Universiteit Leiden

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Mechanical Response of Foams: Elasticity, Plasticity, and Rearrangements

Promotor: M.L. van Hecke

M.S. van Deen
09 november 2016
Thesis in Leiden Repository

A foam is not a homogeneous material, but consists of a large number of small air bubbles. The whole is more than the sum of its parts: even though the behavior of a single bubble is easy to understand, their collective behavior is much more complicated and completely different. The reason for this is that a deformation of the whole is only reflected partially in the deformation of individual bubbles. Instead, a large part of the deformation is reflected in a change in the structure of the foam. In this thesis, we investigate this change in structure. In the first part of this thesis, we use a simple microscopic computer model to simulate the response of a foam when it is deformed by a tiny amount, and measure how far we need to deform the foam until it is irreversibly deformed. In the second part of this thesis, we focus on an experiment, where we measure the response of a two-dimensional foam when it is deformed at the edges. We observe that the response of bubbles in the center of the foam qualitatively depends on how densely the bubbles are packed together.