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*

Department of Engineering, University of Cambridge, Trumpington Street, Cambridge CB2 1PZ, UK

Received 8 December 2003; accepted 28 July 2004

Abstract

Compression panels comprised of a corrugated core bonded to either one or two face sheets are

optimally designed for minimum weight. Results obtained from two optimization procedures are

compared: na ve optimization where simultaneous occurrence of failure modes is assumed, and

sequential quadratic programming (SQP) based optimization. A total of eight different panel

geometries are considered, including hat- and blade-stiffened panels, and square, triangular and

trapezoidal cores. From a weight standpoint, panels with hat-stiffeners are found to be the most

efcient for the given boundary conditions, about 40% lighter at some load levels than the least

efcient-sandwich panels with a square core.

q 2004 Elsevier Ltd. All rights reserved.

Keywords: Sandwich panels; Corrugated panels; Optimal design; Failure criterion

1. Introduction

Corrugated ber boards are efcient low-cost and low weight material widely used for

the transportation, storage and distribution of goods. As shown in Fig. 1, a typical

corrugated board comprises a lightweight core sandwiched between two skins [13].

When made of metallic materials, the corrugated panels are also attractive for structural

applications (e.g. airplanes, ships and buildings) and can offer a wide range of design

0263-8231/$ - see front matter q 2004 Elsevier Ltd. All rights reserved.

doi:10.1016/j.tws.2004.07.014

Thin-Walled Structures 43 (2005) 477498

www.elsevier.com/locate/tws

* Corresponding author. Tel.: C44 1223 766316; fax: C44 1223 332662.

E-mail address: tjl21@cam.ac.uk (T.J. Lu).

solutions due to weight savings, re resistance, noise control, and improved thermal

performance [411].

A variety of core geometries are available for corrugated panels, including sinusoidal,

triangular, trapezoidal and rectangular shaped cores, bonded by either one or two face

Notations

A cross-sectional area of panel per unit width

b top web length of trapezoid core

b

c

non-dimensional top web length of trapezoid core corresponding to critical

load p

c

c

1

, c

2

, c

3

, c

4

, c

5

constants dependent of panels

c

0

1

, c

0

2

constants dependent of panels

c

00

1

, c

00

2

constants dependent of panels

E Youngs modulus

H thickness of panel

H

c

non-dimensional thickness of panel corresponding to critical load p

c

I moment of inertia of panel per unit width

k

c

local buckling coefcient of core

k

s

local buckling coefcient of skin.

L length of panel

p compressive end load per unit width of panel

p non-dimensional compressive end load per unit width of panel

p

c

non-dimensional critical compressive end load per unit width of panel

T thickness of core

t

s

thickness of skin

t

s

non-dimensional thickness of skin

W weight of panel per unit width

a constant associated with minimum weight of panel

b constant associated with optimal stress of panel

3

y

yielding strain

l wavelength of core

l

c

non-dimensional wavelength of core corresponding to critical load p

c

n Poisson ratio

r density

s stress on panel section

s

1

, s

2

, s

3

, s

4

, failure stresses of panel

s

y

yielding strength

Y.S. Tian, T.J. Lu / Thin-Walled Structures 43 (2005) 477498 478

sheets (Figs. 1 and 2). To save manufacturing cost in the case of packaging boards (with

additional environmental benets), or to save weight for structural panels, it is important to

design the panels against minimum weight. In this paper, the minimum weight of a

corrugated panel subjected to uniform axial compressive loadthe most common type of

load experienced by the panelwill be calculated by using an optimization procedure

based on the sequential quadratic programming (SQP) algorithm. This optimization

procedure has been used recently by Wicks and Hutchinson [12] to design truss-cored

sandwich plates subject to prescribed combinations of bending and transverse shear loads.

The minimum weight is dependent upon the core geometry and face sheet thickness,

subject to the provisos that anywhere in the panel there is no yielding, local buckling and

global buckling. The optimal core geometry corresponding to the lowest minimum panel

weight will be identied. The solutions obtained from the SQP method will also be

Fig. 1. (a) A squared-cored corrugated panel subjected to axial compression; (b) geometry and notations for

square core.

