, Volume 12, Issue 3-4, pp 193-211

High Strain Rate Response of Sandwich Composites with Nanophased Cores

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Polyurethane foam materials have been used as core materials in a sandwich construction with S2-Glass/SC-15 facings. The foam material has been manufactured from liquid polymer precursors of polyurethane. The precursors are made of two components; part-A (diphenylmethane diisocyanate) and part-B (polyol). In one set of experiments, part-A was mixed with part-B to manufacture the foam. In another set, TiO2 nanoparticles have been dispersed in part-A through ultrasonic cavitation technique. The loading of nanoparticles was 3% by weight of the total polymer precursor. The TiO2 nanoparticles were spherical in shape, and were about 29 nm in diameter. Sonic cavitation was carried out with a vibrasound liquid processor at 20 kHz frequency with a power intensity of about 100 kW/m2. The two categories of foams manufactured in this manner were termed as neat and nanophased. Sandwich composites were then fabricated using these two categories of core materials using a co-injection resin transfer molding (CIRTM) technique. Test samples extracted from the panel were subjected to quasi-static as well as high strain rate loadings. Rate of loading varied from 0.002 s−1 to around 1300 s−1. It has been observed that infusion of nanoparticles had a direct correlation with the cell geometry. The cell dimensions increased by about 46% with particle infusion suggesting that nanoparticles might have worked as catalysts during the foaming process. Correspondingly, enhancement in thermal properties was also noticed especially in the TGA experiments. There was also a significant improvement in mechanical properties due to nanoparticle infusion. Average increase in sandwich strength and energy absorption with nanophased cores was between 40–60% over their neat counterparts. Details of manufacturing and analyses of thermal and mechanical tests are presented in this paper.