While the polymeric foam cored sandwiches have been realized for many years, recently there is a growing and outstanding interest on the use of sandwiches consisting of aluminum foam core because of their some of the distinct mechanical properties such as high bending stiffness, high load carrying and energy absorption capacities. These properties make them very useful in the transportation industry (automotive, aerospace, shipbuilding industry), where the "lightweight design" philosophy and the safety of vehicles are very important aspects. Therefore, in this study, the sandwich panels with aluminum alloy foam core and various types and thicknesses of glass fiber reinforced polymer (GFRP) skins produced via Vacuum Assisted Resin Transfer Molding (VARTM) technique were obtained by using a commercial toughened epoxy based adhesive with two components. The aim of this contribution was the analysis of the bending response of sandwiches with various glass fiber reinforced polymer skins. The three point bending tests were performed on sandwich panels at different values of support span distance using a universal static testing machine in order to clarify the effects of the type and thickness of the GFRP skins in terms of peak load, energy efficiency and absorbed energy values. The GFRP skins were easily bonded to the aluminum alloy foam core under press machine with a very low pressure. The main results of the bending tests are: force-displacement curves, peak force values, absorbed energy, collapse mechanisms and the influence of the support span length and GFRP skins. The obtained results of the experimental investigation presented that the sandwich with the skin made of thicker S-Glass fabric failed at the highest load and absorbed the highest amount of energy compared to the other sandwich specimens. The increment of the support span distance made the decrease of the peak force and absorbed energy values for each type of panels. The common collapse mechanism of the panels was obtained as core shear failure which was not affected by the skin materials and the support span distance.
The material selection in the design of the sandwich structures is very crucial aspect because of the positive or negative influences of the base materials to the mechanical properties of the entire panel. In the literature, it was presented that the selection of the skin and core materials plays very important role on the behavior of the sandwich. Beside this, the use of the correct adhesive can make the whole structure to show better mechanical results and behavior. In the present work, the static three-point bending tests were performed on the sandwiches having an aluminum alloy foam core, the skins made of three different types of fabrics and two different commercial adhesives (flexible polyurethane and toughened epoxy based) at different values of support span distances by aiming the analyses of their flexural performance in terms of absorbed energy, peak force values and collapse mechanisms. The main results of the flexural loading are: force-displacement curves obtained after the bending tests, peak force and absorbed energy values, collapse mechanisms and adhesion quality. The experimental results presented that the sandwiches with epoxy based toughened adhesive and the skins made of S-Glass Woven fabrics indicated the best adhesion quality and mechanical properties. The sandwiches with toughened adhesive exhibited higher peak force and energy absorption values compared to the sandwiches with flexible adhesive. The use of these sandwich structures can lead to a weight reduction of the transport vehicles, providing an adequate structural strength under operating conditions.
Metallic foams have good potential for lightweight structures for impact and blast mitigation. Therefore it is important to find out the optimized foam structure (i.e. cell size, shape, relative density, and distribution) to maximise energy absorption. In this paper, quasistatic compression and microstructural characterization of closed-cell aluminium foams of different pore size and cell distributions have been carried out. We present results for two different aluminium metal foams of density 0.49-0.51 g/cc and 0.31- 0.34 g/cc respectively that have been tested in quasi-static compression. The influence of cell geometry and cell topology on quasistatic compression behaviour has been investigated using optical microscope and computed tomography (micro-CT) analysis. It is shown that the deformation is not uniform in the structure and collapse begins at the weakest point.