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UNSW AUSTRALIA

UNSW MECHANICAL AND MANUFACTURING ENGINEERING


MECH 9420
COMPOSITE MATERIALS AND MECHANICS
Semester 2 2016
Assignment 3
Conceptualisation, design, analysis and laboratory scale test of a sandwich laminate for a
skateboard deck

Introduction During Weeks 8-12 of s2, 2016, you will be allocated to a group within which you
have the opportunity to prepare a FRP composite sandwich and single skin panel which is
processed by the vacuum resin infusion (VRI) closed-moulding process. Please refer to the
lecture slides on Moodle from Week 2 and (in particular) Week 3 for some background on the
materials youll use and the VRI processing method. Once the panel has been infused and cured,
coupon test specimens are cut from the panel and tested for tensile and flexural performance in
the Automated Composites Laboratory. In this assignment you are asked to answer some
questions and perform some calculations regarding the sample panel, reflect on the application of
the VRI process and write a report on the mechanical tests that you performed, the results you
obtained and the extent to which you have predicted them well, or not so well!
A skateboard deck is used in this learning exercise. The nature and properties of a
conventional plywood skateboard deck are first introduced and considered. Then you are
asked to make a comparison between the experimental and theoretical tensile and flexural
performance of:
(i)
(ii)
(iii)

the plywood deck based on some published literature that is provided;


an alternative deck made from a carbon/epoxy sandwich laminate and;
the laboratory test results of tensile performance of the carbon/epoxy single skin and
four-point flexural/bending performance of sandwich laminate.
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1. The laminate schedule for the panel1 you will infuse is as follows:
SANDWICHREGION
g/m

Type
mm
Nylonpeelply
200 Wovencarbon
200 Carbonunidirectional
200 Wovencarbon
PVCfoamcoregroovesup
200 Wovencarbon
200 Carbonunidirectional
200 Wovencarbon
(mouldsurface)

kg/m

12

COMMENT

47 SANDWICHREGION

Note: It can be seen that the upper and lower skins are mirrored about the neutral axis of the
sandwich laminate.
SINGLESKINREGION
g/m

Type
Nylonpeelply
200 Wovencarbon
200 Carbonuni
200 Wovencarbon
(mouldsurface)

Pleaserefertothedrawingofthepanelonthefollowingpage.

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The skateboard deck as a learning exercise in composites


Conventional skateboard decks are made from a variety of materials. One of the most common
is plywood2 comprising layers of birch wood veneers. Birch is a species of forest pine grown in
several countries, principally Finland and the US. It combines attributes of strength, stiffness,
toughness, formability, repeatability and sustainability. The mechanical properties of laminated
woods are very dependent on moisture content, humidity and temperature. Conditioning of the
material at a relative humidity of 65% at 20C is typical in combination with a moisture content
in the range 7-12%. The following properties within a range of moisture content of 10-12% can
be assumed3 and used in the calculations you will be asked to perform:

where:

Plywoodcanalsobeconsideredtobeacompositematerialwhy?
https://www.forestindustries.fi/mediabank/887.pdfThispublicationalsoprovidesadditionalusefulinformationforthe
engineerinChapter4Design.
3

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(Left):Vacuumresininfusion.Photodoes
notformpartofthequestionsinthis
assignmenttaskandisforillustrative
purposesonly.

Question 1 4 marks
Refer to the lecture notes from Weeks 2 and 3, and assume the following laminate, core and resin
data:
g/m

Wf%

Fx10EE3kg/m
60
1.81
65
1.81

200 Wovencarbon
200 Carbonuni

Core
PVCfoamcore
Resin:
BaseES300epoxy
Hardener

kg/m

mm

12

Resindemand
47 600g/m

4parts
1part

kg/m
1250
1100

(a) Calculate the areal weight in kg/m2 of the cured laminate, for the single skin portion of the
panel on page 2.
(b) Calculate the areal weight in kg/m2 of the cured laminate, for the sandwich portion of the
panel on page 2.
(c) What is the characteristic areal weight in kg/m2 of 12mm birch plywood at a relative
humidity of 65%? Refer to Table 3-1 on page 4.
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(d) Showing full workings for each entry, complete the blank red and blue cells in the following
table for the 200g/m2 woven carbon ply:
FROM KNOWN WEIGHT FRACTION
Fibre Weight g/m2
% Fibre Weight Fraction W f
Fibre Density kg/m3
Matrix Density kg/m3
Composite Density kg/m3
% Fibre Volume Fraction Vf
Laminate Thicknes Factor Ft mm/kg/m2

