Relation of impact strength to the microstructure of functionally graded porous structures of acrylonitrile butadiene styrene (ABS) foamed by thermally activated microspheres

Farooq Al Jahwari, Yuanhao Huang, Hani E. Naguib, Jason Lo

Research output: Contribution to journalArticle

7 Citations (Scopus)


Functionally graded (FG) materials owe their advantage over conventional composites to the continuous microstructure that eliminates many problems like delamination and stress jumps. Functionally graded porous structures have the added advantage of significant weight reduction while maintaining comparable strength to the solid precursor. One of the attractive applications of FG porous polymers is impact energy absorption. This is due to their viscoelastic nature that helps in energy dissipation, in addition to their light weight compared to metals and ceramics. In this work, FG porous structures of Acrylonitrile Butadiene Styrene (ABS) were fabricated with thermally activated microspheres. One-dimensional heat flow was introduced across the thickness with different terminal temperatures to induce a thermal gradient. Different compositions and processing conditions were carried out to investigate the relationship between impact energy and microstructure. Impact energy showed stronger correlation to pores’ diameter gradient than to porosity. The fairly strong correlation between diameter gradient, permitted expansion ratio, and porosity indicates the potential to control the microstructure and hence impact energy absorption. Functionally graded porous structures of ABS demonstrated their superiority for impact absorption with strength-to-weight ratio of 46.02 J cm3/g compared to 25.71 J cm3/g for solid ABS. This work provides processing guidelines to fabricate FG porous structures of ABS in relation to impact energy.

Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)270-281
Number of pages12
JournalPolymer (United Kingdom)
Publication statusPublished - Aug 19 2016



  • Functionally graded foams
  • Impact strength
  • Microstructure-property relationships

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • Polymers and Plastics
  • Organic Chemistry

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