A sandwich panel is any structure made of three layers: a low-density core, and a thin skin-layer bonded to each side. Sandwich panels are used in applications where a combination of high structural rigidity and low weight is required.
The structural functionality of a sandwich panel is similar the classic I-beam, where two face sheets primarily resist the in-plane and lateral bending loads (similar to flanges of an I- beam), while the core material mainly resists the shear loads (similar to the web of an I-beam). The idea is to use a light/soft but thick layer for the core and strong but thin layers for face sheets. This results in increasing the overall thickness of the panel, which often improves the structural attributes, like bending stiffness, and maintain or even reduce the weight.
Sandwich panels are an example of a sandwich structured composite: the strength and lightness of this technology makes it popular and widespread. Its versatility means that the panels have many applications and come in many forms: the core and skin materials can vary widely and the core may be a honeycomb or a solid filling. Enclosed panels are termed cassettes.