Indentation failure in composite sandwich structures

E. E. Gdoutos*, I. M. Daniel, K. A. Wang

*Corresponding author for this work

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

40 Scopus citations


A combined analytical and experimental investigation of the indentation failure of a composite sandwich panel has been undertaken. Two cases have been studied: a sandwich panel with carbon/epoxy facing and a PVC foam layer supported on a rigid base and indented at the center with a cylindrical indentor; and a sandwich beam with symmetrical facing and core materials as in the sandwich panels. The load-deflection behavior of the loaded facing was monitored during the test. Strains were also measured near the load on both surfaces of the facing using embedded strain gages. A full-field analysis of the in-plane displacements in the foam was conducted using the moiré method. The problem was modeled as an elastic beam resting on an elastic-plastic foundation. Initiation of indentation failure occurs when the foundation yields, while catastrophic failure takes place when the compression facing fractures. The experimental results are in good agreement with the results of the analytical modeling based on the Winkler foundation.

Original languageEnglish (US)
Pages (from-to)426-431
Number of pages6
JournalExperimental Mechanics
Issue number4
StatePublished - Dec 2002


  • Cellular foams
  • Indentation
  • Sandwich panels
  • Winkler foundation

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • Aerospace Engineering
  • Mechanics of Materials
  • Mechanical Engineering


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