University of Leicester
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Mechanical behaviour of flexible polyurethane foams.

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posted on 2015-11-19, 08:58 authored by Jonathan Mark. Williams
Dunlop Suspensions and Components manufacture microvon, a flexible polyurethane foam, which is used extensively in the automotive industry as spring aids for car suspension systems. The material is used because of its desirable non-linear elastic stress/stain characteristics, its quick recovery behaviour, and because it tends to produce little lateral expansion during compression. The design of such spring aid components, however, remains something of a black art, since the behaviour of the material is not fully understood. Complications arise because the mechanical properties of the material are controlled by a large number of physical, chemical and processing effects. The aim of the research has been to gain further understanding of the material, and its response under load, in order to be able to predict the compressive behaviour of the material. This has been achieved by combining microstructural observations of the deforming material with information obtained from detailed mechanical tests. There have been many attempts by researchers to describe the behaviour of cellular materials. This has been done in a variety of ways, and approaches have included developing complicated strain energy functions or utilising simple models based on repeating cell units. However, a number of difficulties are encountered when applying these material models to microvon. The microstructural observations and mechanical tests undertaken in this research have led to the development of new material models for cellular materials. Two types of model have been developed; a physical model and a series of phenomenological models. The physical model is a bi-linear relationship between stress, strain and density, in which the mechanisms of deformation are described. The phenomenological models have been developed using curve- fitting, to accurately predict the axial stress/strain and lateral/axial strain behaviour of microvon over a wide range of strain, density, temperature and strain rate.


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University of Leicester

Qualification level

  • Doctoral

Qualification name

  • PhD



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