Effect of hollow sphere size and size distribution on the quasi-static and high strain rate compressive properties of Al-A380-Al2O3 syntactic foams

Joseph A. Santa Maria, Benjamin F. Schultz, J. B. Ferguson, Nikhil Gupta, Pradeep K. Rohatgi

Research output: Contribution to journalArticle


Metal matrix syntactic foams are promising materials for energy absorption; however, few studies have examined the effects of hollow sphere dimensions and foam microstructure on the quasi-static and high strain rate properties of the resulting foam. Aluminum alloy A380 syntactic foams containing Al 2O3 hollow spheres sorted by size and size range were synthesized by a sub-atmospheric pressure infiltration technique. The resulting samples were tested in compression at strain rates ranging from 10-3 s-1 using a conventional load frame to 1720 s-1 using a Split Hopkinson Pressure-bar test apparatus. It is shown that the quasi-static compressive stress-strain curves exhibit distinct deformation events corresponding to initial failure of the foam at the critical resolved shear stress and subsequent failures and densification events until the foam is deformed to full density. The peak strength, plateau strength, and toughness of the foam increases with increasing hollow sphere wall thickness to diameter (t/D) ratio. Since t/D was found to increase with decreasing hollow sphere diameter, the foams produced with smaller spheres showed improved performance. The compressive properties did not show measurable strain rate dependence.

Original languageEnglish (US)
Pages (from-to)1267-1278
Number of pages12
JournalJournal of Materials Science
Issue number3
StatePublished - Feb 1 2014


ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • Materials Science(all)
  • Mechanics of Materials
  • Mechanical Engineering

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