Elastic moduli and stiffness optimization in four-point bending of wood-based sandwich panel for use as structural insulated walls and floors

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Several wood-based sandwich panels with low-density fiberboard core were developed for structural insulated walls and floors, with different face material, panel thickness, and core density. The elastic moduli with and without shear effect (EL, E0) and shear modulus (Gb) were evaluated in four-point bending. Generally, the stiffer face, thicker panel, and higher core density were advantageous in flexural and shear rigidity for structural use, but the weight control was critical for insulation. Therefore, optimum designs of some virtual sandwich structures were analyzed for bending stiffness in relation to weight for fixed core densities, considering the manufactured-panel designs. As a result, the plywood-faced sandwich panel with a panel thickness of 95 mm (PSW-T100), with insulation performance that had been previously confirmed, was most advantageous at a panel density of 430 kg/m3, showing the highest flexural rigidity (ELI = 13 × 10-6 GNm2) among these panels, where EL, E0, and Gb were 3.5, 5.5, and 0.038 GN/m2, respectively. The panel was found to be closest to the optimum design, which meant that its core and face thickness were optimum for stiffness with minimum density. The panel also provided enough internal bond strength and an excellent dimensional stability. The panel was the most feasible for structural insulation use with the weight-saving structure.

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