Creep behaviour of sandwich panels with rigid polyurethane foam core and glass-fibre reinforced polymer faces: Experimental tests and analytical modelling
This paper presents experimental and analytical investigations about the creep behaviour of sandwich panels comprising glass-fibre reinforced polymer faces and rigid polyurethane foam core for civil engineering applications. A full-scale sandwich panel was tested in bending for a period of 3600 h, in a simply supported configuration, subjected to a uniformly distributed load corresponding to 20% of the panel's flexural strength. Additionally, specimens of polyurethane foam core were tested in shear for a period of 1200 h, for three different load levels corresponding to 10%, 20% and 30% of the foam's shear strength. Experimental results were fitted using Findley's power law formulation. Creep coefficients, shear modulus reduction factors and time-dependent shear moduli were obtained for the polyurethane foam in shear. A composed creep model is proposed to simulate the sandwich panel's long-term creep deformations by considering the individual viscoelastic contributions from (1) the core material in shear and (2) the glass-fibre reinforced polymer faces in tension/compression. The composed creep model predictions adequately reproduced the full-scale panel's experimental results. In addition, a good agreement was found between the composed creep model predictions and the extrapolation of the power law fitting obtained from the full-scale panel test, for a 50-year period.