The development of novel composite sandwich structures with integrated shock absorbing functionality

Simon R.G. Bates, Ian R. Farrow, Richard S. Trask

Research output: Contribution to conferenceConference Paperpeer-review


The strategic replacement of the stiff core with compliant cellular materials in regions of a composite sandwich panel has the potential to integrate a shock absorbing functionality into an otherwise rigid structure. This work describes the development and preliminary analysis of 3D printed thermoplastic polyurethane (TPU) energy absorbing cellular architectures. A parametric study was undertaken to assess the compressive behaviour and energy absorbing characteristics of potential cellular inclusions with both hexagonal and multi re-entrant, auxetic topologies. In our study, we investigate the effect of varying the size and internal angles of unit cells on the compressive response of the global arrays, up to strains of 75%. Samples are loaded globally and locally in compression with flat plates and cylindrical indenters, respectively; the cell collapse behaviour for both cases are captured. The energy absorbing capability of the macroscopic cellular structures was analysed through the generation of a series of energy absorption diagrams derived directly from the stress-strain curves obtained. In our study, it was found that by varying the loading conditions on the 3D printed polyurethane cellular arrays, the cell buckling modes could be controlled, with the promotion of different collapse behaviour leading to unique energy absorption profiles, at large elastic strains. This study has shown the potential for novel 3D printed architectures for energy absorption. The ongoing effective characterisation of material and structure will ultimately facilitate in the design of recoverable, hyperelastic cellular structures with energy absorption profiles tailored to specific impact events.

Original languageEnglish
Publication statusPublished - 1 Jan 2015
Event20th International Conference on Composite Materials, ICCM 2015 - Copenhagen, Denmark
Duration: 19 Jul 201524 Jul 2015


Conference20th International Conference on Composite Materials, ICCM 2015


  • Cellular structures
  • Elastomers
  • Sandwich panels
  • Shock absorption


Dive into the research topics of 'The development of novel composite sandwich structures with integrated shock absorbing functionality'. Together they form a unique fingerprint.

Cite this