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Initial performance assessment of 3D printed thin walled structures for spacecraft applications

Initial performance assessment of 3D printed thin walled structures for spacecraft applications
Initial performance assessment of 3D printed thin walled structures for spacecraft applications
Sandwich panels are the fundamental structural element in a wide range of applications, including in satellite primary structures. While sandwich constructions are very efficient, their complex multi-material assembly leaves room for further optimisation of the core volume and improvement in the integration phase. One key technology that can enable the transition to multifunctional sandwich panel cores tailored to certain applications is the additive manufacturing (AM) of satellite primary structure sandwich panel cores. This paper investigates the feasibility of replacing the baseline Aluminium honeycomb core with a core printed out of AlSi10Mg through Powder Bed Fusion. Sandwich panels with carbon fiber-reinforced plastic (CFRP) facesheets and printed honeycomb cores as well as fully printed corrugated panels are produced and tested under three point bending (3PB) and compression as part of the EU funded ReDSHIFT project. The Instron 5560 (3PB) and 4204 (compression) are used to perform the experiments that follow the ASTM C393-11 and C365 standards. When compared against the baseline CFRP-AL panels, the 3D printed honeycomb cores carry up to twice as much load per unit mass in bending and four times as much in compression, while also being stiffer. The fully printed corrugates samples are weaker than the honeycombs, but in conjunction with the honeycomb geometry may present a promising avenue for developing multifunctional cores. While limitations with current metal printing technology prevent AM cores from matching the mass of baseline designs, the superior specific performance and geometrical freedom make printed cores a promising design alternative.
Additive manufacturing, multifunctional structures, printed sandwich panels, satellite sandwich panels, thin walls
1099-6362
715-734
Dumitrescu, Adrian
16c85845-21c8-4483-a61b-a6aa8bddd882
Walker, Scott J.I.
f28a342f-9755-48fd-94ea-09e44ac4dbf5
Bhaskar, Atul
d4122e7c-5bf3-415f-9846-5b0fed645f3e
Romei, Federico
cdc577fd-8552-41f2-917d-e359ef65a149
Dumitrescu, Adrian
16c85845-21c8-4483-a61b-a6aa8bddd882
Walker, Scott J.I.
f28a342f-9755-48fd-94ea-09e44ac4dbf5
Bhaskar, Atul
d4122e7c-5bf3-415f-9846-5b0fed645f3e
Romei, Federico
cdc577fd-8552-41f2-917d-e359ef65a149

Dumitrescu, Adrian, Walker, Scott J.I., Bhaskar, Atul and Romei, Federico (2024) Initial performance assessment of 3D printed thin walled structures for spacecraft applications. Journal of Sandwich Structures & Materials, 26 (5), 715-734. (doi:10.1177/10996362241230576).

Record type: Article

Abstract

Sandwich panels are the fundamental structural element in a wide range of applications, including in satellite primary structures. While sandwich constructions are very efficient, their complex multi-material assembly leaves room for further optimisation of the core volume and improvement in the integration phase. One key technology that can enable the transition to multifunctional sandwich panel cores tailored to certain applications is the additive manufacturing (AM) of satellite primary structure sandwich panel cores. This paper investigates the feasibility of replacing the baseline Aluminium honeycomb core with a core printed out of AlSi10Mg through Powder Bed Fusion. Sandwich panels with carbon fiber-reinforced plastic (CFRP) facesheets and printed honeycomb cores as well as fully printed corrugated panels are produced and tested under three point bending (3PB) and compression as part of the EU funded ReDSHIFT project. The Instron 5560 (3PB) and 4204 (compression) are used to perform the experiments that follow the ASTM C393-11 and C365 standards. When compared against the baseline CFRP-AL panels, the 3D printed honeycomb cores carry up to twice as much load per unit mass in bending and four times as much in compression, while also being stiffer. The fully printed corrugates samples are weaker than the honeycombs, but in conjunction with the honeycomb geometry may present a promising avenue for developing multifunctional cores. While limitations with current metal printing technology prevent AM cores from matching the mass of baseline designs, the superior specific performance and geometrical freedom make printed cores a promising design alternative.

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More information

Accepted/In Press date: 2024
e-pub ahead of print date: 29 January 2024
Additional Information: Funding Information: The author(s) disclosed receipt of the following financial support for the research, authorship, and/or publication of this article: The structural testing work reported was funded through the European Commission Horizon 2020, Framework Programme for Research and Innovation (2014-2020), under the ReDSHIFT project (grant agreement n. 687500). Publisher Copyright: © The Author(s) 2024.
Keywords: Additive manufacturing, multifunctional structures, printed sandwich panels, satellite sandwich panels, thin walls

Identifiers

Local EPrints ID: 486826
URI: http://eprints.soton.ac.uk/id/eprint/486826
ISSN: 1099-6362
PURE UUID: b1f23ec6-4b66-4e75-b6c9-d44ae977b2cd
ORCID for Adrian Dumitrescu: ORCID iD orcid.org/0000-0002-7595-9510
ORCID for Federico Romei: ORCID iD orcid.org/0000-0003-2283-4658

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Date deposited: 06 Feb 2024 17:49
Last modified: 23 May 2024 17:45

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Contributors

Author: Adrian Dumitrescu ORCID iD
Author: Scott J.I. Walker
Author: Atul Bhaskar
Author: Federico Romei ORCID iD

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