The intricate structure of polymeric foams may be examined using 3D imaging techniques such as MRI or X-ray tomography followed by image processing. Using a new 3D image processing technique, six images of polyurethane foams were analyzed to create computerized 3D models of the samples. Measurements on these models yielded distributions of many microstructural features, including strut length and window and cell shape distributions. Nearly 8000 struts, 4000 windows, and 376 cells were detected and measured in six polyurethane foam samples. When compared against previous theories and studies, these measurements showed that the structure of real polymeric foams differs significantly from both equilibrium models and aqueous foams. For example, previous studies of aqueous foams showed that about 70% of foam windows were pentagons. In the polymeric sample studied here, only 55% of windows were pentagonal.
- 3D image processing
- Minimal surface