A composite sandwich structure, consisting of a paper sheet as a middle layer and two porous coating layers of a highly filled acrylate–styrene–butadiene copolymer, has been studied by means of a dynamic mechanical test in torsion. Stiffness and mechanical damping, tan δ, were recorded over the temperature region where the latex polymer exhibits a glass transition. The mechanical damping decreases with increasing filler content in the coating. Variations in the thickness of the coating layers did not influence the mechanical damping. The glass transition temperature of the latex polymer increases with increasing volume fraction of filler at high filler contents as an effect of filler–matrix interaction. The outer layers partly penetrate into the middle layer, as indicated by thickness measurements on the coated paper. A theoretical comparison of the peak heights of the mechanical damping using lamination theory shows a discrepancy in the experimental results. If penetration of the outer layer is allowed for, i.e., if using a thicker outer layer of the composite in the calculations, a favorable correlation between the theoretical and the experimental results is obtained. © 1993 John Wiley & Sons, Inc.