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You are on page 1of 26

Sigit P. Santosa!, Tomasz Wierzbicki!,*, Arve G. Hanssen", Magnus Langseth"

!Impact & Crashworthiness Laboratory, Massachusetts Institute of Technology, Room 5-218,

77 Massachusetts Avenue, Cambridge, MA-02139, USA

"Department of Structural Engineering, The Norwegian University of Science and Technology,

N-7034, Trondheim, Norway

Received 30 September 1998; received in revised form 29 June 1999

Abstract

A comprehensive experimental and numerical studies of the crush behavior of aluminum foam-"lled

sections undergoing axial compressive loading is performed. Non-linear dynamic "nite element analyses are

carried out to simulate quasi-static test conditions. The predicted crushing force and fold formation are

found to be in good agreement with the experimental results. Based on the numerical simulations, simple

closed-form solution is developed to calculate the mean crushing force of the foam-"lled sections. It is found

that the increase of mean crushing force of a "lled column has a linear dependence with the foam compressive

resistance and cross-sectional area of the column. The proposed solution is within 8% of the experimental

data for wide range of column geometries, materials and foam strengths. ( 2000 Elsevier Science Ltd. All

rights reserved.

Keywords: Thin-walled column; Aluminum foam; Axial crush

1. Introduction

Recent developments of cost-e!ective processes for the production of low-density metallic

cellular material, such as aluminum foam, have cleared the way for using it in light-weight

structural members. This is due to the unique characteristics of the cellular material which can

undergo large strain deformation while maintaining its low stress level before the densi"cation,

which occurs at the densi"cation strain in the range of 60}90%. One potential application of this

type of material is to reinforce thin-walled prismatic columns in space frame structures. It has been

E-mail address: wierz@mit.edu (T. Wierzbicki)

0734-743X/00/$ - see front matter ( 2000 Elsevier Science Ltd. All rights reserved.

PII: S 0 7 3 4 - 7 4 3 X ( 9 9 ) 0 0 0 3 6 - 6

510

Nomenclature

E

H

P

b

n

t

C

I

EH

F ,F

0 &

GH

P

.

P

.,&

P

.,&'

*P

.

d

l

h

e

D

oH

o

s

p

0

p

6

p

:

p

&

pH

1p

&!*qH

1q

&!*-

Young's modulus

half-wave folding length

instantaneous crushing force

column width

strain hardening exponent

column thickness

foam strengthening constant

elastic modulus of foam material

characteristic load of empty and "lled column

foam shear modulus

mean crushing force of empty column

mean crushing force for "lled column

mean crushing force for bonded-"lled column

increase of the mean crushing force

instantaneous shortening distance

Poisson's ratio

rotation angle of superfolding element

densi"cation strain

foam density

density of solid cell wall of foam

plastic #ow stress

ultimate strength

yield stress

crushing strength of foam

plastic collapse stress of foam

tensile strength of adhesive

plastic shear strength of foam

shear strength of adhesive

shown through numerical studies that the crushing characteristics of a thin-walled column are

improved dramatically by "lling it with aluminum foam [1].

A comprehensive experimental study on the e!ect of "lling thin-walled columns with aluminum

foam was done by Hanssen et al. [2,3]. They investigated the axial crushing behavior of the

foam-"lled aluminum extrusion under quasi-static loading condition. They found that signi"cant

increases of crushing force were obtained from the direct compressive strength of the foam and

from the interaction between the foam and wall column. The interaction at the foam}wall interface

decreases the folding length, and therefore increases the crushing force. For a typical column with

a length to width ratio of 3, the non-"lled extrusion formed 5 lobes, while the foam-"lled sections

formed as many as 9 lobes. Similar experimental results were obtained by Seitzberger et al. [4], on

the axially compressed steel tubes "lled with aluminum foam. The experimental results on the

511

folding mode of aluminum foam "lling method agreed qualitatively with earlier results on the

low-density polyurethane foam "lling reported by Thornton [5], Lampinen and Jeryan [6], and

Reid et al. [7]. However, Thornton et al. [8] summarized the e!ect of polyurethane foam by

concluding that even though a considerable increase of collapse load was achieved, thickening of

the column wall was still more weight e$cient than polyurethane foam "lling.

Numerical investigations on the e!ect of aluminum foam "lling of thin-walled prismatic columns

undergoing axial crushing were recently carried out by Santosa and Wierzbicki [9]. In terms of

energy absorption per unit total mass, aluminum foam "lling was found to be preferable to

thickening of the column wall. Therefore, the energy absorption characteristics of thin-walled

columns can be improved signi"cantly with aluminum foam "lling. This is due to the prevention of

the inward fold formations of the thin-walled column by the presence of the foam "ller, leading to

large plastic membrane deformation and, accordingly, increased energy dissipation. Santosa and

Wierzbicki have also expanded their numerical analysis to the case of torsion and bending with

cross-sectional crushing [10,11]. In both cases, numerical analyses showed that aluminum foam

"lling reduced the amount of sectional collapse, resulting in the increase of the energy absorption of

the "lled columns.

The objective of this paper is to validate the numerical prediction of the crushing behavior of

aluminum foam-"lled columns using available experimental data. Of interests in the study are the

instantaneous crushing force, the mean crushing force, and the deformation mode of the aluminum

foam-"lled columns. The numerical study was conducted at the Impact and Crashworthiness

Laboratory, MIT, while the experimental study was conducted at the Norwegian University of

Science and Technology. Both studies involve aluminum extrusion and HYDRO aluminum foam

"ller. Furthermore, experimental validation is also conducted for the case of steel column with

MEPURA aluminum foam, in which the data was obtained from Ref. [4]. Simple closed-form

solutions for the mean crushing load are constructed based on the analytical and numerical results

and compared to the experiments.

