Specific bending stiffness of in-mould-assembled hybrid sandwich structures with carbon fibre reinforced polymer face sheets and aluminium foam cores manufactured by a polyurethane-spraying process
In this paper, the bending stiffness-to-weight-ratio of novel hybrid sandwich structures is investigated. The build-up of the sandwich panels consisted of face sheets made from carbon fibre reinforced polymer, aluminium foam cores and an interface of foamed polyurethane. The sandwich panels were produced in a single step, infiltrating the face sheet fibres and connecting the face sheets to the core simultaneously. By means of mechanical characterization, specimens with several variations of face sheet architecture and thickness, core structure and interface properties were examined. Quasi-static four-point bending and flatwise compression tests of the sandwich composites were conducted, as well as tensile tests of the face sheets. The results of the tensile and compressive tests were integrated in analytical models, describing the sandwich stiffness depending on the load case and the face sheet volume fraction. The effective Young's modulus of the composite, measured in the four-point bending test, correlates well to the modelled effective bending modulus calculated from the single components face sheet and core. The model underestimates the effective density of the bending specimens. It could be shown that this underestimation results from the polyurethane foam connecting the face sheets to the core, as the mass of this polyurethane is not included in the model.