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Mechanical Engineering Design
of a Composite Sandwich Panel Seat

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sandwich panel

Design of composite sandwich panels using finite element analysis

The problem

Lightweight mechanical panels for a medical chair were to be made using a composite sandwich panel technique. This has a load-carrying skin wrapped around a very light core. Various materials can be used and these panels were to be carbon fibre wrapped around structural foam. Coupland Bell consultants modelled the panels as part of a larger programme to design a lightweight prototype.

sandwich panel FEA model
sandwich panel finite element model

Our solution

When sandwich panels carry a large load, or are highly stressed, our consultants would normally conduct a laminate stack analysis. This checks that none of the laminae is overloaded, that they will not delaminate and that the core is not overloaded by its shear stress. In this case, the mechanical panels were not that highly loaded. Our consultants built an FEA model of each panel, using solid elements for the core and shell elements for the skin. Although numerically bonded together, we could display the stresses separately in the cores and skins. Our consultants used the FEA models to design the core and laminate thicknesses.

seat FEA results finite element results