Cellular solids constitute an important class of engineering materials encompassing both man-made and natural constructs. Materials such as wood, cork, coral, and cancellous bone are examples of cellular solids. The structural analysis of cellular solid failure has been limited to 2D sections to illustrate global fracture patterns. Due to the inherent destructiveness of 2D methods, dynamic assessment of fracture progression has not been possible. Image-guided failure assessment (IGFA), a noninvasive technique to analyze 3D progressive bone failure, has been developed utilizing stepwise microcompression in combination with time-lapsed microcomputed tomographic imaging (μCT). This method allows for the assessment of fracture progression in the plastic region, where much of the structural deformation/energy absorption is encountered in a cellular solid. Therefore, the goal of this project was to design and fabricate a novel micromechanical testing system to validate the effectiveness of the stepwise IGFA technique compared to classical continuous mechanical testing, using a variety of engineered and natural cellular solids. In our analysis, we found stepwise compression to be a valid approach for IGFA with high precision and accuracy comparable to classical continuous testing. Therefore, this approach complements the conventional mechanical testing methods by providing visual insight into the failure propagation mechanisms of cellular solids.
Keywords: cellular solids; stepwise mechanical testing; image‐guided failure assessment; cancellous bone