Many natural and modern man-made materials are porous materials. In many cases, for practical applications and for the proper design of products it is necessary to understand the effective mechanical properties of the porous structure. Even though some general applicable theories exist to estimate the mechanical properties in function of the porosity fraction, or apparent density, the relation between the pore structure and size distribution is not clear. In particular, in case of structured porosity the mechanical properties demonstrate anisotropic behavior. For specialized applications there is an interest to be able to design materials with specified anisotropic properties or with properties varying in space.

In order to design and optimize porous structures with specific anisotropic properties, a flexible simulation model is developed and tested to predict and understand the mechanical anisotropic properties of a large variety of porous structures. In order to be able to change the geometric pore structure without recreating a new model, the pore structure is implemented into a space dependent smoothed binary function.

A comparison is made between results obtained with FEM models with a fully defined geometry and the FEM model with the porosity function to describe the pore structure in order to evaluate and quantify the error that is introduced by the latter implementation and investigate the possibility to mitigate the error.

The model results are also compared with experimental en numerical results reported in literature.

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