Determination of elastomeric foam parameters for simulations of complex loading

Comput Methods Biomech Biomed Engin. 2006 Aug;9(4):231-42. doi: 10.1080/10255840600747620.


Background: Finite element (FE) analysis has shown promise for the evaluation of elastomeric foam personal protection devices. Although appropriate representation of foam materials is necessary in order to obtain realistic simulation results, material definitions used in the literature vary widely and often fail to account for the multi-mode loading experienced by these devices. This study aims to provide a library of elastomeric foam material parameters that can be used in FE simulations of complex loading scenarios.

Method of approach: Twelve foam materials used in footwear were tested in uni-axial compression, simple shear and volumetric compression. For each material, parameters for a common compressible hyperelastic material model used in FE analysis were determined using: (a) compression; (b) compression and shear data; and (c) data from all three tests.

Results: Material parameters and Drucker stability limits for the best fits are provided with their associated errors. The material model was able to reproduce deformation modes for which data was provided during parameter determination but was unable to predict behavior in other deformation modes.

Conclusions: Simulation results were found to be highly dependent on the extent of the test data used to determine the parameters in the material definition. This finding calls into question the many published results of simulations of complex loading that use foam material parameters obtained from a single mode of testing. The library of foam parameters developed here presents associated errors in three deformation modes that should provide for a more informed selection of material parameters.

Publication types

  • Research Support, N.I.H., Extramural

MeSH terms

  • Cellulose / chemistry
  • Computer Simulation
  • Elastomers / chemistry*
  • Finite Element Analysis*
  • Humans
  • Polyethylene / chemistry
  • Polyurethanes / chemistry
  • Shoes
  • Stress, Mechanical


  • Elastomers
  • Polyurethanes
  • Polyethylene
  • Cellulose