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Access Type

Open Access

Document Type


Degree Program

Civil Engineering

Degree Type

Master of Science in Civil Engineering (M.S.C.E.)

Year Degree Awarded


Month Degree Awarded



steel foam, structural engineering, microstructural modeling, steel, material


Cellular metals made from aluminum, titanium, or other metals are becoming increasingly popular for use in structural components of automobiles, aircraft, and orthopaedic implants. Civil engineering applications remain largely absent, primarily due to poor understanding of the material and its structural properties. However, the material features a high stiffness to weight ratio, excellent energy dissipation, and low thermal conductivity, suggesting that it could become a highly valuable new material in structural engineering. Previous attempts to characterize the mechanical properties of steel foam have focused almost exclusively upon uniaxial compression tests, both in experimental research and in computational simulations. Further, computational simulations have rarely taken the randomness of the material’s microstructure into account and have instead simplified the material to a regular structure. Experimental tests have therefore been performed upon both hollow spheres and PCM steel foams to determine compressive, tensile, and shear properties. Computational simulations which accurately represent the randomness within the microstructure have been validated against these experimental results and then used to simulate other material scale tests. Simulated test matrices have determined macroscopic system sensitivity to various material and geometrical parameters.


First Advisor

Sanjay R. Arwade