Journal of Materials Engineering and Performance

, Volume 8, Issue 6, pp 661–668 | Cite as

Evaluation of the in-service performance behavior of honeycomb composite sandwich structures

  • J. E. Shafizadeh
  • J. C. Seferis
  • E. F. Chesmar
  • R. Geyer


When honeycomb composite structures are fabricated for the aerospace industry, they are designed to be closed to their operating environment for the life of the composite structure. However, once in service, this design can break down. Damage can set in motion a chain reaction of events that will ultimately degrade the mechanical integrity of the composite structure. Through thermographic analysis, the tendency of honeycomb composite structures to absorb and retain water was investigated, and an attempt was made to quantify the extent of water ingression in the Boeing 767 aircraft. Through thermographic analysis, the exterior honeycomb composite structures were found to contain less than 50 kg of water per plane. On average, over 90% of the water found on an aircraft was contained in five problematic parts, which included the outboard flap wedge, the nose landing gear doors, the main landing gear doors, the fixed upper wing panels, and the escape slide door. Kevlar lamina induced microcracking, skin porosity problems, and cracked potting compound were the root causes of water ingression and migration in these structures. Ultimately, this research will aid in the fundamental understanding and design of future honeycomb composite sandwich structures.


honeycomb composites kevlar lamina porosity potting compound thermographic inspection water ingression 


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Copyright information

© ASM International 1999

Authors and Affiliations

  • J. E. Shafizadeh
    • 1
  • J. C. Seferis
    • 1
  • E. F. Chesmar
    • 2
  • R. Geyer
    • 3
  1. 1.Polymeric Composites Laboratory, Department of Chemical EngineeringUniversity of WashingtonSeattle
  2. 2.United Airlines—SFOEG, San Francisco International Airport
  3. 3.Boeing CompanySeattle

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