The Challenge of Open Cellular Metal Foam Production
Five years ago Fraunhofer-IWU started research in open cellular metal structures as the potential applications increased based upon their exceptional properties. Heat exchangers, filters, and battery electrodes are examples of potential applications. As casted aluminum foams were in serial production and Fraunhofer in close cooperation with the manufacturer, the interest was limited to prototyping of individual foams especially in combination with solid regions for fixing, encasing, or sub-division. New parameter combinations and technological processes were developed and the advantages, limitations, and potentials are described within this document. Alternatively, galvanic coating of PUR foams with copper, nickel, and other metals is common, again buyable and state of the art. R&D activities related to application development and adapted geometries not yet realizable by conventional mass production will be shown. Investigations for graded strut-structures and cylindrical tube-like parts were intensified to reach serial production level. The lecture represents investigations, results, dropped, and new approaches of all routes.