Vol. 1, No. 4, 2006

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Measuring impact responses of foamed polymers

James F. Wilson

Vol. 1 (2006), No. 4, 725–741

A unique dual pendulum system was developed to measure single-impact compression responses of foamed polymers. The data, complemented with a mathematical model of impact, led to measures of the material’s energy absorption, compression modulus, and damping. Results are presented for a class of open-celled foamed polymers specifically developed for shock mitigation. The experiments employed such materials of four different densities, with impact times ranging in the 1 to 5 ms range and mean impact stresses up to 160 kN/m2. The results for these materials showed: (1) energy losses of up to 50% of incident energy, with a peak energy absorption per unit volume of 18 kJ/m3; (2) peak compression modulus of 880 kN/m2 with strain rates approaching 200 s1; (3) a mean damping factor of 0.258 with a standard deviation of 0.029. Such data are of practical importance in many shock-mitigating applications, including prostheses, floor pads and cushions, gloves for hand-held vibrating tools, grips for hockey sticks and tennis rackets, and soles for sports shoes.

foamed polymers, impact response
Received: 11 December 2005
Revised: 17 February 2006
Accepted: 5 March 2006
Published: 1 August 2006
James F. Wilson
Pratt School of Engineering
Duke University
6319 Mimosa Drive
Chapel Hill, NC 27514
United States