2. Theoretical prediction

The energy dissipation of foam-"lled columns undergoing a crushing process depends on the

membrane and bending energy of the empty column, crushing energy of the foam, and the interaction between these two mechanisms. The existence of the coupling between the foam and the

column in the deformed geometrical parameters posses a complex analytical problem. Abramowicz

and Wierzbicki [12] developed an approximate solution to the problem of axial crushing of

foam-"lled columns. The interaction was accounted for using the dependency of the dissipated

energy on the volumetric strain.

Simple closed-form solution of the crushing characteristic of the foam-"lled column can be

obtained by assuming that the contribution of the dissipated energy from the compressed foam is

independent from the deformed geometry of the column. This assumption e!ectively decouples the

deformation of the column and the "lling foam. This method was adopted by Reddy and Wall [13]

to calculate the crushing response of axially compressed foam-"lled cylindrical tubes. The mean

crushing force P was then calculated by a simple sum of the crushing resistance of the empty

.

column and the strengthening interaction of the foam "ller.

512

Recently, Santosa and Wierzbicki [9] developed a formula for the crushing resistance of the

foam-"lled column by using numerical simulation results. Similarly, Hanssen et al. [3] also

suggested an empirical formula for the crushing resistance of the foam-"lled columns. Both

methods used the following representation for the mean crushing force of the foam-"lled column:

F "F #C f (p , p , m),

(1)

&

0

I

0 &

where F , F are respectively characteristic load of "lled and empty column, while p and p are the

& 0

0

&

plastic #ow stress of column material and the crushing strength of the foam "ller, respectively, and

m is a geometrical parameter. C represents the strengthening constant, and f (p ,p ,m) is an

I

0 &

interaction function, which is determined from the dimensional analysis to capture the strengthening mechanism. Furthermore, in the case of axial compression, the strengthening interaction can be

divided into two di!erent components, which are the direct uniaxial compressive strength of the

foam and the wall}foam strengthening mechanism. Each contributing term in Eq. (1) is discussed in

the following subsection.

2.1. Thin-walled column crushing resistance

Simple closed-form solution for the crushing resistance of empty box columns undergoing axial

crushing adapted here is based on a concept of superfolding developed by Wierzbicki and

Abramowicz [14]. The corresponding theory for a right angle element was later extended to

multi-cornered, arbitrarily shaped column [15]. Here only the main points of the above theory will

be summarized. For a complete analysis, the reader should refer to the above references.

Consider a square box column with cross-section of b]b and thickness t undergoing axial

crushing as shown in Fig. 1. As depicted in the "gure, the folding modes considered in the analysis

is quasi-inextensional axial folding mode. The plastic deformation is localized at a portion of the

column and the plastic energy is dissipated through the formation of hinge lines and membrane

action zones. The localized plastic deformation zone is de"ned as the superfolding element, which is

a large "nite element with a prescribed knowledge of the deformation process and only a few

degrees of freedom. The superfolding element is characterized by the half-folding element H, which

513

H"t1@3b2@3.

(2)

The instantaneous axial crushing force P(h) for small rotation is given by

P(h)"P

0.512

0.6#

.

h

(3)

Note that h corresponds to the rotation angle of the superfolding element with respect to the

vertical axis (see Fig. 1b) and the values varies from 0 to p/2 for a complete formation of one fold.

The mean crushing force is given by

P "13.05p t5@3b1@3,

(4)

.

0

where p is the #ow stress of the column material. To take strain hardening e!ects into account, the

0

energy equivalent #ow stress can be calculated by using [16,17]

p p

: 6,

p "

0

n#1

(5)

where p and p are the yield and ultimate strength, and n is the strain hardening exponent of the

:

6

thin-walled material.

2.2. Mean crushing resistance of foam-xlled columns

During a complete axial deformation process, the column wall will be progressively crushed. In

this respect, of interest in the crashworthiness analysis is not the actual load-shortening characteristics, but rather an average crushing resistance P . To asses the structural e$ciency of an energy

.

absorbing system, a single characteristic of the mean crushing resistance is su$cient. A simple

closed-form solution for the mean crushing force is given by Eq. (4). Numerically, the mean

crushing load can also be de"ned by

1 d

P "

P(d) dd,

(6)

. d

0

where P(d) is the instantaneous crushing load corresponding to the instantaneous shortening d.

The instantaneous crushing load data can be obtained from the experiments or from the numerical

simulations.

By using the argument that the energy dissipations in the column and the foam were decoupled,

Santosa and Wierzbicki [9] developed a strengthening function of the foam "ller, C f (p ,p ,m) term

I 0 &

in Eq. (1). Based on the numerical simulations, they found that the lateral foam}wall strengthening

interaction was of the same order as the direct uniaxial compressive strength of the foam. They

concluded that the additional strength of the foam-"lled column could then be approximated

as twice of the axial strength of the foam "ller. For a square box column with a cross section

b]b, Santosa and Wierzbicki prediction for the foam-"lled column mean crushing force can be

514

written as

P "P #2b2p ,

(7)

.,&

.

&

where P is the mean crushing force of empty column given in Eq. (4).

.

Hanssen et al. [3] developed the foam strengthening mechanism as two separate terms, i.e. the

direct compressive and the wall}foam interaction terms. The wall}foam strengthening interaction

was obtained by dimensional analysis of the parameters involved in the crushing process, which

was modeled as C Jp p bt, where t is the column thickness, and C is interaction constant to

!7'

& 0

!7'

be determined from the experiments. The model was then curve-"tted with the experimental data

and gave an excellent agreement if the value of interaction constant set equal to 5. The empirical

additive model of Hanssen et al. can then be written as

P "P #b2p #5 b tJp p ,

.,&

.

&

& 0

(8)

3. Test program

Fig. 2 shows the test matrix designed for the present experimental investigation. The in#uence of

three parameters on the energy absorbing behavior was studied, i.e. the density of the foam, the

wall thickness of the extrusion and bonding between the foam and extrusion by applying adhesive.

