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Int. J. Impact Enqn,q Vol, 11, No. 2, pp. 185 196, 1991 0734 743X/91 $3.00+0.

Printed in Great Britain (" 1991 Pergamon Press plc




Department of Mechanical Engineering, National Technical University of Athens, Greece; and tRidge Hall,
Chapel-en-le-Frith, Derbyshire, U.K.

(Received 23 February 1990; and in revised form 20 January 1991 )

Summary The deformation characteristics, crumpling mechanisms and energy absorption efficiency
of bi-material circular tubes subjected to axial compression are investigated and analysed both
experimentally and theoretically. Theoretical models describing extensible and inextensional type
of collapse are proposed and corresponding results are found to be in good agreement with
experimental ones.


D diameter of tube
h height of convolution (lobe)
Mp full plastic bending movement per unit width
n number of lobes per layer (see also Ref. I-9])
P mean post-buckling load
Pm.x initial peak load
r radius of curvature of shell (see also Ref. [9])
t wall thickness of shell
tr =tl/t2
W plastic work dissipated
x depth of neutral axis
Y mean yield stress of material
Y" equivalent yield stress of bi-material tube
k = YI/Y2


Crashworthiness studies [1] have caused much attention to be given to analysing the
deformation characteristics and determining the energy absorbing efficiency of various
thin-walled crashworthy components of different materials, e.g. metals, plastics, composites,
etc. [1-3], and for various geometrical shapes--cylindrical tubes, cones, conical frusta,
square tubes, square frusta and pyramids, all grooved or ungrooved, etc. [4-6] when
subjected to axial compression.
Work into the crashworthy characteristics of thin-walled structures has been extended
to also cover bi-material components, namely bi-material tubes. We consider bi-material
tubes for two reasons: (i) The two materials may each confer on an energy absorbing
element their own particular characteristics: for example, if a "core" aluminium tube was
used, then covering it with steel might confer an anti-corrosive property or that of supplying
a hard surface. Similarly PVC coverings may act so as to supply a generally protective
coating. And to our knowledge (ii) bi-material tubes have not been previously reported on.
In the present paper combinations of four different materials forming a bi-material
thin-walled tube are investigated and their behaviour in axial collapse is analysed both
theoretically and experimentally. Well-known theoretical models l-7,9] are recalled and
modified appropriately to account for the crumpling behaviour of bi-metalled tubes in the
cases of extensible and inextensional modes of collapse, respectively. Theoretical results
were found to be in good agreement with experimental ones.
1~6 A. (J. MAMALISt't tl[.

Consider a bimaterial plate consisting of two fully adhering different materials of

thicknesses tl and t2, respectively, see Fig. I, and corresponding yield stresses YI and Y2.
Examining the full yielding of a cross-section of overall thickness t = t~ + t z and unit width
and requiring the forces on a section to total zero, we obtain the position of the plastic
neutral axis x from,
Y2(t- x)= Y2(x-tl)+ Ylll,
or finally
Y2(t+tl)- Yltl
x= - , (J)

with the restriction that Yttl < Yzt2 •

To evaluate the moment per unit width to bend plastically the section Mp, we take
moments about the neutral axis and find

Mp= y2 (t- x)2+ y2 (X-tl)2+ yltl(x_t2)

2 2 '
or after simplification
1 2{ 2 Y1 • tl-+2 Y1 (tiN} 2 -- (yl~2(tl~2~

Introducing the dimensionless ratios k = Y1/Y2 and t r = tl/t 2 finally we have

Mp = (1 + 2ktr + 2kt~ - kZt 2) Y2t~ - 1 + 2 k 6 + 2kt 2 - kZt 2 Y2t 2

4 (1 + tr) 2 4

Expressing the full plastic bending moment Mp in relation to an equivalent yield stress ~"
in the form Mp = YtZ/4 and combining with Eqn (2), gives
y. = 1 + 2ktr + 2kt~ - kZt 2" Y2. (3)
(1 + tr) 2

Extensible plastic collapse

Consider the well-known crumpling mechanism proposed by Alexander [7,8], as shown
in Fig. 2. Taking into account the formation of external or internal convolutions, the
following amounts of work dissipated in the various processes which occur--bending in


.....!11 i

v, o

FIG. 1. Stress distribution at fully yielded bimetal cross-section.

