On hierarchical honeycombs under out-of-plane crushing

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Journal Article
International Journal of Solids and Structures, 2018, 135 pp. 1 - 13
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© 2017 Hierarchy has been introduced to honeycomb structures in pursuing ultralight materials with outstanding mechanical properties. Nevertheless, the hierarchical honeycombs under the out-of-plane loads have not been well studied experimentally and analytically for energy absorption to date. This study aimed to apply a special structural hierarchy to the honeycomb by replacing the sides of hexagons with smaller hexagons. The quasi-static test of the hierarchical honeycomb specimen was first conducted experimentally to investigate the crushing behaviours; and then the corresponding finite element (FE) analyses were performed. Finally, the analytical solutions to the mean crushing force and plateau stress were derived based on the simplified super folding element (SSFE) method. It was shown that the experimental data and numerical results agreed well in terms of crushing force versus displacement relation and energy absorption characteristics; and the analytical results were validated by the experimental test. Importantly, the hierarchy could improve the energy absorption; and the increase in the order and number of replacement hexagons could excavate the advantage even further. Specifically, the second order honeycomb characterized by five smaller replacement hexagons at each order can yield a plateau stress 2.63 and 4.16 times higher than the regular honeycomb and the aluminium foam, respectively. While it might lead to global bending, structural hierarchy provides new architectural configurations for developing novel ultralight materials with exceptional energy absorption capacity under out-of-plane loads.
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