Journal of Materials Science

, Volume 42, Issue 15, pp 6123–6132 | Cite as

Novel syntactic foams made of ceramic hollow micro-spheres and starch: theory, structure and properties

  • Md Mainul Islam
  • Ho Sung KimEmail author


Novel syntactic foams for potential building material applications were developed using starch as binder and ceramic hollow micro-spheres available as waste from coal-fire power stations. Foams of four different micro-sphere size groups were manufactured with either pre- or post-mould gelatinization process. They were of ternary system including voids with a foam density range of approximately 0.33–0.44 g/cc. Compressive failure behaviour and mechanical properties of the manufactured foams were evaluated. Not much difference in failure behaviour or in mechanical properties between the two different processes (pre- and post-mould gels) was found for a given binder content. Compressive failure of all syntactic foams was of shear on plane inclined 45° to compressive loading direction. Failure surfaces of most syntactic foams were characterized by debonded micro-spheres. Compressive strength and modulus of syntactic foams were found to be dependant mainly on binder content but mostly independent of micro-sphere size. Some conditions of relativity arising from properties of constituents leading to the rule of mixtures relationships for compressive strength and to understanding of compressive/transitional failure behaviour were developed. The developed relationships based on the rule of mixtures were partially verified. Some formation of starch webs on failure surfaces was discussed.


Starch Foam Compressive Strength Starch Content Binder Content 



One of the authors (M. M. Islam) gratefully acknowledges the University of Newcastle Postgraduate Research Scholarship (UNRS) and International Postgraduate Research Scholarship (IPRS). The authors thank Envirospheres Pty Ltd, Australia for supplying ceramic hollow micro-spheres for this study.


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Copyright information

© Springer Science+Business Media, LLC 2007

Authors and Affiliations

  1. 1.Discipline of Mechanical Engineering, School of Engineering, Faculty of Engineering and Built EnvironmentThe University of NewcastleCallaghanAustralia

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