A computational methodology to select the best material combinations and optimally design composite sandwich panels for minimum cost
Smith, Ryan E.
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A procedure to select the best material combination and optimally design sandwich laminates with fibre reinforced skins and low density cores for minimum cost is described. Sandwich constructions generally provide improved stiffness/mass ratios and provide more tailoring opportunities than monolithics, and thus greater chance of satisfying design constraints. The objective of the optimisation is to minimise the laminate cost by selecting the skin and core material combination, layer thicknesses and skin fibre angles optimally, subject to load and mass constraints. As the optimisation problem contains a number of continuous (ply angles and thicknesses) and discrete (material combinations) design variables, a sequential solution procedure is devised in which the optimal variables are computed in different stages. The methodology and its benefits are demonstrated using graphite, glass or kevlar/epoxy facings, and balsa or PVC cores.