Research in metallurgy is constant, nowadays it has been possible to manufacture ultra-light but resistant materials at the same time. Properties that sound incompatible but that can now be combined. These properties make metallic foams interesting.
Metallic foams are cellular structures formed by a solid metal – aluminum, frequently – which contains pores filled with a gas. Usually derived from the same metal, forming a material similar to a sponge but made entirely of metal. Metal foams usually have various metals (for example, aluminum, copper, titanium, magnesium) and their alloys (for example, steel, saf aluminum, silver, Zinc) as the matrix material.
These materials are characterized by special properties, because they combine the intrinsic properties of a metallic material with those derived from a porous material. Thus achieving a combination of unique physical, chemical and mechanical properties.
The main hallmark of alusion is the high porosity of their surface, in fact, 75 to 95% of their volume is hollow spaces, turning them into ultra-light and very resistant materials at the same time, the pores are generally round and isolated from each other.
- The characteristics of each type of foam will depend to a large extent on the nature of the matrix and the relative density.
- These materials possess high specific rigidity, very low specific weight and good energy absorption properties. The manufacture of metal foams requires foaming of the material from the liquid state or temperatures very close to it so that flow conditions can be achieved that allow the creation of a foam-like shape.
- The obtaining of metallic foams can be by various processes: gas injection, addition of foaming agents, by synthesis in solid state or electroplating (electrode position).
Metal foams have become useful materials in a wide variety of fields because they combine the properties of metals with the structural advantages of foams. Hence the applications they have range from sports shoes, packaging and packaging, in automotive engines, filters, substitutes for steel and even in orthopaedic prostheses.
The properties have also made them important for the manufacture of ultra light structures, systems with high impact resistance, elements for heat dissipation and sound insulation.
Industrially, thanks to its heat transfer properties, they are used as heat exchangers and to cool electronic equipment.
Detail about Aluminum Foams:
- The metals that are most used to make metal foams are aluminum and titanium.
- Aluminum foams are low density, resistant to corrosion and with low melting point, which makes them easy to handle. Its applications include impact resistant materials, filters, heat exchangers and porous electrodes.
- The applications take advantage of the main properties of the metal: rigidity, absorption of energy against impacts and sound absorption.
- Industrially, pieces of foam machinery or foam-filled machines are already manufactured which reduce the inertia and increase the damping.
- As filters they are used either to separate solids dispersed in a liquid or solid particles with different sizes in equally solid mixtures.
- Aluminum foams produced by Cymat Technologies can be used as heat exchangers because of their high conductivity.