A typical factorial design approach was selected for this investigation [18]. Three di!erent

densities of foam were investigated in addition to empty extrusions. For each density of foam, the

wall thickness was varied between two levels, namely thin wall and thick wall. In addition, each

wall thickness was tested with and without adhesive. This resulted in a total of four tests that had to

be carried out for each density of foam (Fig. 2). As a reference, tests were also carried out without

foam. This program consequently comprised 14 tests, see Fig. 2.

3.1. Experimental setup

The aluminum extrusions were machined to a length of 245 mm. Fourteen specimens with

an average cross-sectional geometry of 80]80]1.88 mm were prepared. Seven of these were

machined on the outside to obtain a wall thickness of 1.0 mm. The resulting geometry of these

seven test specimens was approximately 78]78]1.0 mm, (see Fig. 3). These specimens had sharp

corners, which were di!erent from the original extrusions with rounded edges.

The aluminum foam was supplied as three sheets, each manufactured with a di!erent density. Six

specimens with a geometry of 75]75]245 mm were cut from each sheet and further machined in

order to get an exact "t in the extrusions. This machining required water as a cooling agent, which

soaked the test specimens. In order to obtain an accurate foam density, the specimens were allowed

to dry in an oven at 1003C for 1 h. The subsequent weighing showed average densities of 0.20, 0.35

and 0.48 g/cm3. Only four foam specimens of each of the three densities were needed for the test

program and those closest to the average value of each density were selected.

Six test specimens required adhesive between foam and the walls of the extrusion. On the basis

of previous experience, a two-component epoxy resin was chosen, namely Araldite 2011

515

(AW106/HV953U). Before the adhesive was applied, both the inside of the extrusions and

the outside of the foam specimens were carefully degreased using acetone. The adhesive was

applied evenly to the inside of the extrusions with a sti! brush. In addition, the adhesive

was applied to the outside of the foam specimens using a paint roller. After this process, the

foam specimens were pushed gently into the extrusions. The adhesive was allowed to set for

three days before testing. The components containing foams of the lightest density required

the largest amount of adhesive; see the appendix for component details. For the densest foam o ,

3

the weight of the adhesive amounted to 5%, for o 10%, and for o 16%, compared to total

2

1

component weight.

The tests were carried out in a Dartec 500 kN testing machine (accuracy $ 0.2% of 150 kN). All

tests were quasi-static, starting with a rate of 0.015 mm/s to capture the peak forces at the

beginning. After this the rate was increased to 0.15 mm/s. The data logging system was running at

a constant rate of 1 Hz. The specimens were placed between two 50 mm steel plates in the testing

machine. Fig. 3 gives an overview of the test specimen geometry and experimental setup used in the

tests. The relative displacement between the two steel plates was measured using an inductive

displacement transducer, accuracy $ 1% of full scale (100 mm).

516

The aluminum extrusions used in the tests were made up of alloy AA6060 temper T4. A typical

engineering tensile}stress strain curve of the material, obtained from a specimen taken parallel to

the direction of extrusion, is shown in Fig. 4. The aluminum foam was made up of alloy AlSi8Mg.

Fig. 4 shows the engineering stress}strain curve of the foam in compression.

The explicit dynamics non-linear "nite element code PAM CRASH 97 was used to numerically

simulate the axial crushing process of foam-"led columns. The "nite model was created by mesh

generator program HYPERMESH 2.1. The column wall was modeled with a Belytschko-Tsay-4node thin shell element, while the foam core was modeled with an 8}node solid element. Since the

foam core can undergo a large strain deformation, solid element using selective reduced integration

rule was chosen to avoid volumetric locking. The selective reduced integration rule have 8 integration points for the deviatoric strain part and 1 integration point for the volumetric strain.

In the axial loading condition, the deformation of the square box column has two symmetry

planes with respect to its cross section, i.e. X0> and >0Z planes (Fig. 5). Due to the expected

symmetry of the deformation, only one quarter of the column was modeled to represent the axial

crushing problem. No triggering imperfection was introduced to the model. Clamped boundary

conditions were applied at the bottom of the column, and the symmetry boundary conditions were

applied on all free vertical edges. There are two sets of geometrical models considered in the present

work. First, a square aluminum extrusion with cross section b"80 mm, length "245 mm, and

517

thickness t"1.88 mm "lled with HYDRO aluminum foam. Secondly, a square steel column with

b"40 mm, "150 mm, and t"1.4 mm "lled with MEPURA aluminum foam. The results of the

numerical simulations of the "rst and the second models are compared with the experiments given

in Refs. [3,4], respectively.

518

To simulate the displacement controlled experiment, velocity boundary conditions were applied

on the top portion or the column. In the actual quasi-static experiments, the speed of the

cross-beam is usually set to 0.01}1 mm/s [3]. This range of velocity is too slow for the numerical

simulation. This is due to the fact that the explicit time integration method is only conditionally

stable, and therefore in general very small time increments have to be used. For the present work,

the applied velocity was arti"cially speed up to 2 m/s. The velocity pro"le was ramped during

the "rst 50 ms to 2 m/s, and then this velocity was held constant. Quasi-static process still can be

achieved with arti"cial high velocity provided that the inertial e!ect is minimized, which can

be done by scaling the mass density. Two simulation responses need to be checked to verify the

quasi-static process is held. First, the total kinetic energy has to be very small compared to the total

internal energy over the period of the crushing process. Secondly, the crushing force-displacement

response must be independent from the applied velocity.

