Date of Award


Degree Name

MS in Mechanical Engineering


Mechanical Engineering


College of Engineering


Joseph Mello

Advisor Department

Mechanical Engineering

Advisor College

College of Engineering


Edgewise crushing responses of composite aluminum honeycomb sandwich structures were predicted using finite element analysis (FEA) software LS-DYNA by modeling the honeycomb as a material with anisotropic properties. The goal of the project was to develop a process for modeling the sandwich structure to rapidly iterate possible solutions for a safer workstation train table. Current workstation tables are too rigid and may cause injury or death in a head-on collision. Experimental compression tests were used to calibrate the aluminum honeycomb core with material type 26 (MAT 26, honeycomb). A published composite tensile test was used to validate the use of material type 22 (MAT 22, composite damage) for laminates. Finally, a model was made to recreate the results of a published compression test of an aluminum honeycomb sandwich structure with aluminum sheet metal face sheets to confirm contact types.

With each component of the model verified separately, three plain weave composite aluminum honeycomb sandwich structures were modeled, one with [0/90] composite sheets completely bonded to the core, one with [0/90] composite sheets partially bonded to the core, and one with [±45] composite sheets partially bonded to the core. The failure modes for each sandwich structure were previously shown through research and the elastic region of the response was checked for accuracy using a simple beam theory. The analysis suggests that incorporating unbonded zones into the sandwich structure will change the failure mode from general buckling to face wrinkling, which effectively lowers the failure strength while not sacrificing energy absorption throughout loading. The analysis also indicates that using an angled ply orientation will lower the initial stiffness and the failure load. Future work is recommended such as performing compression tests with composite aluminum honeycomb sandwich structures and integrating delamination failure modes into the model using cohesive elements.