Simplified analytical model for tapered sandwich beams using variable stiffness materials

Qing Ai*, Paul M Weaver

*Corresponding author for this work

Research output: Contribution to journalArticle (Academic Journal)peer-review

17 Citations (Scopus)
554 Downloads (Pure)


A simplified layer-wise sandwich beam model to capture the effects of axial stiffness variation from a combination of geometric taper and variable stiffness properties of the core on the static response of sandwich beam is developed. In the present model, the face sheets are assumed to behave as Euler beams and the core is modelled with a first order shear deformation theory. With geometrical compatibility enforced at both upper and lower skin/core interfaces, the beam’s field functions are reduced to only three, namely the extensional, transverse and rotational displacements at the mid-plane of the core. The minimum total potential energy method is used in combination with the Ritz technique to obtain an approximate solution. Geometrically nonlinear effects are considered in the present formulation by introducing von Karman strains into the face sheets and core. Two types of sandwich beams, uniform and tapered, with different boundary conditions are studied. Results show that the proposed model provides accurate prediction of displacements and stresses, compared to three dimensional finite element analysis. It is found that due to the axial stiffness variation in the core, displacements of beams and stresses of face sheets and core are significantly affected. The potential design space is shown to be expanded by utilizing variable stiffness materials in sandwich constructions.
Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)3-25
Number of pages23
JournalJournal of Sandwich Structures and Materials
Issue number1
Early online date9 Mar 2016
Publication statusPublished - 1 Jan 2017


  • axially graded core
  • nonlinear model
  • Ritz method
  • sandwich beams
  • Variable stiffness


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