Development and validation of methodology for assessment of damage resistance properties of sandwich structures for European space sector

LV  EN Image: ESA - P. Carril

About project

Riga Technical University (RTU)
Institute of Materials and Structures (IMS)
Project Manager: Kaspars Kalniņš (
Project execution start: 01.11.2015
Project time: 24 months
Total eligible cost: 200 000 EUR

The main objective of the proposed research is to develop a methodology and to set a good testing practice in order to increase the efficiency in design of launcher and satellite structures, by explicitly demonstrating the risk mitigation practice in form of an assessment of damage resistance properties of ultra-thin wall sandwich structures. Currently, a carbon fibre reinforced plastic (CFRP) composite with aluminium honeycomb core sandwich structures are set as an industrial standard for designing the space fly structures.

In order to ensure the integrity of typical lightweight structural sandwich panels in design of spacecraft structures, a detailed knowledge about the type of failure is a prerequisite for delivering a safe design. Nevertheless, in order to avoid overdesigned structures which would add an unnecessary weight thus decrease the potential payload capacities, a trade of among safety criteria should be found and evaluated for robust designs. Current design practice for composites requires development of damage tolerant structures for which an artificial damage could be introduced and the residual strength of the composite is set to be a design limit load. This robust approach is widely implemented in aerospace industry, however for thin wall composite honeycomb structures no standard testing practice is formulated so far.

Work packages:

  • Analysis of existing state-of-the-art knowledge base.
  • Concept design, analytical and numerical analysis of sandwich specimens.
  • Manufacturing and NDT tests of the coupon scale sandwich specimens.
  • Characterization of the mechanical behaviour of sandwich specimens.
  • Elaboration of design guidelines and fast design tool.
  • Project management, dissemination and exploitation.

The Institute of Materials and Structures (IMS) shares 15 years of experience in cooperation within EU industrial and academic partners within Framework Programme. This is based on experience and proven expertise accumulated from twenty five FP research and coordination projects in fields of transport (including aeronautics) and material research. Most recent research projects granted within FP-6 and FP-7 for R&D in composite materials field: MAPICC 3D, DESICOS, INNOPIPES ALCAS, FRIENDCOPTER, COCOMAT, CASSEM, POSICOS, HYCOPROD, SANDWICH and others.