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Bio-inspired polymeric foams as templates for investment casting of open-cell metal foams

Thursday (08.10.2020)
16:50 - 17:10

Open-cell metal foams provide, due to their highly porous and light weight structure in combination with their base material, attractive properties for the use in industrial sectors like lightweight design, biomedical engineering or chemical engineering. Depending on the state of the starting material different manufacturing processes, ranging from melt-metallurgical processes to powder-metallurgical processes, can be used. In terms of melt-metallurgical processes, investment casting is a method to produce any open-cell structure with nearly all available metals and alloys. The exact reproduction of the foam template into a metallic foam enables a very well controllable and influenceable production. The concept of the lost form and model makes it possible to use almost any pyrolyzable material as a template. Typically, polyurethane and polyethylene are being used in form of reticulated open-cell foam templates. Due to reticulation, they have a stochastic structure and are not sustainable on account of the mineral oil base. For these reasons, open-cell polymer foams, synthesized by controllable and reproducible methods, are being investigated in terms of use as precursors for the investment casting of metal foams. Foams with different macroscopic structures and materials, e.g. epoxy resins or bio-polymers, are being investigated within a sulphate-bonded investment to produce Al-base foams. The results of the mold preparation and casting process with different process parameters are analyzed by optical and microscopic methods to be able to define an adapted investment casting process. The mechanical properties of the as-cast samples are compared to state-of-the-art metal foams to assess the overall benefits of the use of these innovative structures.

Pierre Kubelka
Pforzheim University of Applied Sciences
Additional Authors:
  • Dr. Fabian Körte
    University of Tübingen
  • Dr. Alexander Martin Matz
    Pforzheim University of Applied Sciences
  • Dr. Xin Xiong
    University of Tübingen
  • Prof. Dr. Rumen Krastev
    Reutlingen University
  • Prof. Dr. Norbert Jost
    Pforzheim University of Applied Sciences