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Three-dimensional characterization of polymer foams using X-ray dark-field imaging
Senck, S. ; Plank, B. ; Gusenbauer, C. ; Salaberger, D. ; Vavřík, Daniel ; Santer, W. ; Kastner, J.
Due to the low cost, the ease of processing, and excellent material properties, polymer foams are used in various applications, e.g. packaging, building and construction, furnitures and bedding, and the automotive and aerospace sector. The mechanical response of polymer foams is primarily influenced by density and morphology. While foam density can be determined with high precision, cell morphology is more difficult to determine since the size distribution of foam cells differs in three dimensions. However, using conventional methods, e.g. optical light microscopy or scanning electron microscopy, it is very difficult to obtain three-dimensional information and to differentiate between the strut system and cell walls. An alternative for the three-dimensional characterization of foam morphology is micro-computed tomography (XCT). But even non-destructive techniques like XCT are not able to characterize anisotropic foams if the thickness of single struts and cell walls is below the physcial resolution of the respective XCT system. In this contribution we therefore investigate different polymeric foam samples using a Talbot-Lau grating interferometer XCT (TLGI-XCT) system. We show that the obtained darkfield contrast images show a high contrast and a strong signal at struts and cell walls, facilitating the segmentation of foam cells in various examples.

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