Composites Part C: Open Access
Honeycomb structures are widely used in applications that require excellent strain energy mitigation at low structural weights. The load-bearing and energy absorption capacity of honeycomb structures strongly depend on their cell wall thickness to edge ratios. This work studies the mechanical response and strain energy absorption characteristics of hexagonal honeycomb structures with various cell wall thicknesses in response to out-of-plane loading conditions. Honeycomb structures with various nominal densities are first additively manufactured from flexible thermoplastic polyurethane (TPU). A comprehensive experimental study characterized the mechanical strength, energy absorption performance, and the strain recoverability of the structures. Density-graded structures are then fabricated by stacking multiple density layers of the honeycombs. Mechanical characterization of the density-graded structures points to their superior load-bearing response at large deformation conditions. From a strain energy absorption perspective, density graded structures are shown to outperform their uniform density counterparts at small deformation conditions. The results obtained in this work highlight the significance of density gradation as a practical means for the development of honeycomb structures with highly tailorable, application-specific mechanical properties.
I. A. Anni et al. Out-of-plane load-bearing and mechanical energy absorption properties of flexible density-graded TPU honeycombs. Composites Part C: Open Access. Volume 8, July 2022, 100284.
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