Study of mechanical properties of cellular materials by X-ray tomography and finite element modelling

Abstract : Cellular materials are highly porous systems for which two scales are mainly important: the mesostructure and the microstructure. The mesostructure corresponds to the architecture of the materials: distribution of solid phase “walls” and macroporosity and can be characterized by X-ray tomographic low resolution images. The link between the architecture of the materials and the mechanical properties has been frequently studied. The microstructure refers to the characteristics of the solid phase. Its microstructural features (presence of a secondary phase or of defects due to the sintering) can have a strong influence on the macroscopic properties. The aim of this work is to link the morphological and microstructural features of metallic and ceramic based cellular materials and their mechanical properties thanks to X-ray tomography and finite element modelling. A new method combining X-ray tomography at different resolutions, image processing and creation of finite element modelling enabled to take into account some microstuctural features of the cellular samples. Four different cellular materials were studied as model materials: aluminium foam fabricated by a liquid state process, cobalt periodic structures made by additive manufacturing, β-TCP porous samples fabricated by conventional sacrificial template processing route and hydroxyapatite/β-TCP composites made by additive manufacturing (robocasting). The metal based materials were provided by colleagues while the ceramic based porous materials were fabricated in the frame of the current study. For each type (metals or ceramics), a stochastic and a regular structure have been compared. For implementing the multiscale method developed in this work, the samples were firstly scanned in a so called “local” tomography mode, in which the specimen is placed close to the X-ray source. This allowed to reconstruct only the small irradiated part of the sample and to obtain a magnified image of a subregion. These images enable to observe some details which are not visible in lower resolution. Different image processing steps were performed to generate low resolution images including microstructural features imaged at high resolution. This was done by a series of thresholding and scaling of the high resolution images. The result of these processing steps was an image of the initial sample. Then, in situ mechanical tests were performed in the tomograph to follow the deformation of the sample at low resolution. The above mentioned initial images were used to produce finite element meshes. Special Java programs were adapted to create finite element input files from initial images and meshes. The initial images containing information about the solid phase, the images from the mechanical tests and the finite element models were combined to explain the mechanical behaviour of the sample by linking the experimental damage locations in the sample and the simulated stress concentration sites.
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Clémence Petit. Study of mechanical properties of cellular materials by X-ray tomography and finite element modelling. Materials. INSA de Lyon, 2015. English. ⟨NNT : 2015ISAL0130⟩. ⟨tel-01368510⟩

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