Evaluation of Skin-Core Adhesion Bond of Out-Of-Autoclave Honeycomb Sandwich Structures


Springer, G.


Composite sandwich structures offer several advantages over conventional structural materials such as lightweight, high bending and torsional stiffness, superior thermal insulation and excellent acoustic damping. One failure mechanism in a composite sandwich structure is the debonding of the composite facesheets from the core structure. A well-formed adhesive fillet at the interface of the honeycomb core cell walls and the laminate is a significant factor in preventing bond failure. In the present work, honeycomb composite sandwich panels are manufactured using a low-cost vacuum-bag-pressure-only out-of-autoclave manufacturing process. CYCOM®5320 out-of autoclave prepreg is used for the facesheet laminates and FM® 300-2U film adhesive is used for the facesheet-to-core bond. The manufactured composite sandwich panels are of aerospace quality with a facesheet laminate void content of around 1%. In this study, adhesive fillet formation and adhesive mechanical strength are evaluated as a function of several different sandwich construction design variables. Both aluminum and aramid Nomex® honeycomb core materials are considered to study the effect of core cell size and core material. The effect of film adhesive thickness is studied. A process for reticulation of the adhesive is applied and studied. A quantitative investigation of the adhesive fillet geometry is carried out for all the panels. Manufactured panels are evaluated for flatwise tensile strength in accordance with test method ASTM C297. Optimized combinations of core material, core density, cell size and adhesive thickness are identified. Results show that the reticulation process improves fillet formation and increases flatwise tensile properties.


Mechanical and Aerospace Engineering

Keywords and Phrases

Sandwich Structures; Honeycomb; Debonding; Adhesive Fillet; Prepreq; Out-Of-Autoclave; Flatwise Tensile Strength; Void

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Document Type

Article - Journal

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© 2012 SAGE Publications, All rights reserved.

Publication Date

01 Jan 2012