Evaluation of Syntactic Foam for Energy Absorption at Low to Moderate Loading Rates

  • T. R. Walter
  • J. Sietins
  • P. Moy


Many structural applications require the use of lightweight energy absorbing materials for the increase in mass efficiency. Sandwich composite structures have been implemented to fill this need in both aerospace and marine applications. To maximize the structural performance the core material should have excellent compressive stiffness and strength as well as good shear strength. Recently syntactic foams have been developed to offer a simple cost effective method to produce a number of complex molded shapes with high relative energy and stiffness. This study compared the mechanical properties of traditional foams and recently developed syntactic foams to determine the energy absorbing characteristics at low and moderate rates of loading. Test results were fit to a phenomenological model to further study the mechanical behavior. Results from this study will demonstrate the need for the development of new, efficient cellular material for energy absorption and protection applications.


Syntactic Foam Energy Absorption Strain Rate 


Unable to display preview. Download preview PDF.

Unable to display preview. Download preview PDF.


  1. [1]
    Gibson, L.J., and Ashby, M.F., 1999, Cellular Solids: Structure and Properties, Cambridge University Press, Cambridge.Google Scholar
  2. [2]
    Miltz, J., and Gruenbaum, G., 1981, “Evaluation of Cushioning Properties of Plastic Foams From Compression Measurements,” Polym. Eng. Sci., 21(15), pp. 1010–1014.CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  3. [3]
    Rusch, K.C., 1970 “Load-Compression Behavior of Brittle Foams,” J. Appl. Polym Sci. 14(5), pp. 1263–1276.CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  4. [4]
    Rusch, K.C., 1969 “Load-Compression Behavior of Flexible Foams,” J. Appl. Polym. Sci. 13(11), pp. 2297–2311.CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  5. [5]
    Avalle, M., Belingardi, G. and Ibba, A., 2007, “Mechanical Models of Cellular Solids: Parameters Identification From Experimental Tests,” Int. J. Impact Eng., 34(1), pp. 3–27.CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  6. [6]
    Subhash, G., and Liu, Q., 2004, “Crushability Maps for Structural Polymeric Foams in Uniaxial Loading Under Rigid Confinement,” Exp. Mech., 44(3), pp. 289–294.CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  7. [7]
    Liu, Q., Subhash, G. and Gao, X.-L., 2005, “A Parametric Study on Crushability of Open-Cell Structural Polymeric Foams,” J. Porous Mater., 12(3), pp. 233–248.CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  8. [8]
    Walter, T.R., Richards, A.W., and Subhash, G., 2009, “A Unified Phenomenological Model for Tensile and Compressive Response of Polymeric Foams,” J. Eng. Mater. Technol., 131(1), 011009–2.Google Scholar

Copyright information

© TMS (The Minerals, Metals & Materials Society) 2015

Authors and Affiliations

  • T. R. Walter
    • 1
  • J. Sietins
    • 1
  • P. Moy
    • 1
  1. 1.The United States Army Research LaboratoryUSA

Personalised recommendations