Metallic foam sandwich plates and built-up components for civil engineering applications are investigated in this work. The advent of metallic foams in sandwich construction creates an opportunity for a new class of structures with exceptional bending rigidity, enhanced buckling resistance, high energy dissipation, low thermal conductivity and silencing properties. Foam material properties and obvious applications, such as sandwich plates under bending action have been investigated in the literature. However, buckling and compressive analysis is still a missing link between the current knowledge about metallic foam components and their multi-functional applications. Therefore, the proposed project will focus on the development of buckling strength predictions for metallic foam sandwich panels, validated against compressive tests, and supported by microscopy measurements and numerical simulations. The key challenges for the buckling analysis of metallic foam components are shear deformations in the foamed core, and a potential for foam’s fracture. These challenges will be overcome by accounting for shear deformations in the theoretical predictions, and incorporating a suitable fracture criterion for metallic foams. The overarching goal of this research is to enable analysis and design of load-carrying, multi-physical and multi-functional metallic foam members for steel buildings, tunnels, bridges, as well as off-shore structures and wind turbines. This work is part of a larger effort to help develop steel foam as a material with relevance to infrastructure engineering applications.
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