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Simulation of the forming process for curved composite sandwich panels

Chen, S.; McGregor, O.P. L.; Endruweit, A.; Harper, L. T.; Warrior, N. A.

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S. Chen

O.P. L. McGregor

Associate Professor - Composites Manufacturing

Professor of Mechanical Engineering & Head of Research Division


© 2019, The Author(s). For affordable high-volume manufacture of sandwich panels with complex curvature and varying thickness, fabric skins and a core structure are simultaneously press-formed using a set of matched tools. A finite-element-based process simulation was developed, which takes into account shearing of the reinforcement skins, multi-axial deformation of the core structure, and friction at the interfaces. Meso-scale sandwich models, based on measured properties of the honeycomb cell walls, indicate that panels deform primarily in bending if out-of-plane movement of the core is unconstrained, while local through-thickness crushing of the core is more important in the presence of stronger constraints. As computational costs for meso-scale models are high, a complementary macro-scale model was developed for simulation of larger components. This is based on experimentally determined homogenised properties of the honeycomb core. The macro-scale model was employed to analyse forming of a generic component. Simulations predicted the poor localised conformity of the sandwich to the tool, as observed on a physical component. It was also predicted accurately that fibre shear angles in the skins are below the critical angle for onset of fabric wrinkling.


Chen, S., McGregor, O. L., Endruweit, A., Harper, L. T., & Warrior, N. A. (2020). Simulation of the forming process for curved composite sandwich panels. International Journal of Material Forming, 13, 967–980.

Journal Article Type Article
Acceptance Date Oct 22, 2019
Online Publication Date Dec 10, 2019
Publication Date 2020-11
Deposit Date Nov 6, 2019
Publicly Available Date Nov 6, 2019
Journal International Journal of Material Forming
Print ISSN 1960-6206
Electronic ISSN 1960-6214
Publisher Springer Verlag
Peer Reviewed Peer Reviewed
Volume 13
Pages 967–980
Keywords General Materials Science
Public URL
Publisher URL
Additional Information Received: 4 July 2019; Accepted: 25 October 2019; First Online: 10 December 2019; : ; : The authors declare that they have no conflict of interest.


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