Mater.Sci.Technol. 16, 935-939, 2000


T. Daxner, F.G. Rammerstorfer and H.J. Böhm

Institute of Lightweight Structures and Aerospace Engineering, TU Wien, Vienna, Austria

Abstract - Metallic foams show some potential for being produced with controlled spatial variations in their density. This suggests employing them as graded materials in space filling lightweight structures in analogy to cortical bone, a natural cellular material, that displays increased density in regions of high loading. In the present study the influence of the mechanical properties of aluminium foams on the results of an optimisation of the foam density distribution with regard to structural strength and stiffness was examined. Regression formulae for the relationships between stiffness and strength of metallic foams on the one hand and effective density on the other hand can be fitted to the results of uniaxial compression tests of a certain brand of metallic foam. The results and additional assumptions such as overall isotropy and a yield surface suitable for cellular materials can be implemented into a finite element program adapted for performing stiffness optimisation on the basis of a density adaptation similar to the remodelling of bone. Some applications are presented that show how foams with gradients in the apparent density may be employed to obtain optimal structural behavior for classical design problems.