The strengthening interaction between the foam and the column wall was simulated with

a surface-to-surface sliding contact in the case of unbonded "lling. During progressive formation of

plastic folds, interpenetration between two folds in the column wall was prevented by using

self-contact interface. The strengthening e!ect due to friction between the wall column and the

foam "ller was studied for various friction coe$cients. Furthermore, internal solid anti-collapse

has to be applied on the solid element. This internal contact can prevent numerical problem that

can arise when solid elements are heavily compressed and distorted.

In the bonding case, the adhesive was modeled with tied contact. Failure due to excessive tension

and shear forces is allowed from node to node. Onset of failure was governed by the following

failure criterion [19]:

C D C D

p a

q b

#

)1,

p

q

&!*&!*-

(9)

where p

and q are tensile and shear strength of the adhesive material, respectively. In the

&!*&!*numerical simulation, the values for tensile and shear strength were taken to be p "q "

&!*&!*150 MPa, while the exponential constants were taken to be a"b"2, as suggested by

Seggewiss [20].

5. Material modeling

5.1. Thin-walled prismatic column

The constitutive behavior of the thin shell element for the column material was based on the

elastic}plastic material model with Von Mises's isotropic plasticity algorithm. The transverse shear

e!ect was considered by this material model. Plastic hardening was based on the polygonal curve

de"nition, in which pairs of the plastic tangent modulus and the plastic stress were speci"ed.

The aluminum extrusion AA 6060 T4 mechanical properties are: Young's modulus

E"6.82104 N/mm2, initial yield stress p "80 N/mm2, Poisson's ratio l"0.3, and the power

:

law exponent n"0.23. The steel column pro"le was made of mild steel RSt37 with mechanical

properties: Young's modulus E"2 105 N/mm2, initial yield stress p "251 N/mm2, Poisson's

:

519

Table 1

Strain hardening data for AA 6060 T4 and Mild steel RSt37

Plastic

strain (%)

AA 6060 T4

plastic

stress (Mpa)

RSt37

plastic

stress (Mpa)

0.0

2.4

4.9

7.4

9.9

12.4

14.9

17.4

80

115

139

150

158

167

171

173

251

264

295

316

326

334

336

339

ratio l"0.3, and the power law exponent n"0.12. The engineering stress}strain for both

materials were given in Table 1. These stress}strain data were adopted from the experiments taken

from Fig. 4 and Ref. [4].

5.2. Aluminum foam core

The aluminum foam mechanical response in compression shows a typical behavior of highly

porous cellular solids: an initial approximately linear elastic regime is followed by an extended

plastic plateau, truncated by a densi"cation response at high strains during which the stress again

increases steeply (Fig. 6). Based on this characteristic, mechanical behavior of aluminum foam is

characterized by elastic modulus EH, plastic collapse stress pH , shear modulus GH, plastic shear

1strength qH , and densi"cation strain e . These parameters strongly depend on the aluminum foam

1D

density oH.

PAM CRASH o!ers material modeling for metallic cellular solids capable of undergoing large

strain deformation such as aluminum foam. The mechanical properties of the aluminum foam are

smeared in three orthogonal directions (x , x , x ), see Fig. 6. In the case of aluminum foam

1 2 3

material, all three orthogonal directions have the same mechanical behavior, i.e. cubic symmetry.

Currently, no interaction between components of the stress tensor is incorporated in the yield

condition.

Mechanical properties of aluminum foam for various relative densities are given as follows:

A B

A B

A B

o 2

EH"E H ,

4 o

4

(10)

o 2

3

GH" E H ,

4

o

8

4

(11)

o 3@2

H

,

pH "p

10,4 o

4

(12)

520

A B

o 3@2

H

,

(13)

qH "0.5p

10,4 o

4

oH

e "1!1.4 ,

(14)

D

o

4

where E ,p ,o are the Young's modulus, plastic #ow stress, and mass density of solid cell wall of

4 0,4 4

the foam material, respectively. The plastic collapse stress of the foam given in Eq. (12) is obtained

from [21], while the Young's and shear moduli are obtained from [22]. The plastic shear strength is

taken to be a half of the plastic collapse stress. The tangent modulus E to capture the strain

5

hardening of the foam at the plastic stress plateau is assumed to be 2% of the elastic modulus EH for

any foam densities. There is here a room for improvement by making E depends on the foam

5

density o and amount of plastic deformation. This can only be done once the mechanism

&

responsible for hardening of the foam is well understood.

6. Quasi-static simulation

The explicit solution method is a true dynamic procedure originally developed to model

high-speed impact events in which inertia plays a dominant role in the solution. Therefore, in

a quasi-static analysis, the goal is to model the process in the shortest time period in which inertial

forces remain insigni"cant.

Two ways of achieving a quasi-static process by using the explicit dynamics procedure are

presented in this section. The "rst is scaling down the mass of the material so that the inertial forces

521

will be minimum. However, scaling down the mass results in smaller time step, and therefore the

analysis will take a large number of time increments. The minimum stable time increment in the

explicit dynamic analysis can be expressed as

o

*t"% ,

E

where % is the characteristic element length, E is the Young's modulus, and o is the material

density. According to the above equation, scaling down the mass density by factor of f 2 decreases

the time step increment by factor of f. Therefore to limit the large number of time step, the loading

rate is accelerated. In the analysis, the material density is decreased by 1000 times of its original

value, while the loading rate is applied with velocity of <"1500 and 2000 mm/s. The second

alternative is scaling up the mass density of the material while keeping very low velocity. Scaling up

the mass density results in larger time step, and therefore reducing the number of time step

increment for such a low loading rate. In the analysis, the material density is increased by 100 times

of its original value, while the loading rate is applied with velocity of <"1 mm/s. All of the three

numerical simulations are conducted on empty steel tubes.

