Finding a non-destructive characterization method for cellular ceramics' compressive strength and fracture behavior has been a challenge for material scientists for years. However, for transparent materials, internal stresses can be determined by the non-destructive photoelastic measurements. We propose a novel approach to correlate the photoelastic stresses of polymer (epoxy resin) prototypes with the mechanical properties of ceramics (alumina). Regular and inverse epoxy honeycombs were 3D-printed via stereolithography with varying structure angles from -35° to 35°, with negative angles forming an auxetic and positive hexagonal lattice. Photoelastic measurements under mechanical loading revealed regions of excess stress, which directly corresponded to the initial fracture points of the ceramic honeycombs. These honeycombs were made by a combination of 3D printing and transfer molding from alumina. The photoelastic stress distribution was much more homogeneous for angles of a smaller magnitude, which led to highly increased compressive strengths of up to 446 ± 156 MPa at 0°. By adapting the geometric structural model from Gibson and Ashby, we showed that we could use a non-destructive technique to determine the compressive strength of alumina honeycombs from the median photoelastic stress measured on similar epoxy honeycomb structures.
Keywords: auxetic honeycombs; ceramic transfer molding; digital image correlation; polarimetry; stress prediction.