structure interaction model [17] to analyse the impulse which is
imparted to a steel sandwich structure. Here, we will employ the
same approach to contrast the behaviours of a composite sandwich
structure with an equivalent metallic one. The details of the analysis are given in the appendix. Four cases are compared whereby
calculations for the transmitted impulse Itrans and front face velocity v0 are calculated for each combination of two different face
sheet materials and two different blast media. For the face sheets:
a CFRP [0/90]X laminate with a density q = 1600 kg m3 and a
strong steel with density q = 7800 kg m3 are chosen, both possessing similar strengths of about 700 MPa. On this basis face sheet
of the same thickness tf = 5 mm, will have a similar structural performance in their abilities to resist loading introduced both by
bending, and membrane stretching. Both water and air are considered as blast transmission media. Fig. 2 shows the variation of Itrans
and v0 with the areal density of the front face.
A number of observations can be made with respect to the analysis presented here. In line with the previous conclusions of [1] the
impulse which is transmitted to a structure from an air blast, is relatively insensitive to the areal mass of the structure. In contrast, a
signicant reduction in transferred impulse can be achieved by
employing a light face sheet in the case of a water blast, we achieve
a factor of three reduction in Itrans by moving from the steel face,
Itrans = 3.2 kPa s to the CFRP, Itrans = 0.9 kPa s (see Fig. 2a). Looking
now at the front face velocities v0 in Fig. 2b we see that in an air
blast, this parameter is highly sensitive to the areal mass of the
front face, and much less sensitive in the case of the water blast.


S. Kazemahvazi et al. / Composite Structures 94 (2012) 33003308



Fig. 2. The sensitivity of (a) the transmitted impulse Itrans and (b) the front face velocity v0 to the areal density of the front face. Two different face sheet materials are located
on the plots for two different shock media. The analysis assumes a 1 kg TNT charge placed 1 m away from the structure.

Compare the values for air: v0 = 240 ms1 and 50 ms1 for the CFRP
and steel respectively, giving a difference of 190 ms1. For the
water blast this difference is only 30 ms1. Thus from a blast mitigation perspective, the use of composites in the hull of a naval vessel can have signicant benets for reducing the transmitted
impulse. Whereas employing steel for elements of the superstructure results in benets from the lowering of the front face velocity.
Of course, other considerations such as the position of the centre of
gravity of a ship need to be balanced with blast protection.
This analysis clearly sets forth the motivation for the present
study, and provides an indication for the relevant values of v0 from
which to assess a composite core.
2. Materials and experimental set up
2.1. Fabrication procedure
Inclined struts fabricated from carbon-bre/epoxy unidirectional material were manufactured as follows (see Fig. 3). Unidirectional pre-preg of bre type T700 embedded in an epoxy SE 84LV
(manufactured by Gurit) were laid up and cured to give three
thicknesses t = 0.5, 1 and 2 mm, see Table 1. The sheets were milled
into rectangles of height H = 35 mm and with W = 60 mm ensuring
a high degree of parallelism (60 lm). Face sheets were made from
2024 Aluminium Alloy. Inclined groves were cut into the face
sheets in order to give an accurate and repeatable angle of inclination of x = 70. Metal shim was used to pack the excess space between the composite strut and the slot, and an epoxy adhesive
(Araldite 2015) was used to x the assembly. A scaffold was used


Table 1
Geometry of the corrugated unit cells.
Core type


t (mm)

h (mm)

q (kg m3)







during the gluing procedure to ensure all specimens were aligned

appropriately and conformed to the desired geometry, Fig. 3. This
method of xing the composite struts into the face sheets also
gives a high degree of rotational rigidity to the joint.
Material test coupons were also fabricated in order to investigate the material strain rate response, Fig. 4. A sandwich conguration was used so to avoid a global buckling failure mode.
Divinycell H250 foam core of thickness c = 15 mm was bonded to
the composite sheets of thickness tm = 0.52 mm using Araldite
420 adhesive. To prevent edge failure modes such as brooming,
the specimens were tabbed at each end using CFRP. The resultant
gauge length lg of these specimens was 10 mm, the full length lm
being 30 mm.
2.2. Quasi-static experimental set-up
Quasi-static axial compression of inclined strut specimens and
the material sandwich coupons were performed in a screw-driven
uniaxial loading machine (Instron 5584) at a strain rate
e_ 103 s1 . Load was recorded with either a 100 kN or a 30 kN
load cell depending on the expected failure load of the unit cell.


