Indentation of metallic foam core sandwich panels with soft aluminium face sheets

Tania Vodenitcharova*, Kaveh Kabir, Mark Hoffman

*Corresponding author for this work

Research output: Contribution to journalArticle

12 Citations (Scopus)


A closed-form analytical model is presented for the deformation and fracture behaviour of sandwich panels with ductile foam cores and low yield-strength face sheets when subjected to quasi-static indentation with hemispherical indenters of various diameters and compared with an extensive experimental investigation. The aim is to predict the indentation strength and the influence of the indenter size on it. The face sheet is assumed an isotropic thin sheet undergoing large tensile deformation and bonded to a rigid-plastic foundation. The indentation strength of the sandwich panel is presented as a superposition of the force contributions of the skin, the foam core and the interfacial shear at the skin-foam interface at the point of skin fracture. To validate the model, sandwich panels with 0.32. mm thick sheets of AA 1100-O aluminium alloy and aluminium closed-cell foam core are quasi-statically indented with spherical indenters of 10, 15 and 20. mm diameters. It is established that failure of the sandwich panels is governed by radial skin fracture, and that the indenter size and the foam resistance greatly influence the indentation response as larger indenters are associated with higher failure loads. A simple parameter for system failure is ascertained, the subtended angle at the indenter-skin contact, which is dependent on the product of the indenter radius and the foam compressive strength. The developed model closely predicts the experimental load-displacement history and the failure loads and may be applied to any thin soft sheets bonded to a rigid-plastic foundation, and thus, to other sandwich constructions of similar constituents.

Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)175-185
Number of pages11
JournalMaterials Science and Engineering A
Publication statusPublished - 15 Dec 2012


  • Drawing theory
  • Hemispherical indenters
  • Indentation
  • Sandwich panels

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