Two types of tests need to be performed to verify the quasi-static process is held. First, the total

kinetic energy has to be very small compared to the total internal energy over the period of the

crushing process. Secondly, the crushing force } displacement response must be independent from

the applied velocity. Fig. 7 shows quasi-static simulations with three di!erent mass scaling and

loading rate. It shows that the kinetic energy is very small compared to the internal energy for all of

the three di!erent mass scaling and applied velocity (Fig. 7a). As a result, its corresponding

crushing force response is very similar with one another (Fig. 7b). Therefore, the numerical

simulation can be considered as a quasi static analysis. The time step size and the number of

increment for three di!erent scaling methods are given in Table 2. For all axial crushing simulation

522

Table 2

Time increment for di!erent scaling methods

Scaling

method

Velocity

< (mm/s)

Time step

*t (s)

Number of

increment, N

o/1000

o/1000

ox100

2000

1500

1

5.0E-07

5.0E-07

1.5E-04

1.6E#05

1.8E#05

6.7E#05

considered in this work, the mass density of the column is scaled down by a factor of 1000 and the

applied velocity is 2000 mm/s.

Two groups of simulations were investigated on the foam-"lled sections. First, the simulation

was conducted on the square box column made of mild steel RSt37 with the cross section width

b"40 mm and thickness t"1.4 mm used by Seitzberger et al. [4]. The thin-walled steel column

was "lled with MEPURA aluminum foam, which has base material AlMg 0.6Si 0.3Ti, and the mass

density of 0.52 g/cm3. From uniaxial compression test [4], this foam has the crushing resistance of

p "8.2 MPa. The numerical simulations are compared with the available experimental data

&

provided in Ref. [4], and analyzed with respect to the plastic folding mode, instantaneous and

mean crushing force, and the e!ect of friction on the foam}wall column interface.

The second group of simulation were conducted on the square box column made of aluminum

extrusion (AA 6060 T4) with the cross section width b"80 mm and thickness t"1.88 mm which

correspond to the experiments conducted at the Norwegian University of Science and Technology.

The column was "lled with HYDRO Aluminum foam, which has base material Al Si8 Mg. Three

di!erent foam densities were simulated, which are 0.19, 0.36, and 0.53 g/cm3, to investigate the trend

of foam strength to the increase of the crushing strength of the "lled column. From the uniaxial

compression tests, the plastic collapse stress for the corresponding densities are 1, 4.8, and 12.5 MPa.

The mean crushing force of the "lled columns are then compared with the empirical and theoretical

predictions developed in Refs. [3,9]. E!ect of adhesive is also studied in the case of bonded "lling.

7.1. Plastic folding mode

Figs. 8a and b depict the deformation pattern of empty steel box columns, which show very close

similarity between the numerical simulation and the actual experiment. In both cases, the column

walls deform progressively by forming inward and outward folds in two connecting edges. This

type of deformation is referred to as asymmetric (quasi-inextensional) folding mode. Five lobes are

formed due to plastic folding on both numerical simulation and the experiment. Analytically,

half-wave plastic folding length can be calculated by using Eq. (2), which gives folding length

H"13.1 mm for t"1.4 mm and b"40 mm. From the numerical simulation, the deformed

mesh of the column gives plastic folding length of H"13.75 mm. This "ndings show that the

523

Fig. 8. Deformation pattern of empty steel box column: (a) numerical simulation, (b) experiment.

Fig. 9. Deformation pattern of foam-"lled steel box column: (a) numerical simulation, (b) experiment.

theoretical prediction to calculate the plastic folding length developed from the minimum postulate

given in Eq. (2) is in a very good agreement with the numerical simulation and actual experiment.

The quasi-inextensional folding mode is still achieved in the case of non-bonded "lling, as shown

in Fig. 9. The deformation pattern obtained from the numerical simulation gives a good agreement

with the actual test. The presence of aluminum foam "ller results in shorter folding length, which is

approximately H"10 mm. For 60% crushing displacement, the plastic folding deformations form

8 lobes on the column wall, which is more than that formed in the empty column. As a result,

a much higher crushing load is needed to overcome more plastic deformation in the column wall.

The behavior of the interface between the column wall and the "ller material is shown in Fig. 10.

The encroachment of the column wall into the foam "ller allows an additional compression in the

foam, and retards the sectional collapse of the column. This behavior results in the higher strain

energy dissipation, which lead to the higher crushing resistance of the "lled columns.

524

Fig. 10. Deformation pattern of foam}wall interface: (a) numerical simulation, (b) experiment.

From the direct comparison between plastic deformation obtained from the numerical simulation and actual experiments, it shows that a suitable "nite element model has been used to simulate

an actual physical problem of foam-"lled sections. The choices of element types and sizes, material

modeling, and boundary conditions in the "nite element modeling have led to a deformation

pattern which is in a good agreement with the actual test.

7.2. Instantaneous and mean crushing force

Fig. 11a presents the instantaneous crushing force of the empty and "lled-steel columns. The

interface between the foam and the steel column is modeled as frictionless sliding contact. The peak

force in the instantaneous crushing force curve corresponds to the progressive fold formation, while

the distance between two consecutive peaks corresponds to the plastic folding length. In the case of

empty column, both numerical simulation and actual experiment show a good comparison in

terms of the force level, location of the fold formation, and the plastic folding length. On the other

hand, even though the force level and the peak force distance of the "lled column for both

numerical simulation and experiments are comparable, the location of the fold formations are

di!erent. This could be explained by the fact that in the actual experiment, the location of fold

formation is triggered by foam imperfection, which is caused by inhomogeneities of the aluminum

foam, and the inward fold will be formed in the weakest lateral strength of the foam. In the

numerical simulation, the foam mechanical properties are smeared in three orthogonal directions,

and therefore no triggering imperfection is obtained.

Fig. 11b presents the mean crushing force versus the crushing distance curves. The mean

crushing force is de"ned by Eq. (6). It shows that after completing the "rst fold formation, the mean

crushing load oscillates around an `almosta constant asymptotic value. This constant value is

therefore de"ned as the mean crushing force characteristic of a column P . From this "gure, the

.

mean crushing force for empty and "lled columns obtained from both numerical simulation and

experiment compare very well.

