Scientific Program

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Investigation of the properties of metal polymer hybrid foams

Thursday (08.10.2020)
14:40 - 15:00 Room 3
Part of:

Lightweight design is a key factor for the future of automotive, transportation, construction and energy sector. New lightweight materials enable new applications in these sectors. Especially in terms of energy efficiency, lightweight design offers the potential to a more sustainable and efficient future. Within the research project InSeL („Innovative Schaumstrukturen für effizienten Leichtbau“, engl.: „Innovative foam structures for efficient lightweight design“), new and innovative lightweight materials are being developed. Besides the strong focus on the manufacturing and tailoring of open pore metal foams, their application and further processing is another focus of the project. In this work, metal-polymer hybrid-foams are being developed. Metal-polymer hybrid-foams consist of a metal-foam matrix which is infiltrated by a polymer particle foam. The single polymer particles are then fused together by hot steam, forming a second continuous phase within the hybrid material. By this, a metal-polymer hybrid-foam is being created. By the combination of these different material classes, with very different characteristics and properties, a new material behaviour is designed. These hybrid-foams show good energy absorption under compression and therefore the general material behavior is being investigated.

Within this work, two main aspects of the metal-polymer hybrid-foams are being focused. First the manufacturing process. Development started from a manual filling and sintering process up to a semi-automated industrial process. Both partially and fully filled open pore metal foams were manufactured, and their respective manufacturing processes developed. The polymer particle foams used were EPS (expanded polystyrene) and EPP (expanded polypropylene). The second focus of this work is the characterization of the properties of the produced hybrid materials. An extensive characterization of the mechanical properties (e.g. compression strength, tensile strength, bending strength and stiffness) of both the single phases (metal foam and polymer foam) and the hybrid materials were carried out. This is fundamental work to highlight the performance for new applications.

This work received funding by the European fund for regional development (EFRE) and the state of Baden-Wuerttemberg.


Robert Schmidt
Karlsruhe Institute of Technology (KIT)
Additional Authors:
  • Prof. Dr. Frank Henning
    Karlsruhe Institute of Technology (KIT)
  • Christoph Mack
    Fraunhofer Institute for Chemical Technology (ICT)