• International Journal of Technology (IJTech)
  • Vol 13, No 4 (2022)

Effect of Natural Fibers Reinforcement of Honeycomb Sandwich Using Numerical Analysis

Effect of Natural Fibers Reinforcement of Honeycomb Sandwich Using Numerical Analysis

Title: Effect of Natural Fibers Reinforcement of Honeycomb Sandwich Using Numerical Analysis
Muhammad Zulkarnain, Khairul Amri Tofrowaih, Silvi Ariyanti

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Cite this article as:
Zulkarnain, M., Tofrowaih, K.A., Ariyanti, S., 2022. Effect of Natural Fibers Reinforcement of Honeycomb Sandwich Using Numerical Analysis. International Journal of Technology. Volume 13(4), pp. 774-784

Muhammad Zulkarnain Fakulti Teknologi Kejuruteraan Mekanikal dan Pembuatan, Universiti Teknikal Malaysia Melaka (UTeM), 75450 Ayer Keroh, Malacca, Malaysia
Khairul Amri Tofrowaih Fakulti Teknologi Kejuruteraan Mekanikal dan Pembuatan, Universiti Teknikal Malaysia Melaka (UTeM), 75450 Ayer Keroh, Malacca, Malaysia
Silvi Ariyanti Department of Industrial Engineering, Engineering Faculty, University of Mercubuana, Jakarta, Indonesia
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Effect of Natural Fibers Reinforcement of Honeycomb Sandwich Using Numerical Analysis

The honeycomb sandwich structure has been extensively investigated for its mechanical performance. Modification in improving such mechanical properties is an innovation required for honeycomb sandwiches, especially by adding a random fibers reinforcement inside a sheet panel plate. This study was developed random fiber reinforcement using natural fiber of Oil Palm, Sugar Cane, and Coconut, which constructed by the commercial software code of MATLAB. This investigation analyzed the performance of three-point bending behavior using the finite-element model, which provides four levels of fiber condition to observed: 0, 50, 100, and 150 fiber numbers. Ansys Workbench/Dynamic code was chosen to predict mechanical performance such as stress and displacement analysis. In the fiber development study, a series of numerical simulations were carried out with two types of fiber orientation reinforcement, unidirectional and chopped randomly. The hybrid orientation was also implemented in this research by combining unidirectional and chopped fiber, which was fixed at 150 numbers and then varied in three sets: S50/C100, S100:C50, and S75/C75. As a result, it was confirmed that the fiber reinforcement enhances the stiffness of the structure, which contributed a lot to the promotion of the bending resistance capacity and energy absorption. Especially, unidirectional fiber orientation has shown a significant increase in absorbing stress during testing. The fiber reinforcement sandwich demonstrated better mechanical behavior in the simulation, as reported by the hybrid system, and this was influenced by the unidirectional orientation. 

Honeycomb sandwich; Hybrid; Nature fiber; Numerical; Sheet plate


    Honeycomb sandwich has shown a remarkable impression on mechanical performance by bringing high the stiffness/weight and strength/weight ratios, which are supported by complicated structure for weight reduction. The target productions were implemented for several applications such as the automotive, naval, and transportation industries (Zinno et al., 2011; Huang et al., 2012; Crupi et al., 2013; Partridge & Choi, 2017). The mechanical performance could be varied based on the structure due to varied size, thickness, and shape, but the main contribution was on an array of hollow cells built between thin vertical walls. It was constructed to allow the reduction of material used with minimal weight and cost.  At the same time, the thin-walled aluminum honeycomb structure could be excellent in energy-absorbing to allow high deformable barriers from some crash tests to predict the crashworthiness, which requires special applications such as transportation regulations (Zhang et al., 2021; Wei et al., 2021; Zhang et al., 2021).
    Several researchers have proposed panel plate materials combined with fiber and proposed-of-the-art composites that have existed in aviation and rockets (Vavilov et al., 2016; Monogarov et al., 2018). In several areas, the honeycomb materials, from packaging in the shape of a paper carton to sports equipment such as skis and snowboards (Mou et al., 2014), were developed with varied tailored hierarchical honeycomb cores (Li et al., 2020). The fiber reinforcement for panel plates had been developed to improve honeycomb strength, one of the most popular things was using Carbon Fiber Reinforced Plastic (CFRP) (Dungani et al., 2012; Pehlivan & Baykaso?lu, 2019; Xiao et al., 2021; Oiwa et al., 2021; Xiao et al., 2018). The CFRP has been shown to help in increasing the dynamic impact of honeycomb sandwiches by different configurations of laminate fibers (Xio et al., 2021). Laminate reinforced fiber-enhanced mechanical performance; phenomena from stacking angle (0 and 90o) performance on the hexagonal honeycomb energy absorption properties increased in the 90°-layered honeycombs (Li et al., 2021). The honeycomb was implemented in motorcycle helmets for head protectors during road traffic accidents involving motorcyclists due to its high energy absorption (Li et al., 2020). From the researcher's side, fibers as substances or materials were required to explore from various resources to fulfill the material industry's performance, reliability, toughness, and resistance  