Fig. 3. Geometry of the inclined strut specimen.



S. Kazemahvazi et al. / Composite Structures 94 (2012) 33003308




Fig. 4. Fabrication and geometry of materials test coupon.



Fig. 5. Dynamic experimental set up.

The axial compression displacement of the unit cell was measured

using a linear voltage displacement extensometer that was
mounted between the rigid steel compression platens.
2.3. Dynamic experimental set-up
The dynamic compressive strength of the inclined struts, and
the material test coupons, were measured by use of an instrumented Kolsky bar [18]. Specimens were mounted on the end of
the Kolsky bar and impacted with a striking bar of the same diameter, D launched from a gas gun, Fig. 5. The forces on the rear of the
specimens are measured by inferring the stress in the Kolsky bar
through strain gauges, mounted 10D from the end of the bar. Strain
gauges with a length of 1 mm, were mounted in a half-Wheatstone
bridge conguration. Input voltage was supplied through a strain
bridge amplier with a cut-off frequency of 500 kHz, and the


output signal captured by a digital oscilloscope. For the inclined

strut specimens, a Aluminium alloy 6082-T6 Kolsky bar of diameter D = 76.2 mm and with a yield strength of 310 MPa was used; for
the material coupons, a maraging steel bar was used of D =
28.5 mm having a yield strength exceeding 1000 MPa. Different
diameter bars were used so as to have the closest match of specimen cross-sectional area to the area of the Kolsky bar. In order to
ensure a constant velocity crush, the mass of the striker bar m was
selected such that its kinetic energy was greatly in excess of that
absorbed through crushing of the specimen. For impact velocities
of 510 ms1, m = 6.1 kg, for those above 30 ms1, m = 0.75 kg,
for all intermediate velocities m = 2.5 kg. High speed photography
was able to conrm the velocity of the striker bar and to ensure
a constant velocity crush. Readers are referred to [19,16] for further details including the calibration procedure.
3. Results
The dynamic strength enhancement of the corrugated core results from both inertia effects and material strain rate sensitivity
effects. In order to decouple these two effects, two different types
of specimens were manufactured: inclined strut specimens (Fig. 3)
and material sandwich coupons (Fig. 4). The sensitivity of the composite material to strain rate was investigated by subjecting the
material test coupon to various loading rates.
3.1. Properties of the parent material
Fig. 6a shows the stress-time response of the parent material for
impact velocities v0 = 1035 ms1. The quasi-static strength is


Fig. 6. (a) The stress-time history of the parent material at a number of different impact velocities, v0; (b) peak strength normalised by the quasi-static failure strength rpk/rf
as a function of the strain rate e_ .


S. Kazemahvazi et al. / Composite Structures 94 (2012) 33003308



Fig. 7. (a) Stressstrain response of the three corrugated core congurations at quasi-static loading rate; (b) stress-time history of the corrugated core with t/l = 0.03 material
at a number of different impact velocities, v0.

