Three-dimensional in situ observations of compressive damage mechanisms in syntactic foam using X-ray microcomputed tomography

M E Kartal, L H Dugdale, J J Harrigan, M A Siddiq, D Pokrajac, D M Mulvihill

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

12 Citations (Scopus)
10 Downloads (Pure)


Syntactic foams with hollow glass microspheres embedded in an epoxy matrix are used in marine, aerospace and ground transportation vehicle applications. This work presents an in situ experimental study of failure mechanisms in syntactic foam based on X-ray microcomputed tomography with uniaxial compression. Under different levels of compressive strain, the material was scanned using X-ray microcomputed tomography to obtain three-dimensional (3D) images of its internal microstructure. Experiments with the same parameters were carried out to investigate repeatability. The microscopic observations have suggested that damage nucleation occurs at the weakest microspheres. When applied strain increases, shear collapse bands (SCBs) develop local to the fragmented microspheres due to stress concentration and bending deformation around SCBs occurs. After significant strain, the thickness of the SCBs increases owing to the accumulation of the broken microspheres. The relationship between the volume fraction of microspheres and applied bulk strain has been characterised.
Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)10186-10197
Number of pages11
JournalJournal of Materials Science
Issue number17
Early online date31 May 2017
Publication statusPublished - Sept 2017

Bibliographical note

Royal Society Grant number RG140680 Lloyd's Register Foundation (GB) Oil and Gas Academy of Scotland
Open access via Springer Compact Agreement


  • syntactic foams
  • damage mechanisms
  • X-Ray micro-computed tomography
  • microstructure
  • compression


Dive into the research topics of 'Three-dimensional in situ observations of compressive damage mechanisms in syntactic foam using X-ray microcomputed tomography'. Together they form a unique fingerprint.

Cite this