An image-based approach for structure investigation and 3D numerical modelling of polymeric foams

Abstract

Polymeric expanded materials are of great importance in many engineering applications. Despite this, as of today the development of models able to describe the mechanical behaviour of these material as a function of their microstructure is still an open challenge. In this study an image-based approach is proposed for both microstructure characterisation and 3D numerical mechanical simulations. Microstructure is investigated through different algorithms, such as Mean Intercept Length and Autocorrelation function, to determine synthetic parameters able to describe the internal structure. A novel algorithm has been developed to convert the images obtained from computed tomography into a finite element mesh with an optimized number of elements: this method preserves the original structure and can also be used to generate other fictitious structures that can be analysed. The investigation led to the identification of general relationships between foam microstructure and relevant macroscopic physical and mechanical properties. These relationships can serve as a tool to optimize foam morphology or product final properties for several different engineering applications.

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Notes

  1. 1.

    For each direction of the test lines, Wald computed a bone mean intercept length (BMIL) as the average of the distance between a bone entry point and the subsequent bone exit point. The BMIL is then an estimate of the average value of the foam wall thickness in the different directions.

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Correspondence to Stefano Tagliabue.

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Tagliabue, S., Andena, L., Nacucchi, M. et al. An image-based approach for structure investigation and 3D numerical modelling of polymeric foams. J Polym Res 28, 75 (2021). https://doi.org/10.1007/s10965-021-02438-9

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Keywords

  • Polymeric foam
  • Microstructure
  • X-ray computed micro-tomography (µ-CT)
  • Mean Intercept Length (MIL)
  • Autocorrelation Function (ACF)
  • Finite Element Modelling (FEM)