Three-Dimensional, Nondestructive Imaging of Low Density Materials


The goal of this study was to develop a three–dimensional imaging method for studies of deformation in low-density materials during loading, and to implement finite element solutions of the elastic equations based on the images. Specimens of silica–reinforced polysiloxane foam pads, 15 mm in diameter by 1 mm thick, were used for this study. The nominal pore density was 50%, and the pores approximated interconnected spheres. The specimens were imaged with microtomography at ~16µm resolution. A rotating stage with micrometer driven compression allowed imaging of the foams during deformation with precise registration of the images. A finite element mesh, generated from the image voxels, was used to calculate the mechanical properties of the structure, and the results were compared with conventional mechanical testing. The foam exhibited significant nonlinear behavior with compressive loading. The finite-element calculations from the images, which were in excellent agreement with experimental data, suggested that nonlinear behavior in the load displacement curves arises from buckling of the cell walls during compression and not from any nonlinear properties of the base elastomer. High–resolution microtomography, coupled with efficient finite–element modeling, shows promise for improving our understanding of the deformation behavior of cellular materials.

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We wish to thank Dr. Steve DeTeressa (Lawrence Livermore National Laboratory) for providing us with mechanical test data on the foam materials. This work has been performed under the auspices of the United States Department of Energy by Lawrence Livermore National Laboratory under contract W-7405-Eng-48.

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Correspondence to J.H. Kinney.

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Kinney, J., Haupt, D. & Lemay, J. Three-Dimensional, Nondestructive Imaging of Low Density Materials. MRS Online Proceedings Library 591, 44–49 (1999).

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