525

Fig. 11. Crushing responses of mild steel column "lled with MEPURA Aluminum foam.

In the numerical calculation, three di!erent friction conditions are simulated on the

foam}column interface. The friction condition van be varied by changing the coe$cient of friction

value, which are k"0.0, 0.2, 0.4, on the sliding contact interface. As shown in Fig. 12, the presence

of friction on the interface does not change the crushing force level. Indeed, crushing force with

the coe$cient of friction k"0.2 and 0.4 are similar with that of the frictionless condition (k"0.0).

The interface friction only appears to change the location of fold formation, which is shown by the

shift of the peak force in the instantaneous crushing force curves (Fig. 12a). The characteristic of

mean crushing force, however, does not change with di!erent friction condition, which is shown

in Fig. 12b.

It can be concluded that energy dissipation due to friction on the foam}column interface is

negligible. It is also obvious from the deformation of the interface, shown in Fig. 10, that there is

negligible adherence on the contact between the foam and the "ller, and therefore the main resisting

mechanism is the plastic folding on the column wall. Following this result, further numerical

analysis will be based on the frictionless contact interface between the foam and the column.

7.4. Ewect of foam crushing strength

The increase of crushing force due to various plastic collapse stress of the foam "ller is studied on

the aluminum extrusion. Three di!erent aluminum foam strengths are considered, which are 1, 4.8,

and 12.5 MPa. As shown in Fig. 13a, the crushing force of "lled columns increase very signi"cantly

compared to the empty column. The distance between two consecutive peaks reduces as the foam

526

strength increases. This behaviors indicate that the higher the foam strength the shorter the plastic

folding length, which results in much higher strain energy dissipation in the column wall. The mean

crushing force (Fig. 13b) obtained from the numerical simulations follow closely the experimental

results.

Filling the extrusions with foam without applying adhesive, caused a change of the deformation

pattern compared to that of non-"lled extrusions. For the foam-"lled extrusions, more lobes were

created and each lobe showed a larger curvature when compared with the lobes of non-"lled

extrusions. However, the lobes created were of the same type as the ones observed for non-"lled

extrusions, namely that of a quasi-inextensional mode, although these were often more irregular in

shape. The e!ect of an increased number of lobes and a larger curvature per lobe is an increase in

the amount of energy absorbed by the component. However, the increasing number of lobes

created reduces the e!ective stroke length of the component.

7.5. Mean crushing force prediction

The mean crushing force characteristic of foam-"lled sections can be predicted by using an

uncouple method described in the preceding section. In the previous work, Santosa and Wierzbicki

[9] used an argument that the increase of the mean crushing strength due to the foam "ller depends

linearly on the foam crushing strength (p ) and the cross sectional area (b2) as given in Eq. (7).

&

However, this simple relation was developed based on the variation of low strength aluminum

foam, that was for 0.3(p (1.48 MPa. In this small range of p , the increase of mean crushing

&

&

force has a proportionality constant of 2. In the present work, the analysis is extended to larger

range of plastic collapse stresses, which varies from 0.3(p (12.5 MPa. It is found that the

&

proportionality constant appears to be 1.8, a slightly lower than the previously proposed constant

527

Fig. 13. Crushing responses of AL 6060 T4 column "lled with HYDRO Aluminum foam.

P "P #1.8b2p .

(15)

.,&

.

&

The above equation can be interpreted that the increase of the mean crushing force of the

foam-"lled section is due to the direct compressive resistance of the foam (b2p ) plus the foam}wall

&

strengthening e!ect which accounts for 80% of the direct compressive resistance of the foam. The

resulting closed form solution is plotted in Fig. 14a. It can be seen that the numerical prediction

compare very well with the empirical formulation developed by Hanssen et al. given in Eq. (8).

The proposed closed form solution is also compared with the experimental results for various

types of column widths b, thicknesses t, and materials. To capture wide range of material and

geometrical parameters, one can use the increase of mean crushing force *P "P !P so that

.

.,&

.

it only involves a function of additional compressive resistance p b2. Hence, Eq. (15) can be

&

rewritten as

*P "1.8 (p b2).

(16)

.

&

The increase of mean crushing force for various geometrical and material parameters is plotted in

Fig. 14b. The mean crushing force data are obtained from three types of column material, which

includes aluminum extrusions AA 6060 T4, AA 6082 T4, and mild still Rst37, while geometrical

con"gurations are varied with cross-sectional width b"80,100,160 mm and thickness

t"1.0,1.4,1.88,1.96,2.85 mm. It can be seen that the proposed closed-form solution predicts the

experimental data very well. The cloud of the experimental data is within 8% of the proposed

solution. Therefore, previous argument that the increase of the mean crushing force of "lled column

varies linearly with respect to the direct compressive resistance (b2p ) is also con"rmed by the

&

experimental results.

528

Fig. 14. Mean crushing force of foam-"lled section: (a) numerical simulation, (b) test results.

In the presence of adhesive, the bonded column undergoes a combination of quasi-inextensional

and extensional folding modes, as shown in Fig. 15. Initially, the column forms a extensional

folding mode. This is due to the fact that the aluminum foam bonded to the wall column provides

such a high additional sti!ness, so that the initiation of local buckling needs higher loads, which

corresponds to the extensional folding mode (Fig. 15a). Subsequent deformation shows that the

geometrical imperfections triggered by the preceding fold formation change the deformation to the

quasi-inextensional folding mode (Fig. 15b). This type of mixed deformation mode is also observed

in the experiments (Fig. 16), depending upon foam density and wall thickness.

