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metal foam

Henry Tan's picture

cellular metal: