Free vibration of actual aircraft and spacecraft hexagonal honeycomb sandwich panels: A practical detailed FE approach

  • Received : 2019.01.24
  • Accepted : 2019.01.29
  • Published : 2019.03.25


This work presents a practical detailed finite element (FE) approach for the three-dimensional (3D) free-vibration analysis of actual aircraft and spacecraft-type lightweight and thin honeycomb sandwich panels. It consists of calling successively in $MATLAB^{(R)}$, via a developed user-friendly GUI, a detailed 3D meshing tool, a macrocommands language translator and a commercial FE solver($ABAQUS^{(R)}$ or $ANSYS^{(R)}$). In contrary to the common practice of meshing finely the faces and core cells, the proposed meshing tool represents each wall of the actual hexagonal core cells as a single two-dimensional (2D) 4 nodes quadrangularshell element or two 3 nodes triangular ones, while the faces meshes are obtained simply using the nodes at the core-faces interfaces. Moreover, as the same 2D FE interpolation type is used for meshing the core and faces, this leads to an automatic handling of their required FE compatibility relations. This proposed approach is applied to a sample made of very thin glass fiber reinforced polymer woven composite faces and a thin aluminum alloy hexagonal honeycomb core. The unknown or incomplete geometric and materials properties are first collected through direct measurements, reverse engineering techniques and experimental-FE modal analysis-based inverse identification. Then, the free-vibrations of the actual honeycomb sandwich panel are analyzed experimentally under different boundary conditions and numerically using different mesh basic cell shapes. It is found that this approach is accurate for the first few modes used for pre-design purpose.



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