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Investigations on 4 new methods for aluminium foam production
Untersuchungen von vier neuen Verfahren für die Aluminiumschaumherstellung
Aluminium foam parts are being produced on an industrial scale (e.g. 100.000 parts per year) by industrial companies but the number of commercial applications is still lower than expected. This is partially attributed to the limited mechanical properties, but also to the relatively high production costs. In order to overcome these drawbacks IFAM has undertaken significant research efforts to improve existing and developing new production processes. The results of these investigations are presented here. A first process investigated is a method to produce highstrength syntactic foams by melt infiltration using micro glass bubbles that are sintered to yield porous preforms which are finally filled with aluminium using a conventional high pressure die casting machine. A second method investigated starts with magnesium alloys that contain alloying elements that are capable to form hydrides if annealed under a hydrogen atmosphere. The third investigated method uses recycled aluminium chips as a much cheaper starting material than aluminium powder. As a result this method enables considerable cost reductions. The last method investigated was derived from the well known P/M IFAM process: the APM process provides huge amounts of small aluminium foam elements, coated with an adhesive. The end user simply fills any desired structure with the beads and cures the adhesive by a mild heat treatment, making the APM process a cheap, simple and user friendly method.
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