Deformation and failure of composite sandwich structures

Isaac M. Daniel*, Emmanuel E. Gdoutos, Jandro L. Abot, Kuang An Wang

*Corresponding author for this work

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

34 Scopus citations


An investigation was conducted of failure modes and criteria for their occurrence in composite sandwich columns and beams. The initiation of the various failure modes depends on the material properties of the constituents (facings and core), geometric dimensions and type of loading. The loading type or condition determines the state of stress throughout the sandwich structure, which controls the location and mode of failure. The appropriate failure criteria at any point of the structure account for the biaxiality or triaxiality of the state of stress. The specimens were made of unidirectional carbon-epoxy facings and aluminum honeycomb and PVC closed-cell foam cores. The constituent materials were fully characterized and, in the case of the foam core, failure envelopes were developed for general two-dimensional states of stress. Sandwich specimens were loaded under bending moment, shear and axial loading and failure modes were observed and compared with analytical predictions. The failure modes investigated are face sheet compressive failure, adhesive bond failure, indentation failure, core failure and facing wrinkling. The transition from one failure mode to another for varying loading or state of stress was discussed. Experimental results are compared with analytical predictions.

Original languageEnglish (US)
Pages (from-to)345-364
Number of pages20
JournalJournal of Thermoplastic Composite Materials
Issue number4
StatePublished - Jul 2003


  • Face wrinkling
  • Failure modes
  • Foam behavior
  • Sandwich structures

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • Ceramics and Composites
  • Condensed Matter Physics

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