Parameter identification for foam materials

W.M Wang and P.P.M. Lemmen Crash Safety Centre, TNO Automotive Schoemakerstraat 97, P.O. Box 6033, 2600 JA Delft, The Netherlands;

Abstract: In this paper parameter identification procedures are presented. The procedures are based on the least squares estimation, which minimise a merit function by measuring the agreement between experimental and simulation data. Two algorithms are investigated, namely, simplex and gradient search methods. Also two strategies are considered, namely, simultaneous and sequential identification. The test results show that the gradient search algorithm, in combination with the sequential identification strategy, is the most applicable and economical solution for parameter identification of foam materials. Keyword: Parameter identification, foams, crashworthiness, optimisation. 1. Introduction Low-density polymeric foams have found more and more automotive applications due to their excellent impact energy-absorbing capability. For example, foams can be used as an energy absorber in a weight-saving resilient bumper system and play an important role in protecting occupants during vehicle crashes [3]. Recent interest in the numerical simulations of vehicle crashworthiness requires an appropriate foam material model. In general, foam materials show a high non-linearity and strain-rate sensitivity under impact loading. Because of these complex characteristics, the parameter identification of a foam model becomes crucial for the numerical analysis. The main objective of this paper is to develop a parameter identification procedure for phenomenological foam models. The paper is organised as follows: In Section 2 the general procedures for parameter identification process are discussed. In Section 3 the material behaviour of polymeric foams are described

and the corresponding material parameter identification procedures are investigated. In Section 4, an application example of FMVSS 201 headform is given. Conclusions and recommendations follow in Section 5.

2. Parameter identification process 2.1 General approach In general, the parameter identification approach can be described as in Figure (1).

Figure 1 Diagram of parameter identification approaches Assume one has experimental data, cf. displacement and force [u k, Fk], where the subscript k refers to the test number taken from a series of N tests (k=1,...,N). For each test, the data are collected from T subsequent points of time and P specified positions. Note that the ordering of the complete set of data can be arbitrary and not necessary in a specified ordering. One can choose column u as the model-input (simulation) data and column F as the target (experimental) data. The targets are considered to be a non-linear function of a set of unknown material parameters x: F = h (x) + e (1)

where h is a model solution for the targets F, and e is the residuals that includes both the model and the experimental errors.

3rd European MADYMO Users’ Meeting 14 Sept 2001, Stuttgart, W.M. Wang page 1

Note that the calculation of model value h with given material parameters x is a direct problem. Correspondingly, the identification of material parameters analyzing their effect in the model value is an inverse problem. As a rule the inverse problem for the nonlinear material behavior is an ill-posed problem (a problem is well-posed if its solution exists and it is unique and stable). The model operator h is a nonlinear implicit one, and its structure is not known. Therefore, its inversion is impossible and the inverse problem should be formulated as the minimization of equation (1). The model parameter x is determined such that a scalar measure of the residual e i s minimized under the constraint that the model equations are satisfied exactly or as good as possible. Consider the problem as formulated in equation (1), a generalised least-squares estimation procedure follows the minimisation of a non-negative function [2,4-8] J = [ F – h( x) ]T w [ F – h( x) ] + (x– x0 )T v (x– x0 ) (2)

For a complex problem each function evaluation is a complete finite element analysis and it is computationally expensive. The algorithms in the second class become attractive because they are usually more efficient. They have a broad applicability, although often particular conditions have to be placed on the objective function (cf. the condition regarding the smoothness of objective function). In the gradient algorithm, in general, a GaussNewton iterative algorithm should be applied and a so-called sensitivity matrix must be determined for each iteration. To approximate the sensitivity matrix numerically, a finite difference approach is one of the simplest methods. In this approach [see Figure (2)], the parameters are perturbed one after each other, and for each perturbed parameter, the response of the model is calculated. Then the sensitivity matrix is calculated from the differences between the response of the initial parameter set and the response of each perturbed parameter set. This approach is flexible in use, because no adjustment have to be made to the finite element code used to calculate the response for a particular parameter set. On the other hand, it is computationally expensive and it can be inaccurate in some situations. A less accurately determined sensitivity matrix may result in slower convergence or even divergence of the iterative scheme.

where w and v are two positive defined symmetric weighting matrices. The first term of this equation accounts for the difference between measured and calculated data and the second term accounts for the difference between initial and current parameter estimation. The entries of the matrix w and v are used to express the confidence in the measurements and a priori estimation, respectively, where larger values correspond to higher confidence [2,4-8].

