In Situ Investigation and Image-Based Modelling of Aluminium Foam Compression Using Micro X-Ray Computed Tomography

  • Y. L. Sun
  • T. Lowe
  • S. A. McDonald
  • Q. M. LiEmail author
  • P. J. Withers
Part of the Augmented Vision and Reality book series (Augment Vis Real, volume 4)


Our understanding of the compressive behaviour of foams can be improved by combining micro X-ray computed tomography (CT) and finite element modelling based on realistic image-based geometries. In this study, the cell structure of an aluminium foam (AlporasTM) specimen and its deformation during continuous low-strain-rate compressive loading are recorded by ‘fast’ CT imaging. The original 3D meso-structure is used to construct a 3D finite element model (FEM) for simulation. It is observed that local collapse can occur in cells with a wide variety of shapes and sizes, and the compressive strength is determined by the formation and development of the localised deformation bands. The FE prediction of the stress–strain relationship and cell deformation process has reasonable agreement with the experimental observation, especially for the cell-wall collapse corresponding to the plateau in the stress–strain curve. The simulation also indicates that local yielding actually occurs in cell walls well before the plateau regime. The experimental and image-based modelling methods demonstrated here for foams have potential across a very wide range of applications.


Deformation Band Aluminium Foam Compressive Behaviour Cell Deformation Plastic Strain Distribution 
These keywords were added by machine and not by the authors. This process is experimental and the keywords may be updated as the learning algorithm improves.

List of Abbreviations


Computed tomography


Finite element models



The authors would like to acknowledge the assistance given by the IT Services and the use of the Computational Shared Facility at The University of Manchester. The supports from the Engineering and Physical Science Research Council (EPSRC) grants EP/F007906/1 and EP/F028431/1 and Royal Society grant JP100958 are also acknowledged. The first author is grateful for the PhD scholarship from the School of Mechanical, Aerospace and Civil Engineering, The University of Manchester.


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Copyright information

© Springer-Verlag Berlin Heidelberg 2014

Authors and Affiliations

  • Y. L. Sun
    • 1
  • T. Lowe
    • 2
  • S. A. McDonald
    • 2
  • Q. M. Li
    • 1
    Email author
  • P. J. Withers
    • 2
  1. 1.School of Mechanical, Aerospace and Civil EngineeringUniversity of ManchesterManchesterUK
  2. 2.Henry Moseley X-ray Imaging Facility, School of MaterialsUniversity of ManchesterManchesterUK

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