Digital Twin FOAM: Multiscale-Simulation Chain for Foam Components

Simulation of Foam Components

Foam products exhibit various properties that make them attractive for a wide variety of applications, especially for lightweight construction. They are useful in shock applications, acoustics, and thermal ­insulation. Industries such as the automotive, aircraft, refrigeration, construction, and packaging industries in particular benefit from these features in fabricating cost-effective products.

The Digital Twin FOAM enables the complete digitalization of development, design and manufacturing processes of foamed components – taking into account the local foam properties.

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

Overview of the Simulation Chain Process: Simulate Foam

The Digital Twin FOAM for foam components starts by simulating 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 material database is created dynamically 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 in a database to optimally design the load-compliant mechanical component design of the foam component with an extended FE simulation taking into account material properties and process conditions.

We Offer:

  • Thermo-mechanical multi-scale simulation of foam components  
  • Design of foaming processes
  • Micro-structural material optimization for specific foam components
  • Simulation based functional design of foam components w.r.t to the material properties and/or the foam production process

FOAM-Simulation of Reaction Injection Molding Processes

Our software FOAM simulates the expansion process of foams in any given geometry and offers the possibility to calculate the foam formation process as well as the resulting foam density in closed moulds in advance. This means FOAM simulates the Reaction Injection Molding (RIM) process of foams as well as its expansion through porous textile reinforcing structures. Complicated requirements for mould filling can be predicted by FOAM, such as:

  • vent locations
  • inlet position
  • amount of material needed to fill the cavity
  • the necessity to avoid entrapment of gas in the mould

Simulation of Foam Using the Example of a Cool Box

We Offer:

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

Simulation of Foam Using the Example of a Car Seat

Our Software FOAM:

  • includes a user-friendly graphical user interface
  • provides an integrated pre-processing tool for CAD-3D data
  • enables interactive postprocessing using free software in *.vtk format
  • uses multicore computing technology and runs on Windows and Linux operating systems
  • includes an automated parameter identification of rheology information from foaming experiments

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 the calculation of effective mechanical and thermal properties of micro-structures 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.

Our Software FeelMath Offers:

  • computation of effective mechanical, thermal and acoustic material properties of foams
  • foam compression simulation
  • virtual material design and optimization of foams (PU, soft foam, rigid foam, metallic foams)
  • multiscale coupling via interfaces to CAE Tools (ABAQUS, ANSYS)
Microstructure simulation of foams (FOAM): deformed microstructure and local stresses medium density structure.
© Fraunhofer ITWM
Microstructure simulation of foams with FeelMath: Deformed microstructure and local stresses medium density structure.
Microstructure simulation of foams (FOAM): deformed microstructure and local stresses dense structure.
© Fraunhofer ITWM
Microstructure simulation of foams with FeelMath: Deformed microstructure and local stresses desense structure.

Application Examples

 

Simulation of PU Foam Expansion in Car Seat Manufacturing

Joint project in cooperation with Fehrer Automotive and Audi in which our software FOAM is used and further developed.

 

 

Research Project Technical Textiles

RIM Processes of Polyurethane Foams

In the project FoamInTextil we simulate the foam filling process of Polyurethane foams.

 

Research Project

Complex Dynamics of Expanding PU Foams

Together with our partners at TU Chemnitz we developed a model to predict the complex dynamics of expanding PU foams.