Y.S. Tian, T.J. Lu / Thin-Walled Structures 43 (2005) 477498 479

compared to those from an approximate method proposed initially by Gerard [13] for a

hollow square tube but adapted here for corrugated panels.

2. Design concepts

With reference to Fig. 1, consider a thin-walled sandwich panel subjected to uniform

axial compressive force p (per unit width). For illustration, the optimization will initially

be placed on panels with a square corrugated core (Fig. 1b), but subsequently will be

extended to treat panels of other cross-sectional shapes (Fig. 2af). Let Hand L be the

height and length of the panel, t and l be the wall thickness and wavelength of the core,

Fig. 2. Panel geometries: (a) square core with one face sheet; (b) hat-stiffened panel; (c) triangular core with two

face sheets; (d) triangular core with one face sheet; (e) trapezoidal core with two face sheets; (f) trapezoidal core

with one face sheet; (g) nger-stiffened panel.

Y.S. Tian, T.J. Lu / Thin-Walled Structures 43 (2005) 477498 480

and t

s

be the thickness of the skins. The skins and the core are made of the same material,

with weight density r, Youngs modulus E, Poisson ratio n, and yield strength s

y

. The

panel has a moment of inertia given by

I Z

tH

2

4

C

tH

3

6l

C

t

s

H

2

2

(1)

and a cross-sectional area per unit width by

A Zt C

2Ht

l

C2t

s

(2)

The total weight of the panel per unit width is

W ZLr t C

2Ht

l

C2t

s

_ _

(3)

Optimal designs of the panel with simply supported top and bottom ends subjected to the

compressive force p will be considered, wherein the panel weight is minimized under the

constraints on the maximum stress sZp/A that none of the four possible failure modes

listed below occurs.

2.1. Overall buckling

Overall buckling of the panel will not take place if

s%s

1

h

p

2

EI

AL

2

(4)

2.2. Local buckling of core

Local buckling in the core is avoided if

s%s

2

h

p

2

E

121 Kn

2

t

H

_ _

2

k

2

c

(5)

where the parameter k

c

depends on the end conditions of the core member. For the core

plate of length L and width H, simply supported ends are assumed on the top and bottom

ends. For the side plate in one-skin panels, the effect of corners is similar to stiffeners,

which also can be simplied as simply supported ends, so k

2

c

Z4 is used in the present

calculations [14]. The effect of end conditions used on the optimization results is usually

small [12].

2.3. Local buckling of skins

Local buckling in the skins is avoided if

s%s

3

h

p

2

E

121 Kn

2

2t

s

l

_ _

2

k

2

s

(6)

Y.S. Tian, T.J. Lu / Thin-Walled Structures 43 (2005) 477498 481

where the parameter k

s

depends on the end conditions of the skin member. For the skin

plate of length L and width l, k

2

s

Z6:97 for simply supported top and bottom end as

mentioned above and clamped sides will be used in the present calculations [14].

2.4. Yielding

Yielding will not occur anywhere in the panel if

s%s

4

hs

y

(7)

For simplicity, no strain hardening effect is considered in this paper, although the analysis

presented herein can be straightforwardly extended to treat the case where material

hardening may be important [11]. Similarly, buckling in the inelastic range will not be

considered in the present optimization.

3. Optimization procedures

The maximum load, p, and panel length, L, are assumed to be pre-specied. Dene the

dimensionless load parameter as pZp=EL, and introduce the non-dimensional geometric

design variable as

x Zx=L (8)

where x may be H, l, t

s

or t. The non-dimensional weight of the panel to be minimized is

given by

W ZW=rL

2

Z

t C2

tH=l C2

t

s

(9)

It is noticed that parameters such as minimum gage thickness can have a signicant

inuence on panel efciency. However, in practice, the minimum gage of a panel

is dependent of its application. For example, a panel made of steel or aluminum sheet

should have different minimum gage than that of a ber cardboard. Consequently, non-

dimensional parameters are often used to deal with the issue (e.g. [11,17]). Since the focus

of this paper is placed on the general application of the optimization procedure, rather than

on the specic design of an individual panel, all panel parameters have been non-

dimensionalized to facilitate the comparison of different panels. If necessary, the analysis

can be modied to include more constraints such as minimum gage, maximum height,

maximum width, etc.

