2015 journal article
Low-energy drop weight performance of cellular sandwich panels
RAPID PROTOTYPING JOURNAL, 21(4), 433–442.
Purpose – The aim of this study is to perform a comparative study on sandwich structures with several types of three-dimensional (3D) reticulate cellular structural core designs for their low-energy impact absorption abilities using powder bed additive manufacturing methods. 3D reticulate cellular structures possess promising potentials in various applications with sandwich structure designs. One of the properties critical to the sandwich structures in applications, such as aerospace and automobile components, is the low-energy impact performance. Design/methodology/approach – Sandwich samples of various designs, including re-entrant auxetic, rhombic, hexagonal and octahedral, were designed and fabricated via selective laser sintering (SLS) process using nylon 12 as material. Low-energy drop weight test was performed to evaluate the energy absorption of various designs. Tensile coupons were also produced using the same process to provide baseline material properties. The manufacturing issues such as geometrical accuracy and anisotropy effect as well as their effects on the performance of the structures were discussed. Findings – In general, 3D reticulate cellular structures made by SLS process exhibit significantly different characteristics under low-energy drop weight impact compared to the regular extruded honeycomb sandwich panels. A hexagonal sandwich panel exhibits the largest compliance with the smallest energy absorption ability, and an octahedral sandwich panel exhibits high stiffness as well as good impact protection ability. Through a proper geometrical design, the re-entrant auxetic sandwich panels could achieve a combination of high energy absorption and low response force, making it especially attractive for low-impact protection applications. Originality/value – There has been little work on the comparative study of the energy absorption of various 3D reticulate cellular structures to date. This work demonstrates the potential of 3D reticulate cellular structures as sandwich cores for different purposes. This work also demonstrates the possibility of controlling the performance of this type of sandwich structures via geometrical and process design of the cellular cores with powder bed additive manufacturing systems.