In this paper, the numerical model was developed by using the commercial code LS/DYNA to investigate the dynamic response of sandwich panels with three PVC foam core layers subjected to non-contact underwater explosion. The simulation results showed that the structural response of the sandwich panel could be divided into four sequential regimes: (1) interaction between the shock wave and structure, (2) compression phase of sandwich core, (3) collapse of cavitation bubbles and (4) overall bending and stretching of sandwich panel under its own inertia. Main attention of present study was placed at the blast resistance improvement by tailoring the core layer gradation under the condition of same weight expense and same blast load. Using the minimization of back face deflection as the criteria for evaluating the blast resistant of panel, the panels with core gradation of high/middle/low or middle/low/high (relative densities) from the front face to back face demonstrated the optimal resistance. Moreover, the comparative studies on the blast resistance of the functionally graded sandwich panels and equivalent ungraded ones were carried out. The optimum functionally graded sandwich panel outperformed the equivalent ungraded one for relatively small charge masses. The energy absorption characteristics as well as the core compression were also discussed. It is found that the core gradation has a negligible effect on the whole energy dissipation of panel, but would significantly affect the energy distribution among sandwich panel components and the compression value of core.

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