3.1. Simple-minded optimization

As a rst approximation, the minimum weight of a compression structure may be taken

as that corresponding to the simultaneous occurrence of all failure modes. Historically,

this simple-minded concept has been dubbed the na ve optimization [11], because the

structure would be over-designed if there exists a residual margin of safety with respect to

the secondary failure mode(s) when primary failure occurs. When the na ve optimization

Y.S. Tian, T.J. Lu / Thin-Walled Structures 43 (2005) 477498 482

procedure is adopted in a practical design, a knockdown factor is normally introduced to

account for the strong non-linear interaction of different failure modes [11].

For a corrugated panel under compression, the optimal design in the elastic regime is

dominated by overall buckling stress, s

1

, local buckling stress of the core, s

2

, and local

buckling stress of the web, s

3

. According to the na ve optimization, the minimum weight

of the panel is obtained by solving the following simultaneous equations:

s Z

p

2

EI

AL

2

Overall buckling (10a)

s Z

p

2

E

121 Kn

2

t

H

_ _

2

k

2

c

Local buckling of core (10b)

s Z

p

2

E

121 Kn

2

2t

s

l

_ _

2

k

2

s

Local buckling of skin (10c)

As there are four unknowns for a prescribed value of the load index p, a fourth equation is

needed. This is achieved rst by expressing

t,

t

s

and

l in terms of H/l from (10), yielding:

t

4

s

Z

31Kn

2

p

4

k

2

s

p

EL

_ _

2

k

s

H

l

_ _

C2k

s

H

l

_ _

2

C2

_ _

k

s

4

H

l

_ _

3

C

k

s

6

H

l

_ _

4

C

1

2

H

l

_ _

2

_ _

(11a)

t Zk

s

t

s

H

l

_ _

(11b)

l

2

Z

p

p

2

EL

k

s

4

H

l

_ _

3

C

k

s

6

H

l

_ _

4

C

1

2

H

l

_ _

2

1

t

s

(11c)

Substitution of the above relationships into (9) then results in

W Zf H=l; p (12)

where f is a dimensionless function. Finally, at given p, the minimization of

W with respect

to H/l gives the following optimal ratio of panel height to corrugation wavelength:

H

l

Z0:507 (13)

From (9), (11) and (13), the minimum panel weight as a function of load index is

obtained as

W

min

rL

2

Za

p

EL

_

(14)

where aZ1.14 for a sandwich panel with a square corrugated core. Upon substituting (13)

into (11), the optimal dimensions of the panel at minimum weight are obtained.

Y.S. Tian, T.J. Lu / Thin-Walled Structures 43 (2005) 477498 483

3.2. Optimization based on the SQP method

In this method, the section stress s are constrained to satisfy all the failure

criteria include overall buckling, local buckling of core, local buckling of skin, and

yielding. The optimization aims at minimizing

W with respect to the geometric

variables

t,

t

s

,

l and

H subject to the constraints in (4)(7), which in non-dimensional

form become

1 K

1

p

2

p

EL

L

3

I

R0 Overall buckling (15a)

1 K

121 Kn

2

p

2

k

2

c

p

EL

L

A

H

t

_ _

2

R0 Local buckling of core (15b)

1 K

121 Kn

2

p

2

k

2

s

p

EL

L

A

l

2t

s

_ _

2

R0 Local buckling of skin (15c)

1 K

p

EL

E

s

y

L

A

R0 Yielding (15d)

The above optimization problem with non-linear constraints is solved by using the

sequential quadratic programming (SQP) algorithm with the IMSL software. It should

be emphasized that the optimization is local, in the sense that it is carried out for

sandwich panels having the same cross-sectional shape, i.e., the square corrugation.

The effect of different cross-sectional shapes on minimum panel weight will be

studied in the next section.

4. Panels with different corrugated cores

In this section, the SQP method is used to nd the minimum weight and optimal

geometric dimensions of sandwich panels for a variety of core cross-sectional shapes

(Fig. 2). The following procedures are followed.

