Characterization and modeling of the mechanical behavior of polymer foam
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Polymer foams are often used in safety applications, for example in pedestrian impact protection where a polymer foam bumper can increase pedestrian safety in the event of an accident. Application of this type of material necessitates a thorough understanding of the mechanical behavior, and how to represent the material for use in modern design tools like finite element modeling. The work in the thesis is twofold and covers characterization of the mechanical properties and micromechanical modeling of polymer foams. First, we aim to better understand how polymer foams, and expanded polypropylene (EPP) in particular, respond to different loading scenarios and environmental conditions. Second, a micromechanical model has been developed to better understand the mechanical response of foam structures subjected to complex loading conditions.