Natural fiber-reinforced honeycomb has shown promising results in increasing honeycomb strength and fascinating mechanical properties (Han et al., 2020; Atiqah et al., 2020; Kumar et al., 2021; Ocieczek et al., 2021; Shieddieque et al., 2021). This was an inspiration to combine biological fiber with environment-friendly materials while improving the mechanical performance of honeycomb. They successfully developed a sandwich honeycomb with basalt fiber and a unidirectional skin sandwich?structural honeycomb to improve flexural and energy absorption (Han et al., 2020). Other studies have found that honeycomb with natural fiber could be a viable replacement for synthetic fiber as a reinforcement in polymer composites due to improvements in hardness testing (Atiqah et al., 2020). Basalts fibers are a commercialized product with higher costs and better physic-mechanical properties than fiberglass. Exploring potential nature fiber in the honeycomb structure was required to observe to meet engineering development needs.
The numerical simulation technology has been used widely in engineering, especially the Finite Element Method, which has the power to design and initial predict in various engineering fields. It has proven reliable and effective for analyzing honeycomb-like sandwiches (Wang et al., 2019; Yanuar et al., 2020; Xiao et al., 2021). The absorption of honeycomb design was required to improve the performance, and it required careful prediction using the finite element. Unfortunately, they considered it as the homogeneous material property to introduce composite materials by avoiding the fibers distribution technique. The ef?ciency of the construction of a sandwich honeycomb was directly related to the quality and quantity of fibers composite panels within the honeycomb. This research aimed to investigate the effect of using the honeycomb sandwich by the natural fibers distribution technique of panel plate composites which was proposed in this study. This paper introduced a developing model of the natural fibers distribution technique implemented in the panel plates.  The concept of the research was to use various natural fibers as filler and condition the Oil Palm, Sugar Cane, and Coconut fiber in two orientation conditions. The first orientation focused on unidirectional random distribution, while the second was the chopped fiber random orientation; then, the honeycomb sandwich was subjected to a three-point bending (TPB) to find the best orientation type of composites.


    Numerical simulations for the aluminum honeycomb sandwich are performed and fiber reinforcement successfully develops reinforcement distribution technique by coding MATLAB software. Based on the results mentioned above and discussions, some significant conclusions can be drawn as the research results. The first conclusion that the reinforcement increase strength and stiffness for the whole honeycomb sandwich. In this way, the bending resistance capacity of reinforcement sandwiches gets substantially compared to the plain plate. This fact is embodied in the load-deflection chopped and different deformation patterns. The second conclusion describes that the numerically calculated results of the TPB dynamic mechanical behaviors of sandwiches show an increase in the stress absorption can be effectively modulated by the reinforcement fibers. And then the third found that the unidirectional fiber orientation achieves a high tensile strength due to the fiber’s structure in a longitudinal position on the plate. The last conclusion, mention that the hybrid of unidirectional and chopped orientation, performance was dominated by unidirectional orientation characteristics in stress absorption during flexural testing. The natural fiber of Oil Palm, Sugar Cane, and Coconut was a promising reinforcement for polymeric composites and suitable to be implemented as a facing panel of honeycomb.


    On behalf of all authors, the corresponding author utters a grandeur appreciation to Universiti Teknikal Malaysia Melaka (UTeM) to financially support by Short term grant PJP/2020/FTKMP/PP/S01765 and equipment during research completion.


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