On the development of a simulation approach for modelling cellulosic foams as a core-material for lightweight bio-based sandwich panels

  • Wagner, Markus (TU Graz)
  • Baumann, Georg (TU Graz)
  • Jiang, Qixiang (Uni Vienna)
  • Debabeche, Nesrine (Uni Vienna)
  • Nypelö, Tiina (Chalmers)
  • Spirk, Stefan (TU Graz)
  • Hirn, Ulrich (TU Graz)
  • Bauer, Wolfgang (TU Graz)
  • Feist, Florian (TU Graz)

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Despite the urgent need for more sustainable and CO2-neutral materials, synthetic foams are still ubiquitous in many fields of applications like in automotive, the building industry or for packaging. Within the project BreadCell a novel foaming process for generating cellulosic foams out of wood pulp fibre was developed. In order to use such bio-based foams for structural purposes like in a lightweight sandwich panel or even crash-applications a deep understanding of its mechanical behaviour is mandatory. Therefore, a numerical approach for generating and simulating the cellulosic fibrous network structure was developed. By using this model, the effect of major influencing parameters like fibre properties (length, kinks, cross-section, curls, stiffness and strength) but also of morphological properties (pore-orientation, pore-size, density of the network, etc.) was studied. The modelling approach allows to simulate bulky fibrous network structures (foams) but also planar sheet like-structures (papers). Mechanical tests on foam and paper samples were conducted in order to validate the simulation approach. The combination of those two settings for the generation of foam-like and paper-like structures can be further used to model and optimize the layer-structure of lightweight sustainable sandwich-panels generated from wood pulps.