Improving four-point bending performance of marine composite sandwich beams by core modification
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The aim of this study was to improve four-point bending performance of foam core sandwich composite beams by applying various core machining configurations. Sandwich composites have been manufactured using perforated and grooved foam cores by vacuum-assisted resin transfer moulding method with vinyl-ester resin system. The influence of grooves and perforations on the mechanical performance of marine sandwich composite beams was investigated under four-point bending test considering the weight gain. Bending strength and effective bending stiffness increased up to 34% and 61%, respectively, in comparison to a control beam without core modification. Analytical equations were utilised for calculating the mid-span deflection, equivalent bending stiffness and ultimate bending strength of the sandwich beams. Finite element analysis was also performed to analyse the flexural response of the specimens taking into account the combined effect of orthotropic linear elasticity of the face sheet and the non-linear behaviour of the foam core.