Compressive strength of honeycomb-stiffened graphite/epoxy sandwich panels with barely-visible indentation damage

Michael W. Czabaj, Alan T. Zehnder, Barry D. Davidson, Abhendra K. Singh

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

9 Scopus citations


This study examines the parametric effects of core density, core thickness, face-sheet stacking sequence, and indentor diameter on the compressive strength of aluminum honeycomb-core sandwich panels stiffened with eight-ply, quasi-isotropic, graphite/epoxy face sheets. The sandwich panels contained damage at the threshold of visual detectability created through quasi-static indentation with 25.4 mm or 76.2 mm-diameter spherical indentors. During compression-after-indentation testing, failure occurred due to: dent deepening followed by localized, compressive micro-buckling of fibers in the 0° plies; localized buckling of the near-free-surface sub-laminates; or unstable dent growth in the direction lateral to the applied compressive load. Regardless of failure mode or face-sheet type, the compression-after-indentation strength increased with increasing core thickness and with decreasing core density. Additionally, panels containing face sheets with the 0° plies near the mid-plane and 45° angle change between subsequent plies exhibited greater undamaged compressive strength and higher compression-after-indentation strength relative to panels containing 90° angle changes between subsequent plies and 0° plies near the free surface. The compression-after-indentation strength was found to be relatively unaffected by the indentor diameter size and the resulting variations in the face sheet and core damage. These results imply that precise representation of the damage state in models to predict the post-indentation response of sandwich panels may not be necessary in order to make accurate average residual strength predictions.

Original languageEnglish (US)
Pages (from-to)2455-2471
Number of pages17
JournalJournal of Composite Materials
Issue number20
StatePublished - Aug 2014


  • Sandwich
  • barely visible
  • composite
  • quasi-static
  • residual compressive strength

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • Ceramics and Composites
  • Mechanics of Materials
  • Mechanical Engineering
  • Materials Chemistry


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