2.3 Strategy Apart from the algorithm described above for minimizing eq.(2), the strategy will also significantly influence the efficient and the final success of the identification procedure. Basically, two distinct parameter estimation strategies are often used [2-8]: 1) Identify all parameters simultaneously. 2) Identify parameters subsequently. For foam materials that we will be investigated in the next section, the first strategy implies that all the material parameters, with respect to static and dynamic parameters, are identified simultaneously. The second strategy allows one to identify the static parameters first and then the dynamic parameters.

2.2 Algorithm The optimisation algorithms available for minimising the merit function (2) may be categorised in two classes: 1) algorithms that use only function evaluations (simplex algorithms) 2) algorithms that use gradient information (gradient algorithms). The algorithms in the first class are relatively simple to implement and usually do not place conditions on the properties of the merit function. However, they may require many function evaluations for finding a minimum.

3rd European MADYMO Users’ Meeting 14 Sept 2001, Stuttgart, W.M. Wang page 2


Input of experimental data and estimation data

under crash, strain-rate dependency is a very important factor. It is found that if a dynamic stress-strain relationship from experimental data is directly used as the basic stress-strain relation in a simulation, without considering the strain rate effects, the foam model will be either stiffer or softer than the real foam [1].

Finite element analysis with current parameter set

Perturb one parameter value

Finite element analysis with a perturbed parameter set No All parameters perturbed ? Yes Calculate sensitivity matrix

Determine new estimate of parameter set No Convergence ? Yes End

Figure 3 Stress-strain curve under uni-axial compressive load A wide range of foam models can be found in literature [3,11]. One of the most popular and successfully applied models is based on the following assumptions 1) There is no coupling between stresses and strains of different principal directions, hence Poisson effects are neglected. 2) The effects of strain rate, temperature and foam relative density can be characterized by a scaling factor. Consequently, the stress-strain curve can be determined from uni-axial compression and tension tests for different loading rates, temperatures and densities, respectively. In general, the stress-strain relationship has the following form

Figure 2 Flow diagram of the estimation algorithm

3. Parameter identification of foam materials 3.1 MADYMO foam model As a model example, foam materials are considered here. In general, the macroscopic stress-strain relationship of foams can be characterized by an initial linear elastic stage, followed by a long horizontal plateau and ended up with a rapid strain hardening, see Figure (3). Microscopically, the linear elasticity is due to the cell wall bending. The long plateau is related to the collapse of the cell and the densification hardening is caused by the contact of all collapsed cells. From an application perspective, the most important properties are the elastic stiffness, the yield strength, the plateau stress and the densification strain (when the cells crush together). Furthermore, for modeling foams

& σ = σ r (ε ) g ( ε , ε , T , ρ )


σ r is a reference curve which specifies

the stress-strain relationship at a specified & strain rate ε r (preferably static behavior), temperature Tr and relative density ρr. The function g is a scaling factor which may depend on the effective strain, the effective strain rate, the temperature and the foam relative density, respectively. For simplicity

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and without loss the generality, in this study the effects of temperature and density will be ignored. Two models are considered for scaling up the reference curve, namely, the Cowper-Symonds and the Johnson-Cook formulations Cowper-Symonds:

Curver fit for Cowper-Symonds 14 drop test with impact velocity v =2m/s curve fit for impact velocity v =2m/s drop test with impact velocity v =8m/s curve fit for impact velocity v =8m/s

