SYMPOSIA PAPER Published: 01 January 1981

Low-Velocity Impact Tests on Fibrous Composite Sandwich Structures


An experimental investigation was conducted to assess the damage tolerance of composite sandwich structures subjected to low-velocity projectile impact. Sandwich-type specimens fabricated with graphite/epoxy materials having laminate configurations such as (±45,04)s, (±45,90,0)s, and (90, ±45,0)s were tested. Impact tests were performed at low energy levels to assess the strength degradation of composite laminates when compared with their ultimate strengths. Low-energy projectile impact was considered to simulate typically the damage caused by runway debris and the accidental dropping of hand tools during servicing and other similar objects on secondary aircraft structures fabricated with composites. The preload and impact energy combination necessary to cause catastrophic failure was determined. The residual strength of specimens that survived the impact damage was also measured.

Based on the experimental results, a faired curve indicating the lower bound of the failure threshold for each of the laminate configurations tested in compression and tension as a function of the projectile impact energy is shown. Further, the strength degradation due to impact is found to be dependent on the laminate configuration and the fiber/matrix combination.

Author Information

Sharma, AV
North Carolina A. & T. State University, Greensboro, N. C.
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Developed by Committee: D30
Pages: 54–70
DOI: 10.1520/STP29303S
ISBN-EB: 978-0-8031-4800-0
ISBN-13: 978-0-8031-0700-7