included as a horizontal line. From these stress-time histories it is

seen that the peak strength achieved by the material increases
with strain rate e_ . These peak values of stress rpk can be normalised
by the quasi-static failure stress rf and plotted as a function of the
strain rate e_ (Fig. 6b). The composite is thus only mildly strain rate
sensitive, achieving a strength increase of 45% at the highest strain
rates tested e_ 3500 s1 .
3.2. Quasi-static response of inclined struts
The quasi-static stressstrain response of the inclined struts
with three different t/l ratios are shown in Fig. 7a. The stubby (t/
l = 0.06) and intermediate (t/l = 0.03) struts show a clear peak followed by a rapid drop in stress. These are typical of the load
deection response of Type II structures as described by [7]. All
the geometries fail by elastic buckling (see Fig. 8), although in
the case of the t/l = 0.06 specimen, failure occurs very suddenly
after bifurcation so the buckle shape was not captured.
The slender strut (t/l = 0.015) displays a more benign response,
following peak stress. The difference in global stressstrain response between the slender and stubby structures can be explained as follows. Inherent imperfections exist in the strut in
the form of an initial curvature or waviness. Assuming an imperfection in the form of a half-sinusoid, the amplitude was measured
to be approximately 0.6 mm, which is about one ftieth of the
length of the strut. The relative magnitude of the imperfection to
the slenderness ratio t/l has a strong bearing on how sharply dened is the point of bifurcation. As the strut is made more slender,
the relative imperfection is typically larger, and the bifurcation
stress lower and less dened. Being more slender, the strut will
also persist to carry load well beyond the peak stress, as the local
bending stresses across the section of the strut are small so large
displacements are sustained until failure occurs. In the stubbier
struts, were the exural modulus is much greater, the stress in
the outer most bres reach the compressive failure strength of
the material soon after the stress at which bifurcation occurs. Recall Fig. 7a, a progression can be seen from the most stubby t/
l = 0.06 to the most slender t/l = 0.015 where the severity of the
post-peak strength drop diminishes.
3.3. Dynamic response of inclined struts
As impact velocity rises, we would expect to lose axial equilibrium within the strut and to see a strengthening effect as the elastic buckling modes are inhibited. A structure reaches axial

equilibrium if there are sufcient longitudinal elastic wave reections (typically 10) before the failure strain is reached by the imposed displacement. The time to equilibrium is given as teq = Nl/c
and time to failure as tfail = efl/v0. Thus by equating these times
we can derive a critical velocity v 0 below which we can be condent that our specimens are in equilibrium: v 0 ef c=10. Substituting values, ef = 0.5%, c = 12,000 ms1 we obtain a value
v 0 6 ms1 .
Stress-time responses of the intermediate strut t/l = 0.03 show
signicant strength enhancement as the loading rate increases
(see Fig. 7b). Since the struts are subject to a constant velocity
(v0) compression, time ti can be converted to global strain by the
relation e = v0ti/h, where h is the height of strut. Strains at peak
stress range from 2% to 3%, signicantly greater than the quasi-static failure strain of about 0.5%. Fig. 8 presents a matrix of the buckle
modes for combinations of strut aspect ratio t/l and impact velocity
v0. The observed buckle modes are indicated in the top right of
each image. The highest order of buckle is observed for the most
slender strut t/l = 0.015 at the highest velocity v0 = 35 ms1. Moving to the right (increasing the value of t/l) or moving upwards
(reducing v0) show progression to lower modes. The images for
v0 = 26 ms1 are taken at an oblique angle in order to show how
the buckle mode varies through the depth of the strut. In some
cases, notably those at the highest v0 of 35 ms1, fracture is seen.
At these velocities the time between the buckling event and the
fracture event is shorter than the inter-frame time of the high
speed camera, and thus appear together.
4. Discussion
4.1. Dynamic strength enhancement
The dynamic strength enhancement of a strut is dened by the
peak stress rpk measured under impact at a velocity v0, normalised
by the quasi-static strength rf of a strut of the same value of t/l.
Fig. 9a shows the dynamic strength enhancement (rpk/rf), as function of impact velocity v0, for the three values of t/l. First, strength
enhancement is observed for all geometries with the most slender
struts (t/l = 0.015) showing the most pronounced enhancement,
achieving 7 or 8 times the strength of the quasi-static peak stress.
For the most stubby strut where t/l = 0.06, strength enhancement is
much less, achieving a factor of just over 2. The strength enhancement is monotonic although non-linear. For the most slender strut,
there is a large increase in the dynamic strength enhancement at
the low velocity range (high sensitivity). At higher velocities the

S. Kazemahvazi et al. / Composite Structures 94 (2012) 33003308


Fig. 8. Range of failure mechanisms at different velocities and for different core member aspect ratios.

