Date of Award


Document Type


Degree Name

Doctor of Philosophy (PhD)

First Advisor

Shivakumar, Dr. Kunigal


Eco-Core is a fire resistant material for sandwich structural application; it was developed at NC A&T State University. The Eco-Core is made of very small volume of phenolic resin and large volume of flyash by a syntactic process. The process development, static mechanical and fracture, fire and toxicity safety and water absorption properties and the design of sandwich structural panels with Eco-Core was established and published in the literature. One of the important properties is needed for application in transportation vehicles is the fatigue performance under different stress states. Fatigue data are not available even for general syntactic foams. The objective of this research is to investigate the fatigue performance of Eco Core under three types of stress states, namely, cyclic compression, shear and flexure, then document failure modes, and develop fatigue life equations for predicting life of Eco-Core sandwich panels. Compression-Compression fatigue was performed directly on Eco-Core cylindrical specimen, whereas shear and flexure fatigue tests were performed using sandwich beam made of E glass-Vinyl Ester face sheet and Eco-Core. Compression-compression fatigue test was conducted at two values of stress ratios (R=10 and 5) at the maximum compression stress (σmin) range of 60% to 90% of compression strength (σc = 19.6 ± 0.25 MPa) for R=10 and 80% to 95% of compression strength for R=5. The failure modes were characterized by the material compliance change: On-set (2% compliance change), propagation (5%) and ultimate failure (7%). The number of load cycles correspond to each of these three damages were characterized as on-set, propagation and total lives. A similar approach was used in shear and flexure fatigue tests with stress ratio of R=0.1. The fatigue stress-number of load cycles data followed the standard power law equation for all three stress states. The constant of the equation were established for all three stress states and three failure modes. The fatigue life equation was used to estimate endurance limit (106 cycles) of the material. Like metallic materials, the compression fatigue life of Eco-Core was found to be dependent on the stress range instead of maximum or mean cyclic stress. Furthermore shear and flexural ultimate failure of the core material was found to be due to a combination of shear and tensile stresses.