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Impact Testing and Simulation of a Sinusoid Foam Sandwich Energy Absorber



A sinusoidal-shaped foam sandwich energy absorber was developed and evaluated at NASA Langley Research Center through multi-level testing and simulation performed under the Transport Rotorcraft Airframe Crash Testbed (TRACT) research project. The energy absorber, designated the “sinusoid,” consisted of hybrid carbon- Kevlar® plain weave fabric face sheets, two layers for each face sheet oriented at ±45° with respect to the vertical or crush direction, and a closed-cell ELFOAM® P200 polyisocyanurate (2.0-lb/ft3) foam core. The design goal for the energy absorber was to achieve an average floor-level acceleration of between 25- and 40-g during the fullscale crash test of a retrofitted CH-46E helicopter airframe, designated TRACT 2. Variations in the design were assessed through quasi-static and dynamic crush testing of component specimens. Once the design was finalized, a 5-ft-long subfloor beam was fabricated and retrofitted into a barrel section of a CH-46E helicopter. A vertical drop test of the barrel section was conducted onto concrete to evaluate the performance of the energy absorber prior to retrofit into TRACT 2. Finite element models were developed of all test articles and simulations were performed using LSDYNA ®, a commercial nonlinear explicit transient dynamic finite element code. Testanalysis results are presented for the sinusoid foam sandwich energy absorber as comparisons of load-displacement and acceleration-time-history responses, as well as predicted and experimental structural deformations and progressive damage for each evaluation level (component testing through barrel section drop testing).

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