Evaluation of the anisotropic mechanical properties of reinforced polyurethane foams

A.R. Hamilton, O.T. Thomsen, L.A.O. Madaleno, L.R. Jensen, J.C.M. Rauhe, R. Pyrz

Research output: Contribution to journalArticle (Academic Journal)peer-review

78 Citations (Scopus)


The mechanical impact of adding milled glass fibers and nanoparticles at different mass fractions to low-density (relative density lt; 0.2) polyurethane (PU) foams is investigated. Tensile, compressive, and shear stress?strain curves are measured in the plane parallel to the foam-rise direction and the in-plane components of the elastic modulus are determined in order to assess the mechanical anisotropy of the foams. Power-law relationships between the moduli and apparent density are established for pure PU foams and used as a baseline to which the properties of composite foams are compared. Cellular mechanics models based on both rectangular and Kelvin unit-cell geometries are employed to estimate changes in the cell shape based on the mechanical anisotropy of composite foams, and the model results are compared with direct observations of the cellular structure from microscopy. A single measure of foam stiffness reinforcement is defined that excludes the effects of the apparent foam density and cell shape. The analysis reveals the large impact of cell shape on the moduli of the glass-fiber and nanocomposite foams. Nanocomposite foams exhibit up to an 11.1% degree of reinforcement, and glass-fiber foams up to 18.7% using this method for quantifying foam reinforcement, whereas a simple normalization to the in-plane modulus components of the pure PU foam would indicate from ?40.5% to 25.9% reinforcement in nanocomposite foams, and ?7.5 to 20.2% in glass-fiber foams.
Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)210-217
Number of pages8
JournalComposites Science and Technology
Publication statusPublished - 1 Oct 2013


  • A. particle-reinforced composites, A. nanocomposites, B. porosity/voids, C. elastic properties, cellular materials


Dive into the research topics of 'Evaluation of the anisotropic mechanical properties of reinforced polyurethane foams'. Together they form a unique fingerprint.

Cite this