12 ] n k [ e c r o F

10 1) Drate = 2.0387e+000 2) Prate = 4.9372e+000




& ε  & g (ε ) = 1 +   D

1 p


0 0 5 10 15 20 25 30 compressive deformation [mm] 35 40 45

Figure 5 Curve fitting for simplex search method
First, the sequential identification strategy is investigated. The reference curve is taken from literature [12]. The strain rate for this curve is assumed to be 0.01 1/s. To identify the dynamic scalar factor, a drop test with different initial impact speeds should be carried out. This is a simple and frequently used experimental test to obtain material parameters of polymeric foams under crush condition. Figure (4) shows the FE model used to generate the target data. The specimen has a block size of 100 × 100 × 100 mm and is supported at the bottom. The impactor has a weight of 100 kg. Four impact velocities are considered: 2, 4, 6, and 8 m/s, respectively. The specimen is modeled using eight brick elements with a reduced integration. The target (test) data have been generated using the Cowper-Symonds law with D = 2.0 1/s and p = 5.0. Unloading is not considered and therefore the hysteresis model is ignored. By setting the deflection of the impactor as input data and the impact force as target data, the parameter identification procedure has been applied with the simplex search algorithm and the gradient search algorithm, with the same initial estimation of D = 1.0 1/s and p = 1.0. After the parameters have been obtained, MADYMO is rerun and the obtained force-displacement curves are compared with the generated target data. Figure (5) give the results (identified values for D and p listed in figures). For clarity only data with impact velocity of 2 and 8 m/s are plotted. Almost identical results are found for both methods. Table (1) summarizes results in terms of identified data, number of iteration and number of model calculation required. Data in this table clearly indicate the merit of

&   ε & g (ε ) = 1 + p ln  max  , 1  (5)    D  

where D and p are material constants.

Figure 4 Impact drop test device

3.2 Experimental calibration To apply the above foam model in the numerical simulations of vehicle crashworthiness, a reference curve and two material parameters [D and p in eqs.(4-5)] should be specified. These data can be calibrated by a foam component test. The reference curve can be obtained by performing a constant strain-rate test at a low strain rate, preferably a quasi-static test. Parameters D and p are obtained from dynamic impact tests on foam blocks. As strain rates will vary during such tests parameter identification procedures are required.

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the gradient search algorithm. The gradient search method can reduce more than 60% of CPU time. Table 1: Parameter identification results
Method Identified data Number of iteration Simplex search Gradient search D=2.038 P=4.937 D=2.071 P=4.899 6 18 46 Number of Model calculation

assumed D=1.0, p=1.0, E=1.0e+6, εl=0.02, Hp=1.0e+3, εd=0.6 and Hd =1.0e+7. Figure (7) compares force-displacement curves recovered with the identified parameters with the generated data. Again the data correlate very well. However, the computational cost rockets up because more than 3000 iterations are required.
Curver fit for Cowper-Symonds 14 drop test with impact velocity v =2m/s curve fit for impact velocity v =2m/s drop test with impact velocity v =8m/s curve fit for impact velocity v =8m/s

12 ] 10 n k [ 8 e c r 6 o F 4







15 20 25 30 compressive deformation [mm]




Figure 7 Curve fitting all parameters

Scaled curve g = g(D,p) σy E εl εd Hp

Hd Reference curve


Figure 6 Stress strain curves and model parameters Next all the parameters including those of the reference curve are identified simultaneously. The stress strain curve of figure (3) is approximated by a piecewise linear approximation as indicated in Figure (6). In that case 7 parameters need to be identified. Five for the reference curve and two for the dynamic scale factor. The parameters for the reference curve are the elastic modulus E, the elastic limit strain εl (or the initial yield stress σy), the plastic hardening modulus Hp, the densification strain εd and the densification modulus Hd. The parameters for the scale factor are D and p from eqs. (4)-(5). Again the Cowper-Symonds law is used for the model data. The following initial values are

Figure 8 Different meshes used in headform studies

4. Application This section outlines a possible application for the suggested parameter identification procedure. As part of a larger study into improved Finite Element dummy modeling strategies, TNO is currently investigating the FMVSS 201 headform. Aspects like mesh density, material models and interfacing between materials are considered, see for instance Figure 8. The skin is modeled using solid elements with the linear viscoelastic material model of MADYMO (LINVIS). In this material model the second Piola-Kirchoff