Axial plastic collapse of thin bi-material tubes as energy dissipating systems 187

" IIllil D


Fro. 2. Assumed deformation mode for the extensible collapse.

circular hinges and stretching in the convolutions--can be evaluated:

(i) Work dissipated in bending the tube wall,

W 1=2 riD. +Mp

n(D+_2hsinO) dO
= 2Mpn(nD + 2h). (4)
Note, that a "minus" sign would refer to internal convolutions.
(ii) Work dissipated in stretching the tube wall to become a convolution,

W2 = ~ 2 fo' YinDit i 2/sin 0 dx

i= 1 Di

= 2n(Yltl + YEt2)h 2. (5)

Equating the external work We =/5.2h to the internal work Wi = W1 + Wz, yields for the
mean load/5

We next minimise/5 with respect to h, i.e.

and find,

h= / ~M,D
X/ Yltl + YEt2
and combining the latter with Eqn (2)
h = l- N/l + 2ktr + 2ktZ~ - k2t~ nx/~2 = l / l + 2kt' + 2ktZ~ - k2tZr ~ . (7)
2 1 + ktr 2 (i+ktr)(1 +tr)
Since it is not known a priori whether the convolutions will form internally or externally
(although mostly the experiments show to be the latter), assuming that the actual value
188 A. (.]. MAMMAS et a/.

of P corresponds to the mean of the values given by Eqn (6), and replacing 11 from Eqn
17) we obtain,

P = 2~zx..'zrD\/'Mp~/Ylt 1 + Y2t2
= 7 z 1 s t ~ S D ° s Y 2 \ / / ( 1 + 2ktr + 2kt~ - k2tr)(l + kt r)

= 7zl.stl.SDo.Sy 2 ,~,/(1 + : k t r + 2 k t 2 2 k2t~)(l + kt~) (8)

(1 + tr)w/1 + t r
For similar materials, i.e. Y~ = Y2 = Y or equivalently k = 1, we have from Eqns (2), (7)
and (8), respectively,
M o = Ft2/4

h = 0.886x/Dt (9)
and P = 5.6tx/Dt

which, of course, coincide with Alexander's original expressions I-7] when the Tresca yield
condition is used.

l n e x t e n s i o n a l plastic collapse
For the present theoretical analysis of an inextensional plastic mode of collapse for
bi-metallic tubes the model described in Ref. [9] is used for an equivalent tube of the same
thickness t with yield stress Y"given by Eqn (3). The following general assumptions are made:
(i) the rigid-perfectly plastic material has infinite ductility;
(ii) a frictionless compression with both ends of the tubular specimen free to deform;
(iii) an unextended middle surface of shell which is not dependent on the compression
imposed, that is membrane stretching is neglected;
(iv) only the terminal deformation mode (not the history of plastic deformation) is taken
into account;
(v) the direct and shear stresses are neglected and only the vertical action of the load is
Applying the travelling hinge mechanism proposed in Ref. [9] (see also Figs 4 and 7 of
[9]) we obtain for the mean post-buckling load P, expressed in terms of Mp, the expression

p = 2rcM v D / r - n cot(rt/2n) + 1 + n cosec(~z/2n), (10)

1 - 2r/h 1

where n the number of lobes per layer, see Notation.

r=A___ -1 1+ :-tan(lr/Zn)-I (11)

A = 1 + n cosec(rt/2n) - n cot(rt/2n). 112)
In the above analysis, when the Mises yield condition is used, the full plastic bending
moment Mp must be multiplied by 2/,¢/3 in Eqn (2) and the lobe height h and the mean
load P by the factor x/2/3x/3 in Eqns (7) and (8), respectively (the compressive or tensile
yield stress in plane strain bending is 2/x/3 times as great as it is in simple tension).


