The fatigue behavior of a cellular composite with an epoxy matrix and glass foam granules is analyzed and modeled by means of continuum damage mechanics. The investigated cellular composite is a particular type of composite foam, and is very similar to syntactic foams. In contrast to conventional syntactic foams constituted by hollow spherical particles (balloons), cellular glass, mineral, or metal place holders are combined with the matrix material (metal or polymer) in the case of cellular composites. A microstructural investigation of the damage behavior is performed using scanning electron microscopy. For the modeling of the fatigue behavior, the damage is separated into pure static and pure cyclic damage and described in terms of the stiffness loss of the material using damage models for cyclic and creep damage. Both models incorporate nonlinear accumulation and interaction of damage. A cycle jumping procedure is developed, which allows for a fast and accurate calculation of the damage evolution for constant load frequencies. The damage model is applied to examine the mean stress effect for cyclic fatigue and to investigate the frequency effect and the influence of the signal form in the case of static and cyclic damage interaction. The calculated lifetimes are in very good agreement with experimental results.
Keywords: cellular composite; continuum damage mechanics; fatigue damage modeling; frequency effect; mean stress dependency; syntactic foam.