Sandwich panels and fastening systems 21 June 2023

Here, Specialinsert® highlights the rise of sandwich panels when designing various construction projects thanks to their unique, lightweight characteristics. When it comes to composite fastening, the company offers a multitude of fastening solutions for sandwich panel applications.

Sandwich panels are composite materials made by bonding two thin outer skins to a lightweight core. The skins can be made of a variety of materials, such as aluminium, steel, fiberglass, or composite materials. Typically, the core is made of a lightweight material such as foam and honeycomb. The combination of the skins and core creates a strong, lightweight and rigid panel that can be used for a wide range of applications, including aerospace, automotive, construction, transport and marine industries.

Sandwich panels offer several advantages over traditional solid panels, such as weight reduction, increased stiffness, and improved insulation properties. Additionally, sandwich panels can be customised to meet specific performance requirements by varying the materials used in their construction. However, when working with sandwich panels, there are some critical points to consider:

  • Material compatibility. It is essential to ensure that the materials used for the outer skins and core are compatible with each other to avoid any chemical reactions that may damage the panel.
  • Handling. Sandwich panels are lightweight but can be fragile, and mishandling them can lead to damage, resulting in a reduction in performance or even breakage.
  • Temperature sensitivity. Sandwich panels may be sensitive to high temperatures, which can cause the core material to expand, leading to delamination or warping. On the other hand, low temperatures can make the core brittle, leading to cracking or crushing.
  • Moisture exposure. Sandwich panels can absorb moisture, which can cause the core material to deteriorate, leading to reduced performance or structural failure.
  • Inspection. Regular inspections of sandwich panels are essential to detect any signs of damage or degradation and take appropriate corrective action before it leads to failure.
  • Fastening. The fastening method used for sandwich panels can significantly impact their structural integrity. Proper techniques must be used to avoid damaging the panel and ensure adequate load transfer between the skin and core.

Enhancing composite material projects with Specialinsert®

Specialinsert® offers a wide range of high-quality fastening systems, all designed and manufactured in Italy to meet the unique needs of composite materials. The company insists that “our fastening solutions are specifically engineered to provide superior performance, reliability, and durability, ensuring that your composite material projects are secure and long-lasting”.

Included in this vast range of fasteners is Master-Plate®, a fastening system that uses adhesives to attach to any type of material. It can also be used with screws, rolling or co-moulding. The base plate can be fitted with a threaded or unthreaded attachment and can take various shapes. It is produced in both galvanised steel and AISI 316L stainless steel.

Another highlight of the Specialinsert® range is the Deform-Nut® TC/SC/1, a knurled threaded tubular rivet nut- Extra short type for sandwich panels. This is a stainless steel system consisting of a threaded tubular rivet coupled with a threaded, adjustable blind grub screw placed inside the rivet.

The Deform-Nut® is a metal threaded tubular rivet nut with a deformable expansion chamber at the top, to anchor to the material. It can be installed on parts where there is limited or no access to the inside. Also, it is easy and quick to install, versatile, aesthetic and possesses high mechanical sealing characteristics.

Specialinsert® also offers Fast-Con®, a patented stainless steel snap-on metal fastening system that allows panelling and cladding to be easily connected. A long-lasting concealed, corrosion- and flame-resistant solution. The company also offers Rubber-Fix®, the anti-vibration, snap-on fastening system that allows panelling and cladding subject to strong vibrations to be quickly connected by means of simple pressure. The system consists of two elements – the male is a steel pin fixed by screwing or gluing and the female is made of rubber and is fastened by pressure.

Becca England Assistant Editor t: +44 (0) 1727 615 413

Becca is the latest member to join our team and is eager to get stuck into the world of fasteners. She brings an enthusiastic and fresh outlook on what we do editorially and will be leading our social media activity – including sourcing material, editing articles and posting online.