Variable stiffness sandwich panels using electrostatic interlocking core

Callum Heath, Ian Bond, Kevin Potter

Research output: Chapter in Book/Report/Conference proceedingConference Contribution (Conference Proceeding)

1 Citation (Scopus)
308 Downloads (Pure)


Structural topology has a large impact on the flexural stiffness of a beam structure. Reversible attachment between discrete substructures allows for control of shear stress transfer between structural elements, thus stiffness modulation. Electrostatic adhesion has shown promise for providing a reversible latching mechanism for controllable internal connectivity. Building on previous research, a thin film copper polyimide laminate has been used to incorporate high voltage electrodes to Fibre Reinforced Polymer (FRP) sandwich structures. The level of electrostatic holding force across the electrode interface is key to the achievable level of stiffness modulation. The use of non-flat interlocking core structures can allow for a significant increase in electrode contact area for a given core geometry, thus a greater electrostatic holding force. Interlocking core geometries based on cosine waves can be Computer Numerical Control (CNC) machined from Rohacell IGF 110 Foam core. These Interlocking Core structures could allow for enhanced variable stiffness functionality compared to basic planar electrodes. This novel concept could open up potential new applications for electrostatically induced variable stiffness structures.
Original languageEnglish
Title of host publicationActive and Passive Smart Structures and Integrated Systems 2016
PublisherSociety of Photo-Optical Instrumentation Engineers (SPIE)
Number of pages9
Publication statusPublished - 15 Apr 2016


  • Electrostatic Adhesion
  • Composite
  • Functionality
  • Variable Stiffness

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