Aluminium foam.

Discussion in 'Materials' started by Pericles, Oct 21, 2015.

  1. Pericles
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    Pericles Senior Member

    Here is an interesting product. It's used to form the shell of high speed trains. Would it work for boats?

    https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Aluminium_foam_sandwich

    https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Metal_foam

    The Fraunhofer Institute for Machine Tools & Forming Technology has produced a demonstration high speed train cab assembled from aluminium foam components, to highlight the potential applications of the strong but lightweight material.

    The aluminium foam material comprises a metal sandwich, with top and bottom external layers separated by a core which has been heat treated to produce a low-density foam layer with a rigid sponge-like structure. The core and external layers are part of the same metal components, and so will not separate.

    According to Fraunhofer, the foam provides the low weight of composite materials, but is self-supporting and so does not require the heavy metal frames required by GRP. The metal foam offers good mechanical properties, fire protection, fatigue strength and weldability, with a 20% weight saving compared to a more traditional metal cab.

    The initial interest in the use of aluminium foam for rolling stock applications came from a Chinese manufacturer which was looking to increase the ability of high speed train cabs to withstand bird strikes.

    Voith Engineering services was responsible for conception and load capacity development, KUKA Systems for tool and process development and forming, MFPA Leipzig for material characterisation, and Fraunhofer IWU for tool and process development and foaming.

    http://www.railwaygazette.com/news/...ew/building-a-train-from-a-foam-sandwich.html
     
  2. rasorinc
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    rasorinc Senior Member

    I would bet that this product is very expensive. Very interesting though.
     
  3. Stumble
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    Stumble Senior Member

    One of my concerns would be the consequences if water ever gets into the foam. The police corrosion could be horrendous.
     
  4. Pericles
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    Pericles Senior Member

    "police corrosion"?

    The foam is closed cell & will not absorb water & is encapsulated within aluminium skins. The aluminium foam material comprises a metal sandwich, with top and bottom external layers separated by a core which has been heat treated to produce a low-density foam layer with a rigid sponge-like structure. The core and external layers are part of the same metal components, and so will not separate.

    http://www.railwaygazette.com/news/...ord_list[]=metal&sword_list[]=foam&no_cache=1
     
  5. PAR
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    PAR Yacht Designer/Builder

    There was a modest discussion on this a few years ago and you should look into the costs, as they're reserve this material for nothing but the high end user.
     
  6. Pericles
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    Pericles Senior Member

  7. Mr Efficiency
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    Mr Efficiency Senior Member

    Gotta be closed-cell, surely ?
     
  8. waikikin
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    waikikin Senior Member

    Probably locked cell
     
  9. PAR
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    PAR Yacht Designer/Builder

    Not a locked cell though possibly a padded one.
     
  10. Mr Efficiency
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    Mr Efficiency Senior Member

    No possibility of parole for me, I missed the gag !
     
  11. Stumble
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    Stumble Senior Member

    I really hate auto-correct btw.
     
  12. upchurchmr
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    upchurchmr Senior Member

    I might be interested if there was some detail on how the outer layers and the inner foam are the same material.
    If the aluminum does foam it has to be different from the outside layers.
    Now you need to tell me how this was put together.

    Probably there are some code words that don't mean what I think they do.
    I had some samples of Aluminum foam (closed cell) but they would have had to be adhesively attached to skins. And the "foam" was heavy for what we think of as foam.
     
  13. Pericles
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    Pericles Senior Member

    upchurchmr

    At #1, I provided two links, which listed references at the end of the articles.

    http://www.alveotec.fr/en/our-news/...2/adem.200700267/abstractapplications_55.html

    ............................................................................................................

    Frank Schieck

    Senior Head of the Department Sheet Metal Forming

    Fraunhofer-Institut für Werkzeugmaschinen und Umformtechnik IWU

    more info
    Reichenhainer Straße 88
    09126 Chemnitz

    Phone +49 371 5397 1202
    Mobile +49 152 28872574
    Fax +49 371 5397-61202

    http://www.iwu.fraunhofer.de/en/business_units/car-bodies-cell-structures.html

    http://www.iwu.fraunhofer.de/content/dam/iwu/en/documents/Brochures/IWU-KB-Metal-Foams.pdf
     
  14. upchurchmr
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    upchurchmr Senior Member

    Thanks for pointing out the links I missed - actually the Alveotec link was not in post 1 or 4.

    The first link has lots of interesting applications, but none of the foam is closed cell as stated in post 4.
    Clearly stated is the fact that all this material is cast which produces structures which have inherent material property losses over wrought material. Heat treated or not. If the aluminum is an alloy which has elements which expand or foam, it is hard to understand what the strength and corrosion resistance would be of this material and what the material processing temperatures would be. Do you know what the Aluminum material specification is?

    I really can imagine the heat exchanger or heat sink applications, except where the heat exchange fluid is contaminated. No possible way to clean these out when they get clogged - well actually you might get lucky.

    As a honeycomb these do not look like they would be very weight efficient.

    The second link in the notification has no connection , nor does it show up here.

    The Fraunhofer links show aluminum foams similar to what I have seen before. However they are talking about steel/ aluminum foam which cannot be a continuously produced material. It says there can be a metalurgical bond but gives no method of manufacture or strength. It also did not say if this was open cell or closed.

    These are interesting but I can't imagine using them for boats.
    Where would you use them?
    I suppose you could make a foam reinforced steel mast, but I wouldn't give you a nickel for competing with current masts for weight.

    Please, what would you suggest using this for?
     

  15. Pericles
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    Pericles Senior Member

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