Fiber Composite Panels

The purpose of this research is to develop a better understanding of failure modes in marine structures made of fiber reinforced plastic (FRP) composite materials subjected to underwater impulsive loadings.


Blast resistance of naval hulls, is an engineering problem of major interest to those involved in the design of next generation marine vessels. Composite hulls are usually manufactured using either framed single-skin architecture, or a sandwich construction, where a crushable core is encased between fiber-reinforced face skins.


Our approach combines experimental and numerical aspects:

  • Novel multiscale dynamic experiments, from the material constituent component level to sub-elements to full structural level are being developed to assess multiscale material performance
  • Scaled FSI experiments are performed to evaluate the deflection history and the postmortem damage associated with underwater blasts of various magnitudes. The performance of these panels is compared to those obtained on monolithic and sandwich steel panels with the same mass per unit area.
  • Numerical simulations based on a combination of the coupled Euler-Lagrangian approach, the Hashin composite damage criteria and the cohesive model and are carried out to assess the predictive capabilities of composite models describing interply and intraply damage modes.
  • Numerical algorithms are used to optimize the design of the sandwich geometry to minimize deflection and damage.


Figure 1: Post mortem optical picture and cross section of sandwich panels tested with the Fluid Structure Interaction Apparatus.

Figure 2: Quarter model of composite plate showing progression of matrix damage due underwater blast impact.



  • H.D. Espinosa (PI)
  • Phuong Tran (Postdoc)
  • Xiaoding Wei (Postdoc)
  • Alban de Vaucorbeil (Graduate Student)



  • Prof. D. Zenkert (KTH University, Stockholm)
  • Dr. David Grégoire (Pau University)





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