Forum for Science, Industry and Business

Sponsored by:     3M 
Search our Site:


High strength cellular aluminium foam for the automotive industry


Aluminum foam is used for applications that requires high level of energy and sound absorption characteristics. UiTM researchers have developed an innovative process to make high strength cellular aluminium foam with help from some salt.

Aluminium foam exhibits unique properties when compared to its dense form, particularly its lightweight characteristics. Generally, the foam can be divided into two categories; closed cell and open cell, both have different characteristics and applications.

The features of the closed cell are, the pores structure is isolated and they are not connected to each other. This type of aluminium foam is suitable for application that requires high level of energy and sound absorption characteristics. It has been used widely in many structural parts, particularly in areas exposed to high damping capacity, for example in the automotive front bumper component.

Meanwhile, the open cell, owing to greater level of connectivity of the pores, the structure has been accepted and used in thermal management applications. One such promising application is as a heat exchanger, particularly as a cooling medium to transfer heat, due to the development of its porous structure, which provides greater surface area, thus, enabling improved heat transfer efficiency. Producing a combined structure of open and closed cell in one volume component appears to be a difficult process due to the different processing techniques involved and their individual limitations.

Therefore, in this study, an innovative processing route for high strength cellular aluminium foam (CAF) by integrating porous and dense structures is presented. The CAF is well known as a light-weight product exhibiting high level of inter-connected porosity which is very useful as a thermal management application, particularly as a heat transfer or cooling medium. However, the level of strength for the CAF is not really promising when it is subjected to high impact; thus, limit its potential application, particularly in the automotive industry.

Subsequently, an alternative route by integrating dense and porous structure has been investigated. The solid aluminium at the centre acts as a pillar providing excellent strength for the surrounding foam structure. The product has demonstrated functionally graded properties which is possible for applications that require both properties of heat transfer and high strength.

The product was fabricated using infiltration of NaCl space holder combined with central solid aluminium foam. It is well known that NaCl has a greater melting point than that of aluminium. Therefore, when aluminium melts, the liquid fills the interstitial spaces between the NaCl grain. Prior to melting, the NaCl is sieved according to the desired porous structure.

The materials (NaCl, central aluminium core and dense Aluminium ingot) are placed in the cylindrical steel mould and heated at temperature range between 670 and 700oC. The NaCl is placed at the bottom mould with aluminium central pillar and bulk Aluminium placed at the top of NaCl so that after the aluminium turns into liquid, it penetrates along the interstitial spaces between NaCl. Upon solidification, the part is removed from the mould and further machining is carried out to remove surface roughness caused by the solidification process. The part is then leached in an ultrasonic water bath in order to remove the NaCl completely.

The final product is the cellular aluminium foam exhibiting excellent interconnected pores structure with dense central pillar. The central solid pillar provides extra strength for the surrounded foam structure. The foams structure produced was examined for its density, porosity and strength by compression test. Thermal conductivity was also carried out to investigate the effect of space holder size and the NaCl fractions on the final properties.

Faculty of Mechanical Engineering
University Teknologi MARA, Malaysia 

Funding information

University Teknologi MARA

Darmarajah Nadarajah | Research SEA News
Further information:

Further reports about: UiTM characteristics dense foam heat pores porous processing structure techniques

More articles from Automotive Engineering:

nachricht When your car knows how you feel
20.12.2017 | FZI Forschungszentrum Informatik am Karlsruher Institut für Technologie

nachricht Did you know how many parts of your car require infrared heat?
23.10.2017 | Heraeus Noblelight GmbH

All articles from Automotive Engineering >>>

The most recent press releases about innovation >>>

Die letzten 5 Focus-News des innovations-reports im Überblick:

Im Focus: Researchers Discover New Anti-Cancer Protein

An international team of researchers has discovered a new anti-cancer protein. The protein, called LHPP, prevents the uncontrolled proliferation of cancer cells in the liver. The researchers led by Prof. Michael N. Hall from the Biozentrum, University of Basel, report in “Nature” that LHPP can also serve as a biomarker for the diagnosis and prognosis of liver cancer.

The incidence of liver cancer, also known as hepatocellular carcinoma, is steadily increasing. In the last twenty years, the number of cases has almost doubled...

Im Focus: Researchers at Fraunhofer monitor re-entry of Chinese space station Tiangong-1

In just a few weeks from now, the Chinese space station Tiangong-1 will re-enter the Earth's atmosphere where it will to a large extent burn up. It is possible that some debris will reach the Earth's surface. Tiangong-1 is orbiting the Earth uncontrolled at a speed of approx. 29,000 km/h.Currently the prognosis relating to the time of impact currently lies within a window of several days. The scientists at Fraunhofer FHR have already been monitoring Tiangong-1 for a number of weeks with their TIRA system, one of the most powerful space observation radars in the world, with a view to supporting the German Space Situational Awareness Center and the ESA with their re-entry forecasts.

Following the loss of radio contact with Tiangong-1 in 2016 and due to the low orbital height, it is now inevitable that the Chinese space station will...

Im Focus: Alliance „OLED Licht Forum“ – Key partner for OLED lighting solutions

Fraunhofer Institute for Organic Electronics, Electron Beam and Plasma Technology FEP, provider of research and development services for OLED lighting solutions, announces the founding of the “OLED Licht Forum” and presents latest OLED design and lighting solutions during light+building, from March 18th – 23rd, 2018 in Frankfurt a.M./Germany, at booth no. F91 in Hall 4.0.

They are united in their passion for OLED (organic light emitting diodes) lighting with all of its unique facets and application possibilities. Thus experts in...

Im Focus: Mars' oceans formed early, possibly aided by massive volcanic eruptions

Oceans formed before Tharsis and evolved together, shaping climate history of Mars

A new scenario seeking to explain how Mars' putative oceans came and went over the last 4 billion years implies that the oceans formed several hundred million...

Im Focus: Tiny implants for cells are functional in vivo

For the first time, an interdisciplinary team from the University of Basel has succeeded in integrating artificial organelles into the cells of live zebrafish embryos. This innovative approach using artificial organelles as cellular implants offers new potential in treating a range of diseases, as the authors report in an article published in Nature Communications.

In the cells of higher organisms, organelles such as the nucleus or mitochondria perform a range of complex functions necessary for life. In the networks of...

All Focus news of the innovation-report >>>



Industry & Economy
Event News

Virtual reality conference comes to Reutlingen

19.03.2018 | Event News

Ultrafast Wireless and Chip Design at the DATE Conference in Dresden

16.03.2018 | Event News

International Tinnitus Conference of the Tinnitus Research Initiative in Regensburg

13.03.2018 | Event News

Latest News

Modular safety concept increases flexibility in plant conversion

22.03.2018 | Trade Fair News

New interactive map shows climate change everywhere in world

22.03.2018 | Earth Sciences

New technologies and computing power to help strengthen population data

22.03.2018 | Earth Sciences

Science & Research
Overview of more VideoLinks >>>