A sandwich-structured composite is a special class of composite materials that is fabricated by attaching two thin but stiff skins to a lightweight but thick core. The core material is normally low strength material, but its higher thickness provides the sandwich composite with high bending stiffness with overall low density.
Open- and closed-cell-structured foams like polyethersulfone polyvinylchloride, polyurethane, polyethylene or polystyrene foams, balsa wood, syntactic foams, and honeycombs are commonly used core materials. Sometimes, the honeycomb structure is filled with other foams for added strength. Open- and closed-cell metal foam can also be used as core materials.
Laminates of glass or carbon fiber-reinforced thermoplastics or mainly thermoset polymers (unsaturated polyesters, epoxies...) are widely used as skin materials. Sheet metal is also used as skin material in some cases.
A summary of the important developments in sandwich structures is given below.
Metal composite material (MCM) is a type of sandwich formed from two thin skins of metal bonded to a plastic core in a continuous process under controlled pressure, heat, and tension.
Recycled paper is also now being used over a closed-cell recycled kraft honeycomb core, creating a lightweight, strong, and fully repulpable composite board. This material is being used for applications including point-of-purchase displays, bulkheads, recyclable office furniture, exhibition stands, and wall dividers.
To fix different panels, among other solutions, a transition zone is normally used, which is a gradual reduction of the core height, until the two fiber skins are in touch. In this place, the fixation can be made by means of bolts, rivets, or adhesive.
With respect to the core type and the way the core supports the skins, sandwich structures can be divided into the following groups: homogeneously supported, locally supported, regionally supported, unidirectionally supported, bidirectionally supported. The latter group is represented by honeycomb structure which, due to an optimal performance-to-weight ratio, is typically used in most demanding applications including aerospace.
The strength of the composite material is dependent largely on two factors:
Sandwich structures can be widely used in sandwich panels, this kinds of panels can be in different types such as FRP sandwich panel, aluminium composite panel etc. FRP polyester reinforced composite honeycomb panel (sandwich panel) is made of polyester reinforced plastic, multi-axial high-strength glass fiber and PP honeycomb panel in special antiskid tread pattern mold through the process of constant temperature vacuum adsorption & agglutination and solidification.
Sandwich theory describes the behaviour of a beam, plate, or shell which consists of three layers - two face sheets and one core. The most commonly used sandwich theory is linear and is an extension of first order beam theory. Linear local buckling sandwich theory is of importance for the design and analysis of Sandwich plates or sandwich panels, which are of use in building construction, vehicle construction, airplane construction and refrigeration engineering.