Electronic Thesis and Dissertation Repository


Master of Engineering Science


Mechanical and Materials Engineering


Dr. Anthony Straatman


This thesis documents a novel method for method to generate digital samples of spherical void phase foams to predict effective hydraulic, thermal and radiative properties with the intention of assessing the viability of carbon foam as a volumetric solar receiver. The method employs discrete element modeling software to simulate the compression of spherical bubbles into a fully periodic, cubic domain. These domains were subsequently used to determine a variety of effective transport properties to be used in porous media design problems. The predicted properties agreed well with those obtained through experimental and other numerical methods, notably predicting more accurate properties than those obtained using idealized, or unit-cell models. It is concluded that the digital generation technique is a cheap, fast, and effective method for obtaining bulk material properties. It is further concluded that the carbon foams studied will absorb almost all incident radiation for most design cases.