This work addresses the thermal finite element analysis (FE) of cellular aluminium with irregular pore structures. The used finite element models are generated with computed tomography (CT) images as a basis. Three-dimensional brick elements of cubic shape are used. The material properties of each element are thereby defined based on corresponding pixels in computed tomography images. The proposed analysis with mapping of material properties on a regular finite element mesh is first validated on simple two dimensional models of regular geometries. The obtained results are compared to highly accurate reference solutions and analytical predictions. Subsequently, the FEM thermal analysis of closed cell Alporas® aluminium foam and open cell M-Pore® aluminium sponge is carried out determining the effective thermal conductivities of these materials in three perpendicular directions in order to investigate the anisotropic properties of both structures. The variability in the material volume (due to meso-inhomogeneities) has been inspected by computing different sub-volumes of the specimens.
Materialwissenschaft und Werkstofftechnik Vol. 40, Issue 3, p. 139-143