US 20060272279 A1
A composite panel has first and second sheets sandwiching a core with at least one of the sheets being attached to the core at first regions thereof and unattached to the core at second regions thereof.
1. A composite panel comprising first and second sheets sandwiching a core with at least one of said first and second sheets attached to said core at first regions thereof and unattached to said core at second regions thereof.
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10. A composite panel comprising first and second sheets adjacent to and sandwiching a core therebetween with at least one of said first and second sheets attached to said core at first regions thereof and unattached to said core at second regions thereof such that said composite panel is characterized as having a subsonic transverse wave speed at portions thereof bounded by said second regions.
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The invention described herein was made by employees of the United States Government and may be manufactured and used by or for the Government for governmental purposes without the payment of any royalties thereon or therefor.
1. Field of the Invention
This invention relates to composite panels. More specifically, the invention is a composite panel that has subsonic transverse wave speed characteristics in regions thereof for reduced sound radiation efficiency and increased sound power transmission loss.
2. Description of the Related Art
Composite materials are used in many construction applications (e.g., structures, aircraft, trains, vehicles, industrial machines, etc.) because of their light weight and strength. The materials are frequently formed into what are known as composite panels where two sheets of one type of material are sandwiched about another type of core material. For example, one type of composite panel has two sheets of a material such as graphite-epoxy, epoxy, fiberglass or aluminum sandwiched about a honeycomb core made from materials such as NOMEX, aluminum or paper. The resulting composite panel is light and stiffer than any of its component parts. However, as can be the case with most lightweight and stiff materials, sound can be radiated very efficiently because the transverse wave speed through the panel can be greater than the speed of sound in air. In other words, the composite panel has a supersonic transverse wave speed. If the composite panel is to be used to define a human-occupied interior space, noise radiated by the composite panel into the interior space may be unacceptable. Current methods of addressing this noise problem have involved the addition of noise control material to the composite panel such that the noise-controlled composite panel is characterized by a subsonic transverse wave speed. Suggested additions include a limp mass (e.g., lead vinyl) applied to one or both of the composite panel's face sheets and/or the inclusion of foam within the composite panel's core in the case of a honeycomb core. However, the extra noise-control material adds cost and weight to the composite panel.
Accordingly, it is an object of the present invention to provide a composite panel having subsonic transverse wave speed characteristics.
Another object of the present invention is to provide a composite panel that does not require the addition of noise control material to achieve subsonic transverse wave speed characteristics.
In accordance with the present invention, a composite panel has first and second sheets sandwiching a core. At least one of the first and second sheets is attached to the core at first regions thereof and unattached to the core at second regions thereof.
Other objects, features and advantages of the present invention will become apparent upon reference to the following description of the preferred embodiments and to the drawings, wherein corresponding reference characters indicate corresponding parts throughout the several views of the drawings and wherein:
Referring now to the drawings, and more particularly to
Composite panel 10 has face sheets 12 and 14 sandwiched about a core 16. Face sheets 12 and 14 can be the same or different materials. Suitable materials for face sheets 12 and 14 include, but are not limited to, graphite epoxy, aluminum and fiberglass. Core 16 is a lightweight material that is bonded, attached or adhered (in ways well understood in the art) to face sheets 12 and 14 to form composite panel 10 such that the stiffness of composite panel 10 is greater than the stiffness of it's component parts. As a result, while the transverse wave speed for typical materials and thicknesses of face sheets 12 and 14 is subsonic, the transverse wave speed is very often supersonic for a composite panel using these face sheets. Suitable constructions for core 16 include, but are not limited to, a honeycomb structure, a truss structure, or a foam structure. Suitable materials for core 16 include, but are not limited to, NOMEX, paper and aluminum in the case of honeycomb cores, and polymers and carbon in the case of foam cores. The core can be of varying thicknesses depending, for example, on a particular application, without departing from the scope of the present invention.
One embodiment of the present invention addresses this problem by forming recesses in core 16 adjacent face sheet 12. More specifically, an array of recesses 18 are formed in core 16 so that face sheet 12 is only bonded/attached/adhered to core 16 at regions 16A while the entire side of face sheet 14 is bonded/attached/adhered to the other side of core 16 as indicated by 14A. The number, size, depth and shape of recesses 18 and resulting size/shape of regions 16A can vary without departing from the scope of the present invention. In general, a balance must be struck between stiffness requirements and noise requirements of composite panel 10. With respect to noise reduction, the greater the area of the recesses, the greater the reduction in sound radiation efficiency and increase in sound power transmission loss. This is because each region 12A of face sheet 12 adjacent to a recess 18 is uncoupled from core 16 so that transverse wave speed at this local region of composite panel 10 is reduced to the subsonic transverse wave speed of face sheet 12. With respect to stiffness, composite panel 10 must have sufficient attachment regions 16A (between face sheet 12 and core 16) to achieve the necessary stiffness requirements. Accordingly, any given application of the present invention will require these two criteria to be balanced.
In the illustrated embodiment discussed thus far, identically-sized recesses 18 are formed just on one side of core 16. However, the present invention is not so limited. For example, composite panel 30 in
Another embodiment of the present invention is illustrated by a composite panel 60 in
Still another embodiment of the present invention involves adding an acoustically absorbent material (a wide variety of which are well known in the art) to some or all of the recesses formed in the composite panel's core. For example,
The present invention is not limited to the formation of recesses in the core of a composite panel. For example, a composite panel 70 illustrated in
The advantages of the present invention are numerous. Composite panels having local regions characterized by subsonic transverse wave speeds can be constructed without requiring the addition of noise control material. Rather, the present invention addresses the transverse wave speed problem of composite panels by actually eliminating material thereby decreasing the weight of the panel. Cores and/or face sheets with recesses formed therein can be easily achieved using automated manufacturing processes. The present invention can be used wherever composite materials are used in weight sensitive, noise environments such as aerospace and ground vehicles, trains and industrial machines.
Although only a few exemplary embodiments of this invention have been described in detail above, those skilled in the art will readily appreciate that many modifications are possible in the exemplary embodiments without materially departing from the novel teachings and advantages of this invention. Accordingly, all such modifications are intended to be included within the scope of this invention as defined in the following claims. In the claims, means-plus-function and step-plus-function clauses are intended to cover the structures or acts described herein as performing the recited function and not only structural equivalents, but also equivalent structures. Thus, although a nail and a screw may not be structural equivalents in that a nail employs a cylindrical surface to secure wooden parts together, whereas a screw employs a helical surface, in the environment of fastening wooden parts, a nail and a screw may be equivalent structures.