Many different sandwich panels are used for aeronautical applications. Open and closed cell structured foam, balsa wood or honeycomb are often used as core materials. When the core material contains closed cells, water accumulation into the cell has to be taken into account. This phenomenon occurs when in service conditions lead to operate in humidity atmosphere. Then, water vapor from air naturally condenses on cold surfaces when the sandwich panel temperature decreases. This water accumulation might increase significantly the weight of the core material. Core with a ventilated structure helps to prevent this phenomenon. Periodic cellular metal (PCM) has been motivated by potential multifunctional applications that exploit their open architecture as well as their apparent superior strength and stiffness: pyramidal, lattice, Kagome truss or woven. One of the drawbacks of these materials is the expensive cost of the manufacturing. Recently, a novel type of sandwich has been developed with bonded metallic fibers as core material. This material presents attractive combination of properties like high specific stiffness, good damping capacity and energy absorption. Metal fibers bonded with a polymeric adhesive or fabricated in a mat-like form consolidated by solid state sintering. Entangled cross-linked carbon fibers have been also studied for using as core material by Laurent Mezeix. In the present study, ventilated core materials are elaborated from networks fibers. The simplicity of elaboration is one of the main advantages of this material. Multifunctional properties are given by mixing different sorts of fibers, by example adding fibers with good electrical conduction to give electrical conductivity properties.
In this study network fibers as core material are elaborated using carbon fibers, glass fibers and stainless steel fibers. In aeronautical skins of sandwich panels used are often carbon/epoxy prepreg, so epoxy resin was used to cross-link fibers. The core thickness was chosen at 30 mm and fibers length was chosen at 40 mm. Entanglement, separation of filaments and cross-linking are obtained in a specific blower room. Fibers are introduced in the blower room, compressed air is applied and in same time epoxy resin is sprayed. Indeed one of the sandwich core material properties required is low density, so yarns size need to be decreased by separating filaments. Network fibers are introduced in a specific mould and then are compressed. The density obtained before epoxy spaying is 150 kg/m3. Finally samples are polymerized at 80°C for 2 hours in a furnace under laboratory air. Compressive behavior is study to determinate the influence of fibers natures and the effect of cross-linking. Reproducibility is also checked.