Featured Research

from universities, journals, and other organizations

Featherweight Metal

Date:
January 11, 2006
Source:
Fraunhofer-Gesellschaft
Summary:
Metal foams, full of tiny air bubbles like a sponge cake, are gradually making inroads in industrial applications. Lightness and high energy absorption are two demanded material characteristics. Less known is the use of open-pored variants for decorative purposes.

This lamp measuring 35 centimeters in height gives an interesting decorative touch to the room. Its foamed aluminum sides consist to 90 percent of air.
Credit: Image copyright m-pore

Metal foams, full of tiny air bubbles like a sponge cake, are gradually making inroads in industrial applications. Lightness and high energy absorption are two demanded material characteristics. Less known is the use of open-pored variants for decorative purposes.

Interior designers can make use of an endless variety of decorative panels to realize their plans. Room dividers and suspended ceilings divide up the space in an apartment or office, but they are also expected to be more or less permeable to light, air or sound. A class of materials that meets this requirement is open-pored metal foams. A stylish effect can be achieved by filling the interconnected pores with a transparent synthetic resin or colored plastic. The closely related closed-pore metal foams are already making headway in numerous applications. Their low weight predestines them for use in light but rigid assemblies in machines with moving parts. They are used as shock absorbers in vehicles, due to their excellent capacity to convert kinetic energy into resilience and heat. As catalysts their high internal surface area is used.

The must common technique for manufacturing metal foams involves mixing metal powders with blowing agents. Now the mixture gets heated up. As it approaches melting point, the additive releases a gas which creates a mass of bubbles in the metal. Open-pored foam panels cannot be manufactured this way, because the pores extend through from one face to the other. An expanding gas would simply escape through the holes. The team at m-pore in Dresden employs a casting method. First, a mold cut in polyurethane foam is coated with wax. The cavity is filled with a heat-resistant ceramic paste. In specialist terms, this is referred to as lost wax or investment casting. When liquid metal is poured into the mold – mostly aluminum at around 700 C –, the plastic foam burns away, leaving behind a metal “sponge” filled with pores with diameters of between one and five millimeters. The final step is to blast off the ceramic mold with a water jet.

“In order to provide a single source for development services involving the various foaming techniques and applications, we set up an alliance for cellular materials three years ago,” relates Thomas Hipke, head of the production systems department at the Fraunhofer Institute for Machine Tools and Forming Technology IWU in Chemnitz. “The Verbund Zellulare Werkstoffe Sachsen consists of six active members at present, one is m-pore.” The decorative, featherweight panels are used comparatively rarely as yet. This is probably due to their relatively high price, which results from the fact that a large part of the manufacturing is done by hand. But then again, especially in matters of aesthetics, the old adage is true that “You get what you pay for. There might be cheaper options, but the result often is far less pleasing.”


Story Source:

The above story is based on materials provided by Fraunhofer-Gesellschaft. Note: Materials may be edited for content and length.


Cite This Page:

Fraunhofer-Gesellschaft. "Featherweight Metal." ScienceDaily. ScienceDaily, 11 January 2006. <www.sciencedaily.com/releases/2006/01/060108232437.htm>.
Fraunhofer-Gesellschaft. (2006, January 11). Featherweight Metal. ScienceDaily. Retrieved October 1, 2014 from www.sciencedaily.com/releases/2006/01/060108232437.htm
Fraunhofer-Gesellschaft. "Featherweight Metal." ScienceDaily. www.sciencedaily.com/releases/2006/01/060108232437.htm (accessed October 1, 2014).

Share This



More Matter & Energy News

Wednesday, October 1, 2014

Featured Research

from universities, journals, and other organizations


Featured Videos

from AP, Reuters, AFP, and other news services

US Police Put Body Cameras to the Test

US Police Put Body Cameras to the Test

AFP (Oct. 1, 2014) Police body cameras are gradually being rolled out across the US, with interest surging after the fatal police shooting in August of an unarmed black teenager. Duration: 02:18 Video provided by AFP
Powered by NewsLook.com
Argentina's Tax Evaders Detected, Hunted Down by Drones

Argentina's Tax Evaders Detected, Hunted Down by Drones

AFP (Sep. 30, 2014) Argentina doesn't only have Lionel Messi the footballer, it has now also acquired "Mesi" the drone system which monitors undeclared mansions, swimming pools and soy fields to curb tax evasion in the country. Duration: 01:18 Video provided by AFP
Powered by NewsLook.com
Do Video Games Trump Brain Training For Cognitive Boosts?

Do Video Games Trump Brain Training For Cognitive Boosts?

Newsy (Sep. 29, 2014) More and more studies are showing positive benefits to playing video games, but the jury is still out on brain training programs. Video provided by Newsy
Powered by NewsLook.com
CERN Celebrates 60 Years of Science

CERN Celebrates 60 Years of Science

Reuters - Business Video Online (Sep. 29, 2014) CERN, the European Organisation for Nuclear Research, celebrates 60 years of bringing nations together through science. As Joanna Partridge reports from inside the famous science centre it's also planning to turn the Large Hadron Collider particle accelerator back on after an upgrade. Video provided by Reuters
Powered by NewsLook.com

Search ScienceDaily

Number of stories in archives: 140,361

Find with keyword(s):
Enter a keyword or phrase to search ScienceDaily for related topics and research stories.

Save/Print:
Share:

Breaking News:

Strange & Offbeat Stories


Space & Time

Matter & Energy

Computers & Math

In Other News

... from NewsDaily.com

Science News

Health News

Environment News

Technology News



Save/Print:
Share:

Free Subscriptions


Get the latest science news with ScienceDaily's free email newsletters, updated daily and weekly. Or view hourly updated newsfeeds in your RSS reader:

Get Social & Mobile


Keep up to date with the latest news from ScienceDaily via social networks and mobile apps:

Have Feedback?


Tell us what you think of ScienceDaily -- we welcome both positive and negative comments. Have any problems using the site? Questions?
Mobile: iPhone Android Web
Follow: Facebook Twitter Google+
Subscribe: RSS Feeds Email Newsletters
Latest Headlines Health & Medicine Mind & Brain Space & Time Matter & Energy Computers & Math Plants & Animals Earth & Climate Fossils & Ruins