2006 Volume 47 Issue 9 Pages 2148-2153
New closed cell composite metal foam has been processed using both casting and powder metallurgy (PM) techniques. The foam is comprised of steel hollow spheres packed into a dense arrangement, with the interstitial spaces between spheres occupied with a solid metal matrix. Using the casting technique, an aluminum alloy infiltrates the interstitial spaces between steel spheres. In the PM technique, steel spheres and steel powder are sintered to form a solid, closed cell structure. The measured densities of the Al-Fe composite foam, low carbon steel foam, and stainless steel foam are 2.4, 2.6, and 2.9 g/cm3 with relative densities of 42, 34, and 37%, respectively.
The composite metal foams composite materials developed in this study displayed superior compressive strength as compared to any other foam being produced with similar materials. The compressive strength of the cast Al-Fe foam averaged 67 MPa over a region of 10 to 50% strain, while the low carbon steel PM foam averaged 76 MPa over the same strain region, and the stainless steel PM foam averaged 136 MPa over the same region. Densification began at approximately 50% for the cast foam and ranged from 50 to 55% for the PM foams. The strength to density ratio of the product of both techniques exceeded twice that of foams processed using other techniques with similar materials.