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A Micromechanics Model for Electrical Conductivity of Three-Dimensional Open-Cell Metallic Foams

[+] Author Affiliations
Hanzheng Li

Dulles High School, Sugar Land, TX

Ke Li

Schlumberger Technology Corporation, Sugar Land, TX

Xin-Lin Gao

Southern Methodist University, Dallas, TX

Paper No. IMECE2017-71138, pp. V009T12A057; 7 pages
  • ASME 2017 International Mechanical Engineering Congress and Exposition
  • Volume 9: Mechanics of Solids, Structures and Fluids; NDE, Structural Health Monitoring and Prognosis
  • Tampa, Florida, USA, November 3–9, 2017
  • Conference Sponsors: ASME
  • ISBN: 978-0-7918-5844-8
  • Copyright © 2017 by ASME


A microstructure based model is developed to predict the effective electrical conductivity of open-cell metallic foams. A tetrakaidecahedral cell is adopted as the repeating unit, which comprises of 32 ligaments and 24 joints. Each ligament contains a straight section with a uniform cross section and two identical joint sections. Each joint is formed with four identical joint sections. The geometries of the ligaments are constructed based on the minimum surface energy reached during the foaming process. The electrical conductivity of a joint section is first numerically computed. It is then used, along with that of the straight section of the ligament, to give rise to the conductivity of the ligament for a given relative density. The effective electrical conductivity of the foam is then analytically determined along four typical orientations of the unit cell with the resistor network method and Kirchhoff’s current and voltage laws. The numerical results indicate that the electrical conductivity of 3-D open-cell foams exhibits some degree of anisotropy. The predictions of the foam conductivity along the four identified orientations well encompass the scattering of the experimental measurements reported in the existing studies.

Copyright © 2017 by ASME



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