Disputation - Prashanth Srinivasa
Prashanth Srinivasa defended his PhD-thesis "Mechanics of Nanocellulose Foams:
Experimental and Numerical Studies" on March 16, 2017. Faculty opponent was prof. Laurent Orgéas, CNRS/Univ. Grenoble Alpes, Grenoble, France.
Nanofibrillar cellulose (NFC) foams are an interesting class of cellular materials that are being explored for a variety of applications, ranging from the automotive to the biomedical industries. The cellulose nanofibrils itself has unique and desirable mechanical properties. With recent advances in the preparation of these foams, it is anticipated that these foams will find applications in diverse areas, including those where the mechanical response is important. This macroscopic response is inextricably linked to the microstructure of the material. Thus, it is imperative to have numerical models that can not only predict the macroscopic response but can also provide insights towards tailoring the microstructure such that improved macroscopic properties can be sought. Towards this end, we study 2- and 3-D random cellular models along with characterising through experiments/simulations the macroscopic and cell wall material properties.
In Paper A, we explore the suitability of two-dimensional random structures in representing the macroscopic compressive response of foams. Though the two-dimensional model fails to capture the exact response, only an order of magnitude agreement is found, we map the effect of internal contact on the macroscopic response and study the effect of linear size, wall thickness and non-straightness of the cell walls. It is concluded that 2-D models are inadequate and that the out of plane connectivity is non-trivial.
In Paper B, NFC foams prepared from freeze-drying are experimentally characterised under uniaxial and biaxial loading conditions, with a view towards testing for structural anisotropy. It is found that the prepared foam is isotropic in the plane. The experiments also reveal that there are large irreversible deformations, when unloaded. A continuum hyperelastic model is fitted to the experimental data.
In Paper C, tomography based scans of the NFC foams are used to arrive at the material properties of the cell walls. We reconstruct the threedimensional structure from the tomography scans and use it in finite element simulations to determine the elastic modulus and yield strength of the cell wall material. It is seen that the estimated elastic modulus is comparable to the upper limit for NFC paper, while the yield strength is comparable to estimates from indirect methods. The simulations also corroborate the damage mechanism, i.e. by plastic hinge formations ii followed by the collapse of the inner structure, as observed by experimental studies.
In Paper D, we utilise the material properties derived from the tomography-based work in simulating three-dimensional random structures. We validate the three-dimensional reconstruction method against the foam structures derived in microtomography. We then study the applicability of these random structures in representing the macroscopic response, together with studies on linear size and effect of partially open/closed cells. We also estimate the influence of cell face curvature on the elastic modulus and plateaus stress. It is concluded that 3-D models provide a reasonable representation of the response up to intermediate strain levels, but the densification regime is not captured by the considered representative size.