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stress tensor P is related to the Green-Lagrange strain tensor E by
& P = Ktr(E)I + 2 ∫ G(t − τ )E D dτ
-∞ t


where K is the bulkmodulus and G is the deviatoric memory function. The subscript D denotes the deviatoric part. The deviatoric memory function is defined as

G (t ) = γ ∞ + ∑ γ i e −t / τ i


where t is the time scale of the deformation process, γ∞ is the static shear modulus, γi the dynamic shear modulus of fraction i and τi the associated time constant [6]. Parameters for the time dependent term may be derived from impact tests with the headform against a flat plate. For this process the MADYMIZER is used to minimize the difference between experimental and model data for three different impact speeds.

Figure 10 Acceleration versus time curves for optimized set of parameters Figure 9 and 10 show results from a typical run with the mesh at the left side of Figure 8. For this example only one fraction i=1 was considered. An initial parameter set was optimized such as to fall within specified targets for the maximum head acceleration and HIC(d) value for each of the three impact speeds (Figure 9). For this case the simplex method of the MADYMIZER needed five cycles to find the optimum. The total number of function evaluations was 63 and the required CPU time 6 hours at an SGI Octane. Using the gradient based approach the required number of evaluations would be reduced by a factor of 3 and the required CPU time would become approximately 2 hours. This reduction makes it feasibly to consider denser meshes in the optimization study. When halving the element size of the skin the CPU increases by a factor of 16. An optimization run with the simplex method would cost 96 hours (4 days)

Figure 9 Peak accelerations and HIC(d) values for base set and optimized set for considered impact speeds. Lines indicate targets.

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whereas the gradient based method would require only 32 hours (1_ day).

References [1] Ando k. et al, Foam material calibration for the side impact simulation. SAE paper number 96-S8-W-15. [2] Camp O., Identification algorithm for time-dependent materials, PhD thesis, TU Eindhoven, 1996. [3] Chang F. et al, Unified constitutive equations of foam materials, J. Eng. Mater. Tech., 120 (1998), 212-217. [4] Fletcher R. (1987), Practical methods of optimization, John Wiley & Sons. [5] Hendriks M. (1991), Identification of the mechanical behaviour of solid materials, PhD thesis, TU Eindhoven. [6] MADYMO Manual Version 5.4. [7] Norton J. P. (1986), An introduction to identification, Academic Press, London. [8] Ratingen M.(1994), Mechanical identification of inhomogeneous solids, PhD thesis, TU Eindhoven. [9] Sol H. & Oomens C. (Eds.) ‘Material identification using mixed numerical experimental methods’, Proc. Of the EUROMECH colloquium, Kerkrade, The Netherlands, 1997. [10] Sol, H. (1986), Identification of anisotropic plate rigidities using free vibration data, Ph.D thesis, Free University of Brussels, Belgium. [11] Zhang J. et al (1998), Constitutive modelling of polymeric foam material subjected to dynamic crash loading, Int. J. Impact Eng., 21, 369-386.

5. Conclusions Parameter identification procedures for phenomenological models of polymeric foam were discussed. The procedures are based on the least squares estimation, which minimise a merit function by measuring the agreement between the experimental and the model data. For the minimizing the merit function two algorithms were considered, namely, simplex search method and the gradient search method. The simplex method is more generally applicable. Although not considered in this study the method can deal with arbitrary geometry and constitutive models when coupled to a finite element code. However, because many model calculations are required, CPU times may become very high. In such a case a good initial estimation of parameters is important to reduce the number of model calculations. The gradient search algorithm becomes attractive from a computational point of view. Because it is more efficient and has a broad applicability. Although particular conditions have to be placed on the objective function. For foam materials, in relation with the two search algorithms, two strategies were also considered: sequential or simultaneous identification of the material parameters. In the first case the reference curve and dynamic scale factor are sequentially identified. In the latter case they are calibrated simultaneously. The test results show that the gradient search algorithm, in combination with the sequential identification strategy, is the most applicable and economical solution for parameter identification of foam materials.

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