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Aluminium foam


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- story by MaterialDistrict

Research into and development of aluminium foam has made enormous progress in recent years. From being a laboratory material about which in the last ten years few scientists were fully informed, aluminium foam has definitely made the leap to industrial application. The number of different types of aluminium foam has risen exponentially. Each type has its own specific properties, properties which make it unique and make possible completely new product applications. Aluminium foams are pre-eminently suitable for applications which are innovative and revolutionary. AlCarbon sees innovation as involving the development of new products, where the benefits of aluminium foam are taken into account during the product development phase. Innovation does not however mean replacing a part of an existing product by aluminium foam: AlCarbon considers that a retrograde step. AlCarbon has made it its business to market aluminium foam, once no more than an object of scientific research, as a ready-made product. Close cooperation with IFAM in Bremen, the birthplace of Foaminal® and other foams, and cooperation with Schunk Kohlenstofftechnik GmbH, producer of Foaminal® and ALFS foam, Gleich GmbH, importer of Alporas® foam, and Empore, manufacturer of an aluminium
foam with an open cell structure, has put AlCarbon into a position in which it can apply the newest developments and discoveries to its products, straight from the laboratory. This has enabled AlCarbon to put on the market the world’s first commercially feasible aluminium foam product, a crumple zone for motorcycles,large parts of which are ideally made of Foaminal® aluminium foam. This crumple zone is lighter than any crumple zone produced so far and is considerably better at absorbing the energy released in a crash. Sheets of Foaminal are also eminently suitable for lamination, e.g. with carbon fibre reinforced plastic, to create a light rigid sheet.

AlCarbon products consist of a metal foam core (mainly aluminium foam) with coatings of carbon, glass or aramid fibre reinforced plastic, or metallic coatings in e.g. aluminium or steel. AlCarbon can supply its material in a number of different variants, e.g. as pure aluminium foam in aluminium foam sheets, aluminium foam profiles and aluminium foam shaped building components or as the core material in sandwich sheets, profiles and shaped building components. The sheets can be used for a variety of different applications. For technical applications added value is created by their good rigidity, heat resistance, sound absorption, resistance to impact and fire and explosion safety. They can also be used as lightweight pallets, wall and floor coverings, sandwich sheets for recreational and sporting areas and vibration-free steps. Finally, they can be used for desktops, table tops, kitchen worktops in and decorative floor and wall elements. Pure aluminium foam is supplied under the following brand names: – FOAMINAL® -AC – pure aluminium foam in FOAMINAL foam for sheets, profiles and shaped building components with a sealed exterior coating – ALPORAS®-AC -pure aluminium foam in ALPORAS foam for sheets with surfaces with open pores – EMPORE®-AC – pure aluminium foam in foam with an open cell structure (no cell walls) in a density of 10 or 20 pores per inch, for sheets and profiles. Pure aluminium foam can be painted in any RAL paint colour or in a special effect varnish, for example to give the appearance of gold, silver, bronze or stainless steel. All sandwich products can be laminated with veneer, glass or plastic sheet.

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