Size effect in fracture of sandwich structure components: Foam and laminate

Zdeněk P. Bažant*, Yong Zhou, Drahomír Novák, Isaac M. Daniel

*Corresponding author for this work

Research output: Contribution to journalConference articlepeer-review

10 Scopus citations


In the design of sandwich plates and shells for very large structures, such as ships in the range of 100 m length, it is very important to take the size effect on the nominal strength into account, and do so in a realistic, physically justified, manner. Before the size effect is addressed for a sandwich structure, it must be understood for its components-the foam core and the laminate skins. In the current practice, the size effects are automatically attributed to the randomness of material strength, as described by the Weibull theory. The purpose of this paper is to show that in both the foam and the laminate there are deterministic size effects, which are generally more pronounced. They are caused by stress redistribution and energy release due to the growth of large fractures or large cracking zones prior to attaining the maximum load. This deterministic size effect is verified and calibrated by new tests of notched specimens of rigid close-cell vinyl foam. A combined deterministic-probabilistic theory of size effect of the laminates is proposed and verified by extensive test data.

Original languageEnglish (US)
Pages (from-to)19-30
Number of pages12
JournalAmerican Society of Mechanical Engineers, Applied Mechanics Division, AMD
StatePublished - 2001
Event2001 ASME International Mechanical Engineering Congress and Exposition - New York, NY, United States
Duration: Nov 11 2001Nov 16 2001

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • Mechanical Engineering


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