As shown in Fig. 16, the thick-walled extrusions "lled with the two densest foams adapted the

extensional mode of deformation. In this mode, four individual lobes moved inward or outward,

together generating a ring (lobe) around the extrusion. A total number of 11 such lobes were

generated successively for each of these two test specimens.

Rupture, occurring in the axial direction, was observed for the thin walled extrusions "lled with

bonded foam (Fig. 16). However, for the lightest foam this rupture was of a local character, whereas

for the two densest foams a global rupture took place. A small local rupture was also observed in

one of the lobes of the thick-walled extrusion containing adhesive and the densest foam. The global

rupture in#uenced the energy absorbing capabilities, whereas the local ruptures probably were of

no signi"cance.

Apparently, when applying adhesive, there is a relationship between foam density and wall

thickness of the extrusion that determines whether an extension, symmetric or a combined

deformation mode will occur. If the foam is light, with a low sti!ness, the deformation behavior will

be determined by the natural buckling mode, namely the quasi-inextensional mode. This was partly

529

Fig. 15. Deformation pattern of foam-"lled steel box column: (a) initial fold formation (extensional), (b) quasiinextensional fold formation.

Fig. 16. Visual observed modes of side wall buckling. Number of lobes created indicated for the thick-walled extrusions.

observed for the largest wall thickness combined with the lightest foam, but more lobes

were created compared to the same component without adhesive. In addition, the two "rst

lobes created were asymmetric, hence the indicated `S/Aa mode of Fig. 16. If the foam is rather sti!,

and adhesive is applied, the deformation patterns likely to occur are asymmetric or extensional

modes.

530

Fig. 17. Crushing responses of bonded "lling: (a) instantaneous crushing force, (b) mean crushing force.

There are two mechanisms of energy dissipation in the case of bonded "lling. First mechanism is

bending and shear load transfer from the column wall to the foam through the adhesive. In this

case, the sti!ness of the column is so high that the initial load to cause local buckling initiation is

also very high (Fig. 17). In many cases, such a high crushing force will induce a extensional folding

mode.

Fig. 17 shows the instantaneous and mean crushing force of a bonded-"lled column compared to the empty case. The adhesive is modeled as a tight contact with shear and tension

strength of 150 MPa. The crushing force level obtained from the numerical simulation closely

follows the experimental data. The initially high crushing load is shown very clearly in

the numerical simulation, but not in the experiment (Fig. 17a). The inherent geometrical

imperfection of the column and the bonding interface at the actual experiments could lead to the

di!erence in the initial crushing load response. On the contrary, the geometrical model

of the foam}column interface in the numerical simulation is perfectly bonded. When the

shear or tension stress at the interface exceeds the strength of the adhesive, the bonding fails

and the interface returns to the case of unbonded "lling, where only additional compressive resistance is achieved. Therefore, the second mechanism is the peeling of the

adhesive.

In general, the crushing force responses obtained from numerical simulation follow the experiments very well, which is shown in much clear representation by the mean crushing force response

(Fig. 17b). The increase of the mean crushing force in the case of bonded "lling can reach 60%

higher than that of the unbonded case. Hence, the numerical prediction for the case of bonded

"lling can be written as

P "P #2.8p b2.

.,&'

.

&

(17)

531

Fig. 18. Mean crushing force of various foam-"lled sections with adhesive.

The numerical prediction is compared with the experiments as shown in Fig. 18. For various

ranges of geometries and materials, the proposed closed-form solution gives a rather good

correlation with the experiments.

It should be noted that the bonded "lling has an advantage of such a high strengthening

mechanism, which can doubled the value of the mean crushing force of the empty column.

However, appropriate geometrical parameter b/t and foam strength should be chosen to obtain

e$cient energy absorption. This is due to the fact that very high strengthening of a thin-walled

column could lead to an excessive straining in the column wall, and as a results the thin-walled

column ruptures. This phenomena is also observed in experiments [3].

The "nite element modeling developed in the present work has shown to correctly predict the

crush behavior of foam-"lled column. The numerical simulation has indicated that the overall

behavior of the progressive crushing process follows the actual test condition. The main points of

the present numerical and experimental studies can be summarized as follows:

1. The numerical model predicted very well the instantaneous crushing force, mean crushing force,

fold formation, and folding length. Based on the above results, design of crashworthy components of foam-"lled sections can be analyzed e$ciently by using numerical model composed of

shell and cellular solid elements.

2. In the case of unbonded "lling, frictionless contact condition appears to be su$cient to

model the interface interaction between the foam and the column wall, while in the case

532

of bonded "lling, adhesive with 150 MPa strength is also su$cient to model the bonded

interface.

3. One-dimensional orthotropic material modeling capable of undergoing large strain deformation appears to be appropriate to model aluminum foam material. However, new material

constitutive modeling for aluminum foam based on the biaxial or triaxial test is needed to obtain

more accurate results. This is due to the fact that during progressive crushing, aluminum foam

undergoes direct compression in the axial direction, and lateral compression from the column

wall.

4. The closed-form solution developed from the combination of analytical and numerical solution

appears to have very good agreement with the experimental results. The cloud of experimental

data in wide range of column geometries, materials, and foam strengths is within 8% of the

proposed solution. Therefore, with the ability of numerical simulation to predict the crash

behavior of "lled column, this type of analysis is expected to be highly useful in the design and

analysis of thin-walled column "lled by aluminum foam before actual destructive test is to be

carried out.

Acknowledgements

The present work was supported by the Joint MIT/Industry Consortium on Ultralight Metal

Body Structures and by Norks HYDRO ASA . The "nancial support from both sources are

gratefully acknowledged. The author would like to thank to Mr. Seitzberger of the Technical

University of Vienna for providing the experimental data and fruitful discussion. Words of

appreciation are also directed to Dr. E. Haug of ESI Paris, Dr. A. Tanavde of ESI US, and Mr. G.