The axial compression of thin-walled bi-material cylinders was carried out between the
parallel steel platens of a hydraulic testing machine of 100 ton capacity. All tests were
Axial plastic c o l l a p s e o f t h i n b i - m a t e r i a l t u b e s as e n e r g y d i s s i p a t i n g s y s t e m s 189

carried out at a low crosshead speed corresponding to an overall compresssion strain rate
of about 10 -3 s -1
The test materials used were PVC, aluminium, copper, mild steel (steel 1) and high
strength steel (steel 2) with mean compressive yield stresses predicted from quasi-static
compression tests 0.065, 0.20, 0.40, 0.30 and 0.65 kN/mm 2, respectively. All specimens
were machined from commercial tubes to the required size, their interfaces (inside surface
of the outer tube and the outside surface of the inner one) were roughened to such an extent
to allow for an almost fixed tolerance when the inner tube was pressed inside the outer
one and therefore to ensure that a very good bonding existed between the bimetals at the
interface, approximating that of the assumed bonding in the theoretical model. Attention
was also paid to combining the available materials so as to obtain a wide variety of the
yield stress ratios of the partner tubes for each case; the ratios ranged between 0.10 and 0.66.
Details relating to specimens dimensions are presented in Table 1. The initial axial length
of the specimens was kept constant in all cases and equal to 127 mm.
The end faces of specimens were machined square and were tested in a "dry" condition.
Individual component tubes of bimaterial specimens 1, 2 and 3 were tested and their
results superimposed and compared with those of the corresponding bi-material tube.
Load deflection curves were obtained using an autographic recorder, see Figs 3-7, and
photographs showing the final patterns of the compressed bi-material and component
tubes were also taken, see Figs 8 11. Details relating to load and deformation characteristics
of the specimens tested were tabulated in Table 1.



-~ 10o \\ j I "\..f..../

i i i i i

0.10 020 0.30 0.40 0.50

Deflection (L)

FIG. 3. k o a d ~ t e f l e c t i o n c u r v e s for s p e c i m e n s l - l b ; see T a b l e 1 for details. • . - - sp. 1 ; - -

sp. l a ; . . . . sp. l b ; . . . . " t o t a l " c u r v e of spec. l a a n d l b .

A •


0.20 OA.O 0.80

Deflection (L)

FIG. 4. L o a d - d e f l e c t i o n c u r v e s for s p e c i m e n s 2 - 2 b ; see T a b l e 1 for details. - - . . . . sp. 2; - - -

sp. 2a; . . - - sp. 2 b ; . . . . " t o t a l " c u r v e o f spec. 2 a a n d 2b.

Buckling loads (kN)

Diameter (mm) Mean Yield Wall
yield stress Wall thickness (mm) thickness Initial Mean post-buckling P
Spec. Material Outside Interm. Inside stress ratio ratio peak Deformation
o~ (kN/mm 2) (k) l t~ t2 lr Omax Exper. Theor. % Dif. mode
no. (ext/int) DO Dm

1 AI-St I 80.0 75.4 70.3 0.66 4.85 0.90 294.3 177.6 153.2 13.7 Mixed (A-2D)
la AI 80.0 75.4 0.20 2.30 89.3 Mixed (A-2D)
lb Stl 75.4 70.3 0.30 2.55 166.8 Mixed (A-2D)

2 PVC-St2 50.0 45.7 40.5 0.10 4.75 0.83 210.0 147.2 136.4 -7.9 Concertina
2a PVC 50.0 45.7 0.065 2.15 18.6 Diamond (3D)
2b St2 45.7 40.5 0.65 2.60 175.6 Concertina

3 A1-Cu 79.0 75.0 70.3 0.50 4.35 0.85 235.5 143.2 146.1 2.0 Concertina
3a AI 79.0 75.0 0.20 2.00 68.7 Concertina
3b Cu 75.0 70.3 0.40 2.35 166.8 Concertina

4 AI-PVC 78.4 72.2 66.5 0.33 5.95 3.10 2.85 1.09 152.1 98.1 110.2 10.9 Mixed (A-2Dt

5 Stl-PVC 89.3 82.2 75.1 0.22 7.10 3.55 3.55 1.00 340.4 202.4 210.3 3.8 Mixed (A-2D)

* Refers to "total" Ioad~teflection curve.

