Sandwiched Composites Offer Promise For Marine Industry

Last autumn leading researchers gathered at the American Society of Mechanical Engineers (ASME) conference to discuss, among other things, the properties and possibilities of increasing the utilization of lightweight honeycomb sandwiched between curved composite panels in marine applications. Ship and boat designers, builders and owners, ever mindful of the need to minimize weight while maintaining strength and safety in an effort to reduce fuel costs, are constantly testing and exploring a wide range of new materials and composites.

The key attribute of a sandwich structure is its light weight, which owes to the honeycomb-like design of the inner core, wrapped around the inner core of the sandwich structure are the aluminum and composite panels, or facing sheets.

These panels accept most of the moisture, pressure loads and weight bearing forces exerted from external conditions.

Although the panels of the sandwich structure take most of the pressure, researchers believe that it is critical that the core material be able to withstand some external forces. Engineering approaches to improved designs include reinforcing the core material and creating more separation between the core and outer panels.

Particular challenges with the structure, and the target of much research, is the breakage points of certain sandwich s t r u c - t u r e s .

S t r o n g e r epoxy agents and improved curing methods are believed to prevent such damage.

Maritime Reporter Magazine, page 57,  Mar 2000

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Maritime Reporter

First published in 1881 Maritime Reporter is the world's largest audited circulation publication serving the global maritime industry.