Christ of Altair Computing for their continuous support with the "nite element programs of PAM

CRASHTM and mesh generator program of HYPERMESH.

Appendix

The weight of the foam specimens and component details are given in Tables 3 and 4.

Table 3

Weight of foam specimens (after drying). Estimated volume of foam specimens: 73]73]245 mm"1306 cm3

Specimen

number

Foam o

1

(g)

Foam o

2

(g)

1

2

3

4

5

6

328

254

215

246

282

245

451

392

411

465

482

467

712

556

688

603

651

572

533

Table 4

Mass and volume of components. Allocation of foam specimens

Adhesive,

Test

Wall

thickness,

thick/thin

Mass w/

adhesive

(kg)

Volume

Yes/No

Mass w/o

adhesive

(kg)

(dm3)

Combine w/foam

specimen

number

F0-1

F0-2

Thin

Thick

No

No

0.217

0.382

*

*

1.57

1.57

*

*

F1-1

F1-2

F1-3

F1-4

Thick

Thin

Thick

Thin

No

No

Yes

Yes

0.628

0.496

0.628

0.458

*

*

0.733

0.567

1.57

1.57

1.57

1.57

Foam

Foam

Foam

Foam

o

1

o

1

o

1

o

1

d4

d5

d6

d2

F2-1

F2-2

F2-3

F2-4

Thick

Thin

Thick

Thin

No

No

Yes

Yes

0.849

0.665

0.793

0.678

*

*

0.873

0.758

1.57

1.57

1.57

1.57

Foam

Foam

Foam

Foam

o

2

o

2

o

2

o

2

d6

d1

d3

d4

F3-1

F3-2

F3-3

F3-4

Thick

Thin

Thick

Thin

No

No

Yes

Yes

1.071

0.829

1.033

0.782

*

*

1.093

0.832

1.57

1.57

1.57

1.57

Foam

Foam

Foam

Foam

o

3

o

3

o

3

o

3

d3

d4

d5

d6

References

[1] Santosa SP. Results of MIT pilot studies on weight e$cient crashworthy components. Presented at the Meeting of

the Joint MIT-Industry Consortium on Ultralight Materials, Novemver 18, 1997.

[2] Hanssen AG, Langseth M. Development in aluminium based crash absorption components. Presented to the

Norwegian-French Industry Conference in Paris, November 1996, The Norwegian University of Science and

Technology, N-7034 Trondheim, Norway.

[3] Hanssen AG, Langseth M, Hopperstad OS. Static crushing of square aluminium extrusions with aluminium foam

"ller. Int J Mech Sci 1998, in press.

[4] Seitzberger M, Rammerstorfer FG, Degischer HP, Gradinger R. Crushing of axially compressed steel tubes "lled

with aluminium foam. Acta Mech 1997;125:93}105.

[5] Thornton PH. Energy absorption by foam "lled structures. SAE paper 800081, 1980.

[6] Lampinen BH, Jeryan JA. E!ectiveness of polyurethane foam in energy absorbing structures. SAE paper 820494,

1982.

[7] Reid SR, Reddy TY, Gray MD. Static and dynamic axial crushing of foam-"lled sheet metal tubes. Int J Mech Sci

1986;28(5):285}322.

[8] Thorton PM, Mahmood HF, Magee CL. Energy absorption by structural collapse. Jones N, Wierzbicki T. editors.

Structural crashworthiness. London: Butterworths, 1983:96}117.

[9] Santosa SP, Wierzbicki T. Crash behavior of box column "lled with aluminum honeycomb or foam.. Comput

Struct April 1998;68(4):343}68.

[10] Santosa SP, Wierzbicki T. E!ect of an ultralight metal "ller on the torsional crushing behavior of thin-walled

prismatic columns.. Int J Crashworthiness November 1997;2(4):305}32.

[11] Santosa SP, Wierzbicki T. E!ect of an ultralight metal "ller on the bending collapse behavior of thin-walled

prismatic columns. Technical Report 6, Impact & Crashworthiness Laboratory, MIT; International Journal of

Mechanical Sciences, 1998, in press.

534

[12] Abramowicz W, Wierzbicki T. Axial crushing of foam "lled columns. Int J Mech Sci 1988;30(3}4):263}71.

[13] Reddy TY, Wall RJ. Axial compression of foam-"lled thin-walled circular tubes. Int J Impact Engng

1988;7(2):151}66.

[14] Wierzbicki T, Abramowicz W. On the crushing mechanics of thin-walled structures. J Appl Mech 1983;50:727}39.

[15] Abramowicz W, Wierzbicki T. Axial crushing of multicorner sheet metal columns. J Appl Mech 1989;56:113}20.

[16] Wierzbicki T, Abramowicz W. The mechanics of deep plastic collapse of thin-walled structures. In: Jones N,

Wierzbicki T, editors. Structural Failure. New York: Wiley, 1989.

[17] Abramowicz W. The macro element approach in crash calculations, In: Ambrosio JAC, Pereira MFOS, Silva FP,

editors. Crashworthiness of transportation systems: structural impact and occupant protection. NATO ASI Series

E: Applied Sciences. Vol. 332. Dordrecht: Kluwer, 1997.

[18] Box GEP, Hunter WG, Hunter JS. Statistics for experimenters. New York: Wiley, 1978.

[19] ESI Group Software Product Co., Paris. PAM-CRASH User Manual, 1996.

[20] Seggewiss P. Numerical study of aluminum honeycomb structures (in German), MS thesis, Department of

Aerospace Engineering, Bundeswehr University, Germany, 1996.

[21] Santosa SP, Wierzbicki T. On the modelling of crush behavior of closed-cell aluminum foam structure. J Mech

Phys Solids 1998;46(4):645}69.

[22] Gibson LJ, Ashby MF. Cellular solids: structure and properties. Cambridge, UK: Cambridge University Press,

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