Analysis of the foam-forming of non-woven lightweight fibrous materials using X-ray tomography

S. R. Burke (Corresponding Author), M. E. Möbius, Tuomo Hjelt, Jukka A. Ketoja, S. Hutzler

Research output: Contribution to journalArticleScientificpeer-review

7 Citations (Scopus)


Foam-forming has in the past predominantly been used to create two-dimensional sheet-like fibrous materials. Allowing the foam to drain freely and decay under gravity, rather than applying a vacuum to remove it rapidly, we can produce lightweight three-dimensional fibrous structures from cellulose fibres, of potential use for thermal and acoustic insulation. μCT scanning of the fibrous materials enable us to determine both void size distributions and also distributions of fibre orientations. Through image analysis and uniaxial compression testing, we find that the orientation of the fibres, rather than the size of the voids, determine the compressive strength of the material. The fibrous samples display a layering of the fibres perpendicular to the direction of drainage of the precursor liquid foam. This leads to an anisotropy of the compressive behaviour of the samples. Varying the initial liquid fraction of the foam allows for tuning of the compressive strength. We show an increase in over seven times can be achieved for samples of the same density (13 kg.m-3).

Original languageEnglish
Article number192
Number of pages15
JournalSN Applied Sciences
Issue number2
Publication statusPublished - Feb 2021
MoE publication typeA1 Journal article-refereed


This publication has emanated from research supported in part by a research grant from Science Foundation Ireland (SFI) under grant number 13/IA/1926. TH and JAK are grateful for the support by the Academy of Finland (Grant No. 296846) and by the FinnCERES Materials Bioeconomy Ecosystem. We thank the reviewers for the constructive criticism of the original submission.


  • Compressive strength
  • Fibre orientation
  • Foam-forming
  • Imaging
  • Lightweight fibrous materials
  • Materials
  • Natural fibres


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