(e) Using the spreadsheet MECH9420_Fibre Fraction Interpolator.xls found on the Moodle site
for this Course in the section on Assignment 3, perform the same calculations as in (d)
above for the 200g/m2 carbon unidirectional ply. Do not show full workings. Just provide
a copy of the completed spreadsheet for this case.
(f) Complete the grey-shaded cells in the following table to 2 decimal places:
Sandwichlaminate:
g/m2
Type
mm(cured)
200 Wovencarbon
200 Unidirectionalcarbon
200 Wovencarbon
PVCfoamcore
12
200 Wovencarbon
200 Unidirectionalcarbon
200 Wovencarbon
Total:
mm
Singleskinlaminate:
g/m2
Type
mm(cured)
200 Wovencarbon
200 Unidirectionalcarbon
200 Wovencarbon
Total:
mm

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Question 2 4 marks
Given the following data:
Sandwichlaminate:
g/m2
Type
Ebxx(GPa)
200 Wovencarbon
44
200 Unidirectionalcarbon
100
PVCfoamcore
0.05
Singleskinlaminate:
g/m2
Type
Ebxx(GPa)
200 Wovencarbon
44
200 Unidirectionalcarbon
100
200 Wovencarbon
44

And observing the XX- and YY- axes convention shown on the drawing referred to in Footnote 1
on page 2 of this assignment and appearing on page 3 of this assignment;
(a) Calculate the moment of inertia, Ixx of the sandwich laminate in mm4/mm.
(b) Calculate the moment of inertia, Ixx of the single skin laminate in mm4/mm.
(c) Calculate the flexural rigidity: (EIxx) of the sandwich laminate.
Hint: as there are two types of reinforcement in the skins of the sandwich laminate having
different flexural modulus Ebxx as shown in the table above, you will firstly need to perform a
transformed section of the sandwich laminate.
(d) Referring to Table 3-2 on page 4, what is the moment of inertia I of 12mm birch plywood?
What is the mean modulus of elasticity in bending of 12mm birch plywood parallel to the
face grain? Consequently, what is the theoretical flexural rigidity EI of 12mm birch
plywood?
(e) How do your answers to (c) and (d) compare? Which is theoretically stiffer in bending?

Question 3 4 marks
Vacuum resin infusion is a widely-adopted composites processing method.
(a) List four advantages and disadvantages of the method.
(b) Write approximately 150 words describing the method, as found in one existing application
that you have researched and found interesting. Include a photograph and/or diagram and
include a reference to it using APA style.
(c) Suggest a novel application of the vacuum resin infusion processing method for a
composite component that you can think of, that interests you. Briefly explain what
advantages the use of the method would bring to the application, in approx.150 words
(recall your answer to (a)).

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Question 4 4 marks
You have participated in the hands-on vacuum resin infusion of a sandwich and single skin panel.
Following this, samples of the single skin and sandwich panel was cut for you by laboratory
professional staff and you participated in tensile and four-point bending tests of the samples. The
bending load during the test reached a magnitude equal to the weight force of an 80kg skateboard
rider (taken as 800N). The supports opposing this load are spaced the same distance apart as the
wheels (called the trucks) on the sample skateboard deck, that is, the wheelbase of the
skateboard, which is 400mm.
(a) At the weight force of 800N, what was the measured mid-span deflection of the sandwich
panel sample? If the measured deflection at this load was negligible, at what load could you
measure a mid-span deflection of 10mm?
(b) How does the measured deflection compare to your reasonable prediction of the deflection
at 800N and at the load required to attain a mid-span deflection of 10mm, assuming simple
supports? Show full workings of your calculations based on beam theory for a sandwich
laminate. Rather than it being provided here, you will need to research a suitable analytical
method for calculating the deflection of a sandwich beam of finite length, simply supported
and subject to four-point bending.
(c) Include a copy of the load/elongation chart from the tensile test of the single skin specimen
that your group tested. What was the tensile strength?
(d) Provide photos of the specimen you tested; before and during the bending test. Clearly
label each photo with a caption. Indicate which test group you were a member of.
Question 5 4 marks
Write a brief reflection on what you see as the learning outcomes of this assignment (in bulletpoint form; max. 250 words). There should be at least six (6) separate outcomes you can identify.
Be succinct, dont waffle.
General Instructions:
1. A completed School assignment cover sheet must form the first page of your submission or
1 mark will be deducted. Available on the Course Moodle site.
2. Your assignment must be typed in Arial 12-point x 1.5-spacing or 1 mark will be deducted.
3. Each page must be marked in the footer with your name, student number and page X of Y
page numbering format.
4. File format is to be Adobe Acrobat pdf.
5. Run Spelling-and-Grammar check (F7) before finishing.
6. *Any citations must use APA style https://student.unsw.edu.au/american-psychologicalassociation-apa-referencing-system , http://www.apastyle.org/ .

Due Week 13 5pm Friday 28 October via Turnitin on Moodle

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