Get to Know Sandwich Panels in Composite Engineering

Mon, Aug 22, 2022 at 9:00AM

Get to Know Sandwich Panels in Composite Engineering

Composite manufacturers rely on complex, interwoven patterns of highly resilient and lightweight materials to engineer innovative solutions to modern construction. It’s no wonder, then, why sandwich panels are a natural fit in the modern landscape of composite engineering.

Much like how many advanced composites utilize layers to create reinforced structures, sandwich panels get their name from their use of many different layers. By using the right core materials, the end product can be ideal for aerospace or defense applications. Sandwich panels can be thought of as analogous to an I-beam, which is typically used in construction to increase the stiffness of a structural member while adding minimal weight.   An I-beam concentrates the mass in the flanges, far from the neutral axis of the shape, and they are connected by a thin web of material.  The rigid face sheets of a sandwich panel are separated by a lightweight core.  These construction methodologies increase the bending stiffnesses of both shapes with a minimal weight penalty. Continue reading to learn more about the role that sandwich panels play in advanced composite manufacturing.

Components of Sandwich Panels

Beneath their complex structure, sandwich panels have different components that all serve very specific purposes. Those key components include the face sheets, the core, and the adhesive.

  • Face sheets: The face sheets are the outer most part of a sandwich panel, and they shoulder the tensile and compressive stresses that the material undergoes.
  • Core: the most complex demands are required of cores – low density, strength in different directions, and resistance to corrosion are just a few – and they are what keep the faces distanced from one another.
  • Adhesive: by absorbing the shear forces between faces and the core, the adhesive layer enables the other two components to work together as a system with one another.
  • Bonus – End Closeouts: depending on the application, end closeouts are applied around the perimeter of the panel and protect the core material from environmental conditions.

Uses & Benefits of Sandwich Panels

Sandwich panels are seeing an increasing role in the development of advanced composites due to the myriad benefits that they offer. We go into greater detail about some of those benefits below.

  1. Cost Effective: Not only are sandwich panels very strong, but they are also affordable and ecofriendly to boot, as well. They require less substance to manufacture while still yielding a highly durable end product. Plus, since advanced composites are generally lighter than alternative materials, transport vehicles made from them can carry heavier payloads.
  2. Quick to Create: In many industries, time is of the essence – especially when it comes to advanced composite manufacturing. Using sandwich panels can reduce manufacturing times by a large percentage, which allows products to get to market sooner.
  3. Adaptable: Besides being cheaper to create and easier to manufacture, sandwich panels are also a highly adaptable solution for a myriad of uses, whether aerospace manufacturing or composite engineering.

Sandwich panels are certain to improve the quality of most advanced composite materials based on their benefits alone. From a high strength-to-weight ratio to energy absorption, it’s easy to see what makes sandwich panels such a great fit for composite manufacturers. To learn even more, get in touch with Mentis Sciences today.

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