Polymer foam core sandwich structures have broad applications in construction, logistics, marine, aircraft, automotive, wind energy, and several other industries. This class of engineering materials has long been attractive to designers because in a given application, the load-carrying material can be distributed to provide an optimum combination of stiffness and strength for a given weight. Modern sandwich structures are expected to offer economic advantages by means of cost and weight reduction as well as more reliability.

One major application of sandwich structures is wind energy. Wind blade shells are usually constructed with sandwich composites to resist frequent aerodynamic and gravitational loads during the operation of the turbine. In order to increase the capacity and efficiency of wind turbines, larger rotor designs are needed. As a result, high performance smart materials, which are lighter, cheaper, less fluctuating in properties, and more readily available, are highly desired. In this case, one approach has been using polymer foams as complimentary core materials in a combination with Balsa wood, which is a traditional core in wind industry. In a hybrid approach to sandwich design, over-engineering is avoided and different core types can be arranged in a way that weight, price, and reliability are optimized.

As part of this global trend, the department of polymer engineering at the university of Bayreuth has been involved in extensive mechanical characterization of foam core sandwich structures, especially fatigue flexural properties. Understanding the influence of different foam cores and contour core cuts on the bending and shear behavior of the sandwich structures has been a research focus.

Contact: M.Sc. Tobias Standau
Phone: +49 921 5574-40
Fax: +49 921 5574-73
Email: tobias.standau@uni-bayreuth.de