Designing metallic cellular structures with triply periodic minimal surface (TPMS) sheet cores is a novel approach for lightweight and multi-functional applications. Different from current honeycombs and lattices, TPMS sheet structures are composed of continuous and smooth shells, allowing for large surface areas and continuous internal channels. In this paper, we investigate the mechanical properties and energy absorption abilities of three types of TPMS sheet structures (Primitive, Diamond, and Gyroid) fabricated by selective laser melting (SLM) with 316L stainless steel under compression loading and classify their failure mechanisms and printing accuracy with the help of numerical analysis. Experimental results reveal the superior stiffness, plateau stress and energy absorption ability of TPMS sheet structures compared to body-centred cubic lattices, with Diamond-type sheet structures performing best. Non-linear finite element simulation results show that Diamond and Gyroid sheet structures display relatively uniform stress distributions across all lattice cells under compression, leading to stable collapse mechanisms and desired energy absorption performance. In contrast, Primitive-type structures display rapid diagonal shear band development followed by localized wall buckling. Lastly, an energy absorption diagram is developed to facilitate a systematic way to select optimal densities of TPMS structures for energy absorbing applications.
The authors further acknowledge the support from the Agency for Science, Technology and Research and the Science and Engineering Research Council of Singapore through the Additive Manufacturing Centre Initiative (SERC Grant no. 142 68 00088).