The influence of elevated temperature on the stability of sandwich structures is investigated. A new analytical solution is proposed that enables the calculation of the critical wrinkling stress in sandwich beams subjected to load and elevated temperatures. The effect of a through thickness temperature gradient is accounted for by imposing different stiffnesses of the core for the different temperatures. The sandwich beam studied in the paper is loaded in a simply supported four-point bending configuration, where one of the face sheets is heated. The experimental approach utilises high-speed imaging where the strains are calculated from measured displacements obtained from digital image correlation (DIC). A shift of the failure mode from face sheet yielding to face sheet wrinkling is observed with increasing temperatures. The results from the new analytical method agree well with corresponding experimental results. Finite element analysis is also conducted, which shows excellent correspondence with the theory and the experimental data. The work clearly demonstrates that under certain conditions the load response of the sandwich beam can become nonlinear and unstable, and hence will fail well below face sheet yielding load because of the loss of stiffness of the core material.
- foam cored sandwich structures, thermal degradation, failure modes, wrinkling