When most of us think of ‘high tech’ foam, our first thoughts are of comfy seats and mattresses. However the new foam developed by Carolina State University would enable a particularly good nights sleep.
The new material is actually a metallic foam – made from either stainless steel or titanium which is then combined with epoxy resin making it lighter than aluminium, but significantly stronger at the same time. This makes it particularly useful for aerospace applications, and it could eventually replace standard aluminium in the production of aircraft wings amongst other things.
The metal foam is formed from tiny partial spheres of metal that are embedded into a matrix made of steel, aluminium or metallic alloys to form a composite metal foam (CMF). The structure imbues the resulting material with incredible strength whilst the significantly open and air-filled structure, makes it significantly lighter than a material of comparable strength.
Afsaneh Rabiei of Carolina State University said: “Aluminium is currently the material of choice for making the leading edge of fixed-wing and rotary-wing aircraft wings. Our results suggest that infused CMF may be a valuable replacement, offering better performance at the same weight.”
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Ref: ZME Science