Digital Twin: Our Multiscale Simulation Chain for Foam Components

Process Chain Digital Twin Foam

Foam products have various lightweight properties that make them attractive for a wide variety of applications. They are used, for example, in shock absorption, acoustics or even thermal insulation. Industries such as the automotive, aircraft, refrigeration, construction and packaging industries in particular benefit from the features to obtain more cost-effective products.

Our digital twins enable the complete digitization of the development, design and manufacturing processes of foam components – taking into account the local foam properties.

Overview of the Simulation Chain Process: Simulate Foam

The digital twin for foam components starts with the simulation of the foaming process, such as the Reaction Injection Molding (RIM) process with our FOAM software, to determine the local density and pore size distribution of the foam component.

Based on the FOAM results, a foam database is dynamically created for different densities and pore sizes. This step relies on microstructure simulations performed with FeelMath. Finally, all results from FOAM and FeelMath are automatically merged into one database to optimally design the load-compliant mechanical component design of the foam components, including an extended FE simulation taking into account material properties and process conditions.

Digital Twin FOAM – Multiscale-Simulation Chain for Foam Components
© Fraunhofer ITWM
Digital Twin FOAM – Multiscale-Simulation Chain for Foam Components

We offer:

  • Thermomechanical multi-scale simulation of foam components  
  • Design of foaming processes
  • Microstructural material optimization for specific foam components
  • Simulation-based functional design of foam components in terms of material properties and/or foam manufacturing process

Our Software FOAM offers:

  • Foaming of different foams (polyurethane-PU, flexible foam, rigid foam) in complex geometries
  • Simulation-supported design of foam molds (placement or course of injection nozzles, position of venting, angle of inclination)
  • Process design of foaming processes for insulation components, sandwich panels, seats, etc.
  • Process design of textile-reinforced PU foam lightweight structures

Simulation of Foam Filling and Expansion Using the Example of a Car Seat

FeelMath – Microstructure Simulation of Foams

With the microstructure simulation technique it is possible to calculate the effective mechanical, thermal and acoustic properties of foams. FeelMath is an extremely fast and easy-to-use analysis tool for calculating the effective mechanical and thermal properties of microstructures given by volume images (µCT) or analytical descriptions (foam models). With FeelMath, we can perform full-field simulations on representative elementary volumes of foams for different densities and pore sizes to obtain effective material models for multiscale simulation of foam components.

Microstructure simulation of foams (FOAM): deformed microstructure and local stresses
© Fraunhofer ITWM
Microstructure simulation of foams (FOAM): deformed microstructure and local stresses