Applied Composite Materials

, Volume 20, Issue 4, pp 553–568 | Cite as

Development of Through-Thickness Reinforcement in Advanced Composites Incorporating Rigid Cellular Foams



This paper presents a method of joining carbon-fibre plies and rigid cellular foam core with stitching for producing light-weight composite structures. After resin infusion and consolidation, the stitched sandwich panel exhibits superior damage tolerance as well as improved transverse properties due to the presence of through-thickness fibre reinforcement. First part of the paper deals with the conceptual development of a multi-needle stitching machine for rigid foams. A needle penetration model for computing the penetration forces has been reported—there is a good agreement between the experimental and theoretical penetration force-displacement curves. A number of sandwich panels with orthogonal and bias stitch orientations have been developed and examined for stitch quality with the aid of X-ray tomography. The paper also presents results from quasi-static indentation, three-point bending and transverse compression tests, on both the stitched and unstitched sandwich panels.


Multi-needle stitching Rigid foam Sandwich structures Through-thickness Damage tolerance 


  1. 1.
    Astrom, B.T.: Manufacturing of Polymer Composites. Chapman&Hall, London (1997)Google Scholar
  2. 2.
    Grant, C.: Automated tape layer processing for composite components, 5th Annual SPE Automative Composites Conference, Troy, Michigan, 12–14 Sept 2005Google Scholar
  3. 3.
    Coriolis Composites. (2012). Accessed April 2012
  4. 4.
    Lukaszewicz, D.H.J.A., Ward, C., Potter, K.D.: The engineering aspects of automated prepreg layup: History, present and future. Compos. Part B 43(3), 991–1009 (2012)CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  5. 5.
    Beckwith, S.W.: Resin infusion technology: Part 1-Industry highlights. SAMPE J. 43(1), 61 (2007)Google Scholar
  6. 6.
    Black, S.: A400M Cargo Door: Out of the Autoclave, Composites World. (2012)
  7. 7.
  8. 8.
    Dexter, H.B.: An overview of the NASA textile composites programme. Proceedings of Fibre-Tex, pp. 1–31. NASA Conference Publication (1992)Google Scholar
  9. 9.
    Dow, M.: The advanced stitching machine: Making composite wing structures of the future. NASA Facts, Langley Research Centre. (1997)
  10. 10.
    Mouritz, A.P., Cox, B.N.A.: Mechanistic approach to the properties of stitched laminates. Compos. A 31(1), 1–27 (1999)CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  11. 11.
    Ogale, A., Mitschang, P.: Tailoring of textile preforms for fibre reinforced polymer composites. J. Ind. Text. 34(2), 77–96 (2004)CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  12. 12.
    QinetiQ data sheet-stitching dry fibre preforms. (2012). Accessed April 2012
  13. 13.
    Partridge, I.K., Pickett, A.K., Mills, A.: Robotic Localised Reinforcement of Composite Structures, Project IMRC 27. Cranfield University (2004)Google Scholar
  14. 14.
    Stanley, L.E. and Adams, D.O.: Development and Evaluation of Stitched Sandwich Panels. NASA/CR-2001-211025. Langley Research Centre (2001)Google Scholar
  15. 15.
    Potluri, P., Kusak, E., Reddy, T.Y.: Novel stitch-bonded sandwich composite structures. Compos. Struct. 59, 251–259 (2003)CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  16. 16.
    Stoll, F., Banerjee, R., Campbell, S., Day, S.: Manufacture of fibre-reinforced foam composite sandwich structures, WebCore Technologies Inc. American Society of Composites 16th Annual Technical Conference. Blacksburg Virginia (2001)Google Scholar
  17. 17.
    Le Roy, G., Binetruy, C., amd Krawczak, P.: Sandwich structures 7: Advancing with sandwich structures and materials, Part 7, 693–702 (2005) doi:10.1007/1-4020-3848-8_70Google Scholar
  18. 18.
    Guilleminot, J., Comas-Cardona, S., Kondo, D., Binetruy, C., Krawczak, P.: Multiscale modelling of the composite reinforced foam core of a 3D sandwich structure. Compos. Sci. Technol. (2008). doi:10.1016/j.compstech
  19. 19.
    Lascoup, B., Aboura, Z., Khellil, K., Benzeggagh: On the mechanical effect of stitch addition in sandwich panel. Compos. Sci. Technol. 66, 1385–1398 (2006)CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  20. 20.
    Aktas, A.: Multi needle stitch-bonded sandwich composites for improved damage tolerance. PhD Thesis. School of Materials, University of Manchester (2011)Google Scholar

Copyright information

© Springer Science+Business Media B.V. 2012

Authors and Affiliations

  1. 1.Textile Composites Group, North West Composites CentreUniversity of ManchesterManchesterUK
  2. 2.Faculty of Engineering and the EnvironmentUniversity of SouthamptonSouthamptonUK

Personalised recommendations