Fundamental Characteristics of 3-D GFRP Pultruded Sandwich Panels

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Title: Fundamental Characteristics of 3-D GFRP Pultruded Sandwich Panels
Author: Patrick, Jason Fredrick
Advisors: Dr. Paul Zia, Committee Member
Dr. Sami Rizkalla, Committee Chair
Dr. Vernon Matzen, Committee Member
Abstract: This research presents the behavior of proposed 3-D glass fiber reinforced polymer (GFRP) pultruded sandwich panels designed to enhance the structural efficiency and to overcome delamination problems typically exhibited by traditional FRP panels. The sandwich panels consist of GFRP laminate plates at the top and bottom, separated by a polyurethane foam core, and connected by through-thickness fibers to achieve composite action. The use of the through-thickness fibers prevents delamination-type failures, increases the out-of-plane properties of the panels, allows low cost manufacturing, and ensures full utilization of the individual material strengths. The fundamental material characteristics of the sandwich panels are evaluated in three phases. The first phase evaluates the in-plane tensile properties of the GFRP laminate face sheets to determine the effects, if any, of the through-thickness fiber insertion pattern and test direction. The second phase investigates the shear behavior of the tested panels in order to evaluate the effects of various parameters, including through-thickness fiber insertion pattern, corresponding fiber insertions per square inch (fipsi), and testing direction (parallel and perpendicular to pultrusion direction). The third phase focuses on the flexural behavior of the sandwich panels in order to evaluate the effects of the same parameters in addition to the effects of varying panel widths and span lengths. The analytical phase of the research investigation incorporates the measured tensile and shear material characteristics in conjunction with Elementary and Advanced Sandwich Theories to predict the flexural behavior of the 3-D GFRP panels. Based upon these research findings, recommendations are proposed to the manufacturer and design engineers planning to use these sandwich panels in structural applications. The current research has shown these panels are a viable, cost-effective alternative which can be customized for various applications, such as pedestrian bridge decks, construction and industrial mats, truck trailer or rail car components, and marine environment applications.
Date: 2008-05-10
Degree: MS
Discipline: Civil Engineering

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