Axial plastic collapse of thin bi-material tubes as energy dissipating systems 191


"o 2OO tr . I
"~ . •
k ~' X'~ ,' ,~/f~-,l, ~\ / ' T " C L'. "k
o 100 \ ~J/ "., ." ".~, #'~,...j "\ ...,..., f \ . . ) "~, " ~ . . ~ .
• ,

0 0.20 0.40 0.6 0

Deflection (L)

F I G . 5. Load~leflection curves for specimens 3-3b; see Table 1 for details. - - . - - . sp. 3;
sp. 3 a ; . . . . sp. 3 b ; - - - "total" curve of spec. 3a and 3b.


-- 100

o 020 0'.40 o16o

Deflection (L)

F I G . 6. Load-deflection curve for specimen 4; see Table 1 for details.

o~ 200


0 '
0.20 0140 0160

Deflection (L)
F I G . 7. Load~teflection curve for specimen 5; see Table 1 for details.


Deformation characteristics
By comparison of the results from monomaterial and bi-material tubes see specimens
1-5 in Table 1 and Figs 8711, the following remarks may be made.
--Concertina and/or diamond type modes of collapse were observed for the specimens
tested; the nature of their deformation mode depends on the yield stress ratio k and, as
would be expected mainly on the collapse mode of the harder component when the thickness
ratio is around 0.5; see details in Table 1.
- - F o r materials of highly different strength characteristics (Y~ << II1) the deformation mode
of the harder material determines the crushing characteristics of the bi-material tube, e.g.
the PVC-St2 tube (spec. 2) and the steel component follow the concertina mode, but the
192 A.G. MAMAt.IS el a[.

sp. 1 St


2cm 4cm

(a) (b)

sp. l a sp. l b

2 cm
! •

(c) (d)
FIG. 8. (a) Side view of spec. 1; (b) Enlarged view of (a); (c) Side view of spec. la; (d) Side view
of spec. lb.

PVC tube, individually compressed, develops a 3D-inextensional mode of collapse; see

Fig. 9 and Table 1 for details.
- - F o r the same specimens as above during a concertina type of collapse the softer material
is trapped and extruded severely in the convolutions of the harder component, diminishing
in this manner its thickness; full adhesion at the internal edge of convolution is maintained
whilst adhesion is almost totally lost at the outer edge, see Fig. 9 for the PVC-St2 specimen.
The separation which is shown in Figs 8(a) and (b) and Fig. 9(d), for example, clearly
identifies a region of very severe plastic bending deformation to which careful attention
would need to be given when developing a bi-material tube product. A study of this
separation proces is clearly a matter necessitating an investigation in its own right.
- - F o r medium yield stress ratios k, adhesion is lost at both ends of a convolution, probably
due to the slight relative sliding of the component materials at the beginning of convolution
formation, but it is also maintained at the extended area of the contact surface; see spec.
3 in Fig. 10.
Axial plastic collapse of thin bi-material tubes as energy dissipating systems 193

sp. 2 PVC St

1 cm
i I

(a) (b)

sp. 2o
sp. 2b

1 cm
! I

(c) (d)
FIG. 9. (a) Side view of spec. 2; (b) Enlarged view of (a); (c) Side view of spec. 2a; (d) Side view
of spec. 2b.

--Less de-adhesion/separation of components is observed with diamond type of collapse;

compare specimens 1-3 in Figs 8-10.