slope of this enhancement trend reduces signicantly (low sensitivity). The impact velocity at the transition between the sensitive
and insensitive regions is inuenced strongly by the value of t/l:
more slender geometries transition at lower velocities. Transition
velocities of 10 ms1 and 26 ms1 are observed for the most slender (t/l = 0.015) and most stubby (t/l = 0.06) geometries respectively. Referring back to Fig. 8 we see the order of the buckle
modes rises dramatically with increasing velocity. The transition
velocity appears correlate with a buckle mode of 23 half sine
The loading on the struts within the core is a combination of
axial compression and bending loads. Carbon-bre/epoxy is essentially an elastic brittle material so the assumption of the superposition of stresses is reasonable. To investigate the contributions of
each to the nal failure within the core, it is instructive to plot the
wall stress rw in the struts as a function of impact velocity v0 for
the different values of t/l, and to compare these to the parent material strength (Fig. 9b). The wall stress due to axial compression is
given by




where N is the normal force that acts on one core member, r is the
global stress on the core, x is the inclination angle of the core member, A and Aw are the cross-section areas of the entire core and the
strut member respectively. It should be noted that this equation is
only valid for situations where (1) the core strusts are in axial equilibrium (i.e. v0 < 6 ms1) and also (2) for the stresses at the back
face. The stresses at the front face will be signicantly elevated by
inertial and plastic wave propagation effects. In all experiments
only back face stresses were measured. Failure in a strut will occur
when the maximum stress reaches the parent material strength.
Use of Eq. (1) to calculate the axial stress in a core member, necessarily means that any contribution in stress due to bending of the
core member is neglected. Thus the shortfall of the axial wall stress
with respect to the parent material failure stress (see Fig. 9b) must
be attributed to presence of local bending stresses. Consider rst
the most stubby strut: under quasi-static load, the peak axial com-


S. Kazemahvazi et al. / Composite Structures 94 (2012) 33003308



Fig. 9. (a) Dynamic strength enhancement shown by the normalisation of the peak dynamic stress by the quasi-static failure stress, rpk/rf, plotted as function of impact
velocity, v0; (b) the peak wall stress, rwall as function of impact velocity.

Fig. 10. Buckling wave lengths for different impact velocities and core member aspect ratios.

pression stress is 40% of the material failure stress, and failure occurs at peak stress (Fig. 7a). At an impact velocity of 26 ms1, the
axial compressive stress equals that of the parent material failure
stress (including strain rate effects) and thus this geometry can be
considered to have been fully stabilised through inertial effects.
Now considering the most slender geometry, under quasi-static
conditions the axial stress reaches only 10% of the parent material
failure stress. However, a load drop is seen in the axial stress prior
to failure (see Fig. 7a), indicating that the maximum local bending

stress in the strut is more dominant than this gure suggests.

Fig. 10 show the buckling progression in four cases. The rst image
in each sequence is taken at a time after impact, ti at or closely after
peak load. The following images show the amplication of the
buckle instability as the axial compressive stress drops (see
Fig. 7b for the bottom case); no material failure has occurred by
the time of the last image. At the highest velocity tested, the axial
compressive stress rises to about 60% of the material failure stress,
and bre fracture processes are visible very soon after peak load


S. Kazemahvazi et al. / Composite Structures 94 (2012) 33003308

(bottom left image in Fig. 8). Even at these velocities it is apparent

that the bending stress still contributes signicantly to the failure of
these struts. In contrast, strengthening due to material rate effects
are small, accounting for a maximum of 15% at the highest velocity
v0 = 35 ms1, recall Fig. 6b.
4.2. High speed impact experiments (50200 ms1)
It is of interest to observe the progression in the failure mechanisms at increasingly higher velocities. Due to dispersion effects in
the Kolsky-bar rig, stress measurements with sufciently high
accuracy could not be obtained at velocities greater than
35 ms1. However, a set of high speed (50200 ms1) impact
experiments were conducted to study the deformation modes of
the slender and intermediate core structures using high speed
Three montages in Fig. 11 show the progression of failure mechanisms as the slenderness ratio t/l and velocity v0 are changed.
Compare rst Fig. 11a and b: v0 = 50 ms1 in both cases. Fibre fracture is seen clearly by the presence of dust plumes, where comminuted bres are ejected from the fracture site. The intermediate
struts, t/l = 0.03 Fig. 11a show some bending deections (ti = 30 ls)
with bre fracture occurring shortly after (ti = 45 ls); whereas the
slender strut, t/l = 0.015 Fig. 11b exhibit fracture without any discernable buckling (ti = 15 ls). The probable cause of fracture at discrete positions along the strut is a high order buckle mode which
progresses to fracture before signicant amplication of the mode
shape can take place. Now examine Fig. 11c of slenderness, t/
l = 0.015 and with an impact velocity v0 = 200 ms1. Stubbing of
the struts is now observed with bre fracture predominantly seen
at the impacted end (although some fracture is seen at the distal
end adjacent to the boundary). Here the strut displays no fracture
in the middle section of the strut (at least not until a much later
time) indicating that at this velocity the geometry is fully stabilised
against buckling and that failure is reached through the axial
compressive stress alone. We can surmise that a structure in which

