"Lightweight Metal Foams with Tailorable Structure and Properties"
Metal foams and foam-filled structures are under consideration as light weight energy-absorbing and structural components for automotive applications (HEVs and PHEVs). This project will establish a cost-effective manufacturing process for enhancing the properties of these metal foams by increasing the uniformity and controlling the size of pores. In Phase I, two approaches, both based on using filler to provide uniform interstitial spaces for the metal, were investigated. In one approach (PCM technology) the filler was removable; in the other approach (SARB technology) the filler was composed of non-removable highly-resilient beads, which contribute to increased energy absorption. The process parameters were investigated and foam materials were produced and tested. Exceptional compressive strength, modulus, and energy absorption were obtained, and cost estimates for both processes were established. The PCM technology resulted in lighter weight foam with relatively good properties, but at potentially higher costs. The SARB process produced foams with exceptional properties at a very competitive cost but at a slightly higher weight. In Phase II, both processes will be scaled-up, and foams and structures will be fabricated for testing and validation of performance and cost. Commercial Applications and other Benefits as described by the awardee: The new materials should provide opportunities for efficient, high yield production of lightweight energy absorbing vehicle components, which would enable weight savings, cost savings, and enhanced safety. The metal foams could be used as side members, boundaries of the floor of the passenger compartment, and in the region of the sills and pillars. Open-cell foams also could be utilized for sound insulation panels, highly efficient filters, heat exchangers, catalyst carriers, high temperature insulation, and transpiration cooled systems
Small Business Information at Submission:
Mer Corporation (materials And Electrochemical Res
7960 South Kolb Road Tucson, AZ 85706
Number of Employees: