Lightweight biodegradable hybrid composite sandwich panel under three?point bending loads—Experimental and numerical
In this research, the flexural behavior of lightweight biodegradable sandwich panel consisting of the outer green composite facesheets with polylactic acid (PLA) matrix and natural kenaf and cotton fibers, with five various stacking types of standard cardboard egg boxes cores under three?point bending loads as an environmentally friendly alternative to conventional synthetic sandwich structures is investigated. The stiffness of this structure in bending is also studied using finite element simulations. The thickest specimen absorbed the most energy during flexural testing, however, the specimens containing two egg boxes inside each other were found to have a higher strength and stiffness. Using finite element method simulations to investigate the influence of composite facesheet thickness on flexural loads, it was found that the amount of the load carried by each sandwich specimen with doubled thickness was increased at least by about 50%. By changing the core's material from cardboard egg box to bamboo/PLA or kenaf?cotton/PLA egg boxes, stiffness and strength and also the energy absorption were significantly increased. Therefore, it is possible to fabricate composite sandwich structures which are light and biodegradable for green environment and has the potential to replace many plastic products and structures that are used in food packaging and medium loads structures applications.