axial equilibrium has not been reached prior to failure will be fully
5. Concluding remarks
Our motivation for this study was concerned with the suitability of carbon-bre/epoxy composite for sandwich core structures
for ship hull design. When a composite sandwich structure is subject to a blast, an impulse is transmitted to the front face sheet of
structure. This impulse sets the face sheet into motion and the face
sheet will compress the core at some velocity (110 ms1 for our
example calculation given). Experimental results have shown that
corrugated composite sandwich cores show signicant inertial rate
sensitivity when loaded at rates similar to those caused by a blast.
Thus these structures have potential to be optimised to minimise
mass for a given initial velocity, by careful selection of the strut
slenderness ratio. Further work is needed to determine the energy
absorbtion characteristics as a function of impact velocity.
This study has elucidated the inuence of the slenderness ratio
t/l and impact velocity v0 on the strengthening of carbon-bre/
epoxy inclined struts from both inertial stabilisation and material
rate effects. The enhancement of the material failure strength
through strain rate strength enhancement is minor, giving at most
an additional 15% at v0 = 35 ms1. Strength enhancements though
inertial stabilisation achieved factors of up to 8 or 9, for the most
slender geometry. These were the largest enhancements observed,
with the more stubby struts achieving factors of 2.5 and 4 for the t/
l = 0.03 and t/l = 0.015 geometries respectively. However, despite
these large strength enhancements, the slender geometry still fell
short of the parent material strength indicating it is subject to signicant bending stresses. Whereas the stubbiest geometry reached
the parent material strength and is thus considered fully stabilised.
Thus the stubbiest geometries are most optimised to resist load for
minimum mass across the entire range of velocities tested.
Higher velocity tests up to 200 ms1 were performed to investigate mechanisms operating in this regime. At 200 ms1 stubbing




Fig. 11. High speed photographs of impact experiments conducted at speeds above 35 ms1. (a) t/l = 0.03,
l = 0.015, v0 = 200 ms1.

v0 = 50 ms1,

(b) t/l = 0.015,

v0 = 50 ms1

and (c) t/


S. Kazemahvazi et al. / Composite Structures 94 (2012) 33003308

of the most slender strut was observed with no discernable buckling. Thus it is expected that the peak axial wall strength measured
at the back face would be very close to the strength of the parent
The nancial support for this investigation has been provided
by The Ofce of Naval Research (ONR) through programme ofcer
Dr. Yapa D.S. Rajapakse (Grant No. N0001407-10344).

Consider a sandwich panel with face sheets of thickness tf separated by some thick core c. Suppose that this panel is subjected to
a pressure wave, p, with nearly instantaneous pressure rise to a
peak pressure p0, which then decays exponentially with a time
constant h, as described by the equation


The magnitude of the pressure wave and its decay time, depends on
the mass and type of explosive material, distance to the structure as
well as the media through which the shock wave is propagated. A
charge of 1 kg TNT produces a peak pressure of approximately
100 MPa in water and 10 MPa in air at a distance of 1 m [20,1]. The
decay times for both pressure waves are in the order of 0.1 ms. The
maximum achievable impulse (for a fully reected pressure wave),
I is given as


2p0 et=h dt 2p0 h



and w is the uidstructure interaction parameter, w = qwcwh/mf,

where qw,cw and mf are density of the media, speed of sound in
the media and mass per unit area of the face sheet respectively.
The initial velocity of the front face is given by,


qf t f



which only occurs in the case when the structure is stationary and
rigid, i.e. no deformation occurs. The actual impulse which is transmitted to the face, Itrans, is given by,

Itrans fI;

f  ww=w1 ;

where qf and tf are the density and thickness of the face sheet

Appendix A. Taylor analysis

pt p0 et=h :




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