4.1. Panel section properties

(1) Square core with a single skin (Fig. 2a)

I Z

tH

3

6l

C

tH

2

4

C

H

2

t

s

41 Ct

s

=t C2Ht=l

(16a)

A Zt

s

Ct C2Ht=l (16b)

W ZrLA ZrLt

s

Ct C2Ht=l (16c)

Y.S. Tian, T.J. Lu / Thin-Walled Structures 43 (2005) 477498 484

(2) Hat-stiffened panel (Fig. 2b)

I Z

4tH

3

H Cl

6l4HCl

C

H2H Cl

4H Cl

t

s

t=2 C2Ht=l

t

s

Ct=2 C2Ht=l

(17a)

A Zt

s

Ct=2 C2Ht=l (17b)

W ZrLt

s

Ct=2 C2Ht=l (17c)

(3) Triangular core with two skins (Fig. 2c)

I Z

tH

2

12

1 C2H=l

2

_

C

t

s

H

2

2

(18a)

A Z2t

s

Ct

1 C2H=l

2

_

(18b)

W ZrL2t

s

Ct

1 C2H=l

2

_

(18c)

(4) Triangular core with a single skin (Fig. 2d)

I Z

tH

2

12

4 Ct=t

s

1 C2H=l

2

_

t=t

s

C1=

1 C2H=l

2

_ (19a)

A Zt

s

Ct

1 C2H=l

2

_

(19b)

W ZrL t

s

Ct

1 C2H=l

2

_

_ _

(19c)

(5) Trapezoid core with two skins (Fig. 2e)

I Z

tH

2

4H

2

Cl K2b

2

_

12l

C

H

2

t

s

2

C

tbH

2

2l

(20a)

A Z2t

s

C

2tb

l

C

4H

2

Cl K2b

2

_

l=t

(20b)

W ZrL 2t

s

C

2tb

l

C

4H

2

Cl K2b

2

_

l=t

_ _

(20c)

(6) Trapezoid core with a single skin (Fig. 2f)

I Z

tH

2

4H

2

Cl K2b

2

_

12l

C

H

2

t

s

2

C

tbH

2

2l

(21a)

Y.S. Tian, T.J. Lu / Thin-Walled Structures 43 (2005) 477498 485

A Zt

s

C

2tb

l

C

4H

2

Cl K2b

2

_

l=t

(21b)

W ZrL t

s

C

2tb

l

C

4H

2

Cl K2b

2

_

l=t

_ _

(21c)

(7) Blade core with a single skin (Fig. 2g)

I Z

tH

3

12l

C

tt

s

H

3

4tH Ct

s

l

(22a)

A Zt

s

C

tH

l

(22b)

W ZrL t

s

C

tH

l

_ _

(22c)

4.2. Failure criteria

For panels with different cross-sectional shapes, the constraints on the maximum stress

due to failure are also different.

(1) Square core with a single skin (Fig. 2a)

1 K

1

p

2

p

EL

L

3

I

R0 Overall buckling (23a)

1 K

121 Kn

2

p

2

k

2

c

p

EL

L

A

H

t

_ _

2

R0 Local buckling of the side wall of core

(23b)

1 K

121 Kn

2

p

2

k

2

c

p

EL

L

A

l

2t

_ _

2

R0 Local buckling of the top wall of core

(23c)

1 K

121 Kn

2

p

2

k

2

s

p

EL

L

A

l

2t

s

_ _

2

R0 Local buckling of skin (23d)

1 K

p

EL

E

s

y

L

A

R0 Yielding (23e)

(2) Hat-stiffened panel (Fig. 2b)

The failure criteria are identical as those listed in (23) except that the sectional

properties should be replaced by those associated with a hat-stiffened panel, (17).

Y.S. Tian, T.J. Lu / Thin-Walled Structures 43 (2005) 477498 486

(3) Triangular core with two skins (Fig. 2c)

1 K

1

p

2

p

EL

L

3

I

R0 Overall buckling (24a)

1 K

121 Kn

2

p

2

k

2

c

p

EL

L

A

H

2

Cl

2

=4

t

2

R0 Local buckling of core (24b)

1 K

121 Kn

2

p

2

k

2

s

p

EL

L

A

l

t

s

_ _

2

R0 Local buckling of skin (24c)

1 K

p

EL

E

s

y

L

A

R0 Yielding (24d)

(4) Triangular core with a single skin (Fig. 2d)

The failure criteria are identical to those for the panel with a triangular core

sandwiched between two skins (Fig. 2c), but the section properties are different.

