In practice, adjacent preform sandwich cores are joined with a simple butt joint without special precautions. When molded, this gap is filled with resin and creates a resin rich area. Stress risers will be amplified under cyclic load, and consequently, the serviceability of the structure will be affected. Designers and researchers are aware of this problem; however, quantifying this effect and its intensity and consequence on the service life of the structures has not yet been developed. Despite pervious findings, limited experimental data backed by a comprehensive root cause failure analysis is available for sandwich under axial static, fatigue and post-fatigue. If such a comprehensive experimental characterization is conducted, specifically understanding the nature of the damage, intensity, and residual strength, then a valid multi-scale damage model could be generated to predict the material state and fatigue life of similar composite structures with/without core joints under in-plane static and fatigue load.
This research study characterized the effect of scarf and butt core joints in foam core sandwich structures under in-plane static and fatigue loads (R=0.1 and R= -1). Post-Fatigue tensile tests were also performed to predict the residual strength of such structures. Nondestructive Evaluation Techniques were used to locate the stress concentrations and damage creation. A logical blend of experimental and analytical prediction of the service life of composite sandwich structures is carried out. The testing protocol and the S-N curves provided in this work could be reproducible and extrapolated to any kind of core material. This research study will benefit composite engineers and joint designers in both academia and industry to better apprehend the influence of core joints and its consequence on the functionality of sandwich structures.