Load-deflection curves
For specimens l-3,.a "total" load-deflection curve is introduced as obtained by the
superposition of the load-deflection curves for component tubes, individually compressed,
see Figs 3-5. This "total" curve, although not valid in the plastic region, seems to give
useful conclusions from the comparison of the combined collapse of the individual
components with that of the bimaterial tube from the energy absorption capability point
of view.
The toad-deflection curves obtained are characterized by the elastic region of a
steady-state increase of load until reaching a peak value, after which the post-buckling
194 A. (;. MAMALISet al.

sp. 3

1 cm 5 turn
I I k J

((:I) (b)

sp. 3a sp. 3b

I ,J

(c) (d)
FIG. 10. (a) Side view of spec. 3; (b) Enlarged view of (a); (c) Side view of spec. 3a; (d) Side view
of spec. 3b.

region ensues consisting of consequent troughs and peaks of the same order of maximum
load as in the case of the concertina mode or of decreased maximum load as in the diamond
type of folding; see Figs 3 and 4, respectively. Comparing the bi-material load-compression
curves with individual and "total" ones and taking also into consideration deformation
modes, the following general remarks may be drawn:
- - I n general, the initial peak values Pmax are greater than in the case of the superimposed
ones, demonstrating higher initial strength with the bi-material tubes, see Figs 3-5 and
Table 1.
- - T h e inclination of the elastic load-deflection line is closer to that of the relatively harder
material and appears to coincide with the superimposed curve, see Figs 3-5.
- - T h e initial post-buckling region (first lobe) is characterized by a load drop of lower rate
of decrease than that of the "total" curve; it is significantly influenced by the crushing
Axial plastic collapse of thin bi-rnaterial'tubes as energy dissipating systems 195




AI. ._,,,,.,

20mm I I

FIG. 11. (a) Side view of spec. 5; (b) Side view of spec. 4.

behaviour of the harder material in cases where its component materials are of highly
different strength, see Fig. 4 for the PVC-St2 specimen.
- - T h e fluctuations of the curve in the post-buckling region follow, in general, the variations
of the corresponding curve of the harder material, see Figs 3-5.
- - W h e n compressing materials of very different strength in a concertina mode, the
post-buckling peaks show a step-wise load increase, this may be due to separate buckling
of the component tubes at different times and due to the loss of adhesion, see Fig. 4. This
fact is not apparent in diamond folding, see Figs 3, 6 and 7.
- - T h e mean post-buckling load P, obtained by measuring the area under the load-deflection
curve and dividing by total compression, is greater in bi-material tubes than in the
superimposed ones, showing in this manner a higher energy absorbing capacity when
compressing bi-material tubes as opposed to individual ones.
--Theoretical and experimental values of P are found to be in good agreement with
predicted values with a deviation of about _+ 10% (see also Table 1) and with the best
agreement applying to the concertina deformation mode, see Table 1.
196 A. C]. MAMALISC/ Ol.

It is n o t e d h o w e v e r , t h a t the effect of factors like the e v a l u a t i o n of b e n d i n g radii of the

v a r i o u s lobes with t h i c k n e s s for different thicknesses a n d m a t e r i a l s of the l a m i n a e of the
shell and the a m o u n t of s e p a r a t i o n b e t w e e n the l a m i n a e , o n the p r o p o s e d e n e r g y a b s o r b i n g
m e c h a n i s m needs to be f u r t h e r i n v e s t i g a t e d . T h e r e f o r e , an e x t e n s i v e e x p e r i m e n t a l w o r k on
the c r a s h w o r t h y b e h a v i o u r of b i - m a t e r i a l t u b e s u n d e r static a n d e l e v a t e d s t r a i n - r a t e l o a d i n g
is u n d e r way.


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modes of thin PVC tubes internally grooved when subjected to axial plastic collapse. Proc. C of the Institution
of Mechanical Engineers (1989).
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compression. J. Strain Anal. 12, 4 (1977).