(5) Trapezoid core with two skins (Fig. 2e)

1 K

1

p

2

p

EL

L

3

I

R0 Overall buckling (25a)

1 K

121 Kn

2

p

2

k

2

c

p

EL

L

A

H

2

Cl K2b

2

t

2

R0 Local buckling of core (25b)

1 K

121 Kn

2

p

2

k

2

s

p

EL

L

A

l Kb

t

s

_ _

2

R0 Local buckling of skin (25c)

1 K

p

EL

E

s

y

L

A

R0 Yielding (25d)

(6) Trapezoid core with a single skin (Fig. 2f)

1 K

1

p

2

p

EL

L

3

I

R0 Overall buckling (26a)

1 K

121 Kn

2

p

2

k

2

c

p

EL

L

A

H

2

Cl K2b

2

t

2

R0

Local buckling on the side wall of core (26b

1 K

121 Kn

2

p

2

k

2

c

p

EL

L

A

b

t

_ _

2

R0

Local buckling of the top wall of core (26c

Y.S. Tian, T.J. Lu / Thin-Walled Structures 43 (2005) 477498 487

1 K

121 Kn

2

p

2

k

2

s

p

EL

L

A

l Kb

t

s

_ _

2

R0 Local buckling of skin (26d)

1 K

p

EL

E

s

y

L

A

R0 Yielding (26e)

(7) Blade core with a single skin (Fig. 2g)

1 K

1

p

2

p

EL

L

3

I

R0 Overall buckling (27a)

1 K

121 Kn

2

p

2

k

2

c

p

EL

L

A

H

t

_ _

2

R0 Local buckling of core (27b)

1 K

121 Kn

2

p

2

k

2

s

p

EL

L

A

l

t

s

_ _

2

R0 Local buckling of skin (27c)

1 K

p

EL

E

s

y

L

A

R0 Yielding (27d)

The buckling coefcient of core should be k

c

Z1.277 because the blade core is an

unstiffened element.

5. Results and discussions

5.1. Comparison between different optimization methods: Panels with square core

For sandwich panels with a square core, the non-dimensional minimum weight, W/rL

2

calculated by using both the na ve optimization and the SQP method is plotted in Fig. 3

as a function of p/EL. The material is assumed to have a yield strain of 3

y

Zs

y

/EZ0.007.

Before yielding occurs, the minimum weight depends upon the non-dimensional load

according to Eq. (14), with aZ1.14 for na ve optimization and aZ1.18 for SQP-based

optimization. After yielding, i.e. when p/ELO(a3

y

)

2

, the weight versus load curve for

the latter becomes a straight line, with:

W

rL

2

Z

1

3

y

!

p

EL

; 3

y

O0:007 (28)

As for the optimized panel shape, SQP-based optimization predicts H/lZ0.46 whereas

H/lZ0.507 from the na ve optimization, i.e. the core height of an optimally design panel

should be approximately half its wavelength. By Eqs. (11a) and (11b), the non-

dimensional thicknesses,

t and

t

s

, are obtained as functions of the non-dimensional load.

Upon substituting these into Eq. (11c), the non-dimensional wavelength,

l, is obtained.

Y.S. Tian, T.J. Lu / Thin-Walled Structures 43 (2005) 477498 488

In the naive optimization, only overall buckling and local buckling constraints are used,

whereas in the SQP procedure, in addition to the above constraints, constraint against

yielding is also introduced. For lower loads (p/EL!(a3

y

)

2

), the dominant failure stress is

less than the stress for yielding and is in the elastic regime, and hence the results obtained

by the two methods agree with each other. For higher loads (p/ELR(a3

y

)

2

), the stress for

yielding is the dominant stress in the SQP method, which is not considered in the naive

method, and hence the minimum weight curves obtained by the two different methods

have a signicant difference. For higher loads (p/ELR(a3

y

)

2

), the results obtained by the

SQP method should be used.

For simple geometries such as panels with a square core, the na ve optimization

procedure has the advantage of being able to generate explicit design formulae. For more

complicated panel geometries, however, the number of design parameters is likely to

exceed the number of equations due to simultaneous failure, and hence the SQP-based

optimization method should be used.

5.2. Panels with different core geometries

The non-dimensional minimum weight versus load curves are show in Fig. 4 for eight

panel geometries (Figs. 1 and 2), of which four are sandwich panels and four are panels

with one face sheet. Only results based on the SQP optimization are presented. As can be

Fig. 3. Non-dimensional minimum weight plotted as a function of non-dimensional load index: na ve

optimization versus SQP-based optimization.

Y.S. Tian, T.J. Lu / Thin-Walled Structures 43 (2005) 477498 489

seen from Fig. 4, for uniform axial compression, hat-stiffened panels (Fig. 2b) widely used

in the airplane industry outperform the rest whereas sandwich panels with triangular cores

have the worst performance. Also, for the same core geometry, panels with a single face

sheet perform better than panels with double face sheets (i.e. sandwich panels). In the

elastic regime, the weight versus load curve for each panel is accurately correlated by

Eq. (14), and the values of a for all the eight panels are listed in Table 1, with aZ0.953 for

hat-stiffened panels and aZ1.18 for sandwich panels with a square core. For a given load

Fig. 4. Non-dimensional minimum weight plotted as a function of non-dimensional load index for different panel

geometries.

Table 1

Optimal results for corrugated panels

Panel No Section a b H/l t

s

/t b/l

1 Square core with two skins 1.18 0.877 0.460 1.34 N/A

2 Square core with a single skin 1.06 0.943 0.500 1.32 N/A

3 Hat-stiffened panel 0.953

a

1.05 0.500 1.31 N/A

4 Triangular core with two skins 1.31 0.763 0.827 1.27 N/A

5 Triangular core with a single skin 1.26 0.794 0.789 1.22 N/A

6 Trapezoid core with two skins 1.14 0.877 0.483 1.48 0.566

7 Trapezoid core a single skin 1.06 0.943 0.486 1.25 0.486

8 Blade core with a single skin 1.09 0.918 0.740 1.73 N/A

a

bZ0.99 [5], 0.96 [6].

Y.S. Tian, T.J. Lu / Thin-Walled Structures 43 (2005) 477498 490

and boundary conditions as assumed above, the minimum weight of a square-cored

sandwich panel is about 40% higher than that of a hat-stiffened panel.

Note that the results presented in Figs. 3 and 4 are obtained by assuming that the

failure modes are independent. In practice, the presence of initial geometrical

imperfections may cause strong non-linear interactions amongst the failure modes

[11,15,16]. As a result, the predicted optimal panel geometry may not be correct and,

further, the panel strength may be degraded. As a conservative estimate, it has been

suggested [11] that, for practical design, the load Pin Figs. 3 and 4 should be replaced

by an amplied load P/g where g is the knockdown factor. For hat-stiffened panels,

gz0.9 [11]. For other panels examined in this paper, the value of g is expected to vary

from 0.8 to 0.9. A more rigorous study on the knockdown effect of multi-mode

interactions due to imperfections will be carried out in the future, using an approach

similar to that of [16] for cylindrical sandwich shells.

The optimal results for each panel can be also expressed in another form as suggested

by [11]:

s

opt

E

Zb

p

EL

_

(29)

where s

opt

is the section compressive stress when the minimum weight is achieved, and

bZ1/a. For hat-stiffened panel, the value of b is 0.99 and 0.96 obtained by [5,6],

respectively, whereas 1.05 is obtained by the present study, as listed in Table 1. The

difference may be attributed to the different optimization procedures and failure criteria

used.

The optimal geometric dimensions as functions of the compressive load are shown in

Fig. 5 for panels with square cores, in Fig. 6 for panels with triangular cores, in Fig. 7

for panels with trapezoidal cores, and in Fig. 8 for panels with blade stiffeners. It is seen

from Fig. 4 that, for panels with the same core geometry, the weight of panels with two

face sheets is larger than that of panels with one face sheet. For these same panels, from

Figs. 57, it can be seen that the core member thickness and face sheet thickness of one-

faced panels are larger than those of sandwich panels. On the other hand, for a given

section, the core height to core wavelength ratio H/l is constant (Table 1) and,

for trapezoidal cores, the ratio of web length to core wavelength b/l is also constant

(Table 1). Although the core member thickness and face sheet thickness of an one-faced

panel are all larger than those of a two-faced panel as mentioned above, the minimum

weight of the former is still slightly less than that of the latter. The reason is that the

minimum weight as presented in Eqs. (3), (17c), (18c), (19c), (20c), (21c) and (22c) is

not only dependent upon the thickness of the skin and core, but also upon the number of

the skin and wavelength of the core.

The optimal geometric parameters for different section are shown in Figs. 58. For the

give section, the geometry of the section is independent of load, the ratio between H/l, t/t

s

and b/l is the constants which are shown in Table 1.

For the given panel, optimal non-dimension parameters of the panel are only dependent

of the non-dimensional load, so the following formulas to calculate the non-dimensional

parameters of the panel can be got from the optimal results.

Y.S. Tian, T.J. Lu / Thin-Walled Structures 43 (2005) 477498 491

Fig. 5. Panel geometrical parameters as functions of load index for square-cored panels.

Y.S. Tian, T.J. Lu / Thin-Walled Structures 43 (2005) 477498 492

Fig. 6. Panel geometrical parameters as functions of load index for triangular-cored panels.

Y.S. Tian, T.J. Lu / Thin-Walled Structures 43 (2005) 477498 493

Fig. 7. Panel geometrical parameters as functions of load index for panels with trapezoidal cores.

Y.S. Tian, T.J. Lu / Thin-Walled Structures 43 (2005) 477498 494

Fig. 8. Panel geometrical parameters as functions of load index for blade-stiffened panels.

Y.S. Tian, T.J. Lu / Thin-Walled Structures 43 (2005) 477498 495

(1) Thickness of the core

t Zc

1

p

1=2

for p% p

c

(30a)

t Zc

0

1

p Cc

00

1

for pO p

c

(30b)

where p

c

-critical non-dimensional load, p

c

Za3

p

2

.

(2) Thickness of the skin

t

s

Zc

2

p

1=2

for p% p

c

(31a)

t

s

Zc

0

2

p Cc

00

2

for pO p

c

(31b)

(3) Height of the panel

H Zc

3

p

1=4

for p% p

c

(32a)

H Z

H

c

for pO p

c

(32b)

(4) Length wave of the core

l Zc

4

p

1=4

for p% p

c

(33a)

l Z

l

c

for pO p

c

(33b)

(5) Top web length of the trapezoid core

b Zc

5

p

1=4

for p% p

c

(34a)

b Z

b

c

for pO p

c

(34b)

All the constants in Eqs. (30)(34) are listed in Tables 2 and 3.

Table 2

Optimal formula coefcients for corrugated panels in elastic region

Panel no Section c

1

c

2

c

3

c

4

c

5

1 Square core with two skins 0.326 0.243 0.663 1.30 N/A

2 Square core with a single skin 0.383 0.291 0.749 1.50 N/A

3 Hat-stiffened panel 0.422 0.321 0.784 1.57 N/A

4 Triangular core with two skins 0.374 0.294 0.699 0.840 N/A

5 Triangular core with a single skin 0.473 0.388 0.850 1.09 N/A

6 Trapezoid core with two skins 0.329 0.222 0.662 1.37 0.776

7 Trapezoid core a single sin 0.385 0.307 0.752 1.55 0.486

8 Blade core with a single skin 0.826 0.470 0.926 1.25 N/A

Y.S. Tian, T.J. Lu / Thin-Walled Structures 43 (2005) 477498 496

6. Conclusions

Corrugated panels subjected to uniform axial compression are optimized for minimum

weight by using the na ve optimization and SQP-based method. The advantage of the

na ve optimization is its simplicity, with explicit design formulas and predictions that are

accurate in comparison with those from the more rigorous SQP-based optimization.

However, the na ve optimization can only be applied to panels with simple geometries

where the total number of design parameters does not exceed that of design constraints.

A total of eight different panel geometries are analyzed, including hat- and blade-stiffened

panels, and square, triangular and trapezoidal cores. From a weight standpoint, panels with

hat-stiffeners are found to be the most efcient for the given boundary conditions, about

40% lighter at some load levels than the least efcient-sandwich panels with a square core.

For the packaging industry, the results may be used to identify suitable alternative core

geometries as a replacement of the widely used sinusoidal core for weight advantages

without strength scarications.

Acknowledgements

This work is sponsored partly by the UK Engineering and Physical Scientic Research

Council (EPSRC).

References

[1] Allen HG. Analysis and design of structural sandwich panels. Oxford: Pergamon Press; 1969.

[2] Lu TJ, Chen C, Zhu G. Compressive behavior of corrugated board panels. J Comp Mater 2001;

35(23):20982126.

[3] Lu TJ, Zhu G. The elastic constants of corrugated board panels. J Comp Mater 2001;35(20):18671886.

[4] Zahorski A. Effects of material distribution on strength of panels. J Aeronaut Sci 1944;11:24753.

[5] Schuette EH, Barab S, McCracken HL. Charts for the minimum weight design of 24S-T aluminum alloy at

panels with longitudinal formed hat-section stiffners. NACA Tech Note 1946;1157.

[6] Farrar DJ. The design of compression structures for minimum weight. J R Aeronaut Soc 1949;53:104152.

Table 3

Optimal formula coefcients for corrugated panels in plastic region

Panel no

p!10

5

c

0

1

c

00

1

!10

5

c

0

2

c

00

2

!10

5

H

c

l

c

b

c

1 6.37 35.0 37.0 35.5 32.5 0.0594 0.117 N/A

2 5.51 48.5 15.5 48.5 K50.5 0.0647 0.129 N/A

3 4.45 59.0 11.0 54.0 K15.0 0.0642 0.128 N/A

4 8.41 37.0 32.0 35.0 K25.0 0.0670 0.0809 N/A

5 7.78 58.0 K50.0 47.0 K23.0 0.0800 0.103 N/A

6 6.37 33.0 52.0 36.0 K49.0 0.0592 0.122 0.0695

7 5.51 49.0 13.0 47.0 K25.0 0.0649 0.133 0.0649

8 5.82 87.0 127.0 77.0 K9.0 0.0816 0.109 N/A

Y.S. Tian, T.J. Lu / Thin-Walled Structures 43 (2005) 477498 497

[7] Catchpole EJ. The optimum design of compression surface having unanged integral stiffeners. J R

Aeronaut Soc 1954;58:7658.

[8] Cox HL. The design of structures of least weight. Oxford: Pergamon Press; 1965.

[9] Wiernicki CJ, Liem F, Woods GD, Furio AJ. Structural analysis methods for lightweight metallic

corrugated core sandwich panels subjected to blast loads. Naval Engnrs J 1991;103:192203.

[10] Jegley, D.C. (1992) A study of compression-loaded and impact-damaged structurally efcient graphite-

thermoplastic trapezoidal-corrugation sandwich and semi-sandwich panels. NASA TP-3269.

[11] Budiansky B. On the minimum weights of compression structures. Int J Solids Struct 1999;36:3677708.

[12] Wicks N, Hutchinson JW. Optimal truss plates. Int J Solids Struct 2001;38:516583.

[13] Gerald G. Minimum weight analysis of compression structures. New York: New York University Press;

1956.

[14] Timoshenko SP, Gere JM. Theory of elastic stability. New York: McGraw-Hill; 1961.

[15] Koiter WT. The effect of axisymmetric imperfections on the buckling of cylindrical shells under axial

compression. Koninkl. Nederl. Akademie van Wetenschappen, Ser B 1963;66:26579.

[16] Hutchinson JW, He MY. Buckling of cylindrical sandwich shells with metal foam cores. Int J Solids Struct

2000;37:677794.

[17] Weaver PM, Ashby MF. Material limits for shape efciency. Progress in Materials Science, Volume 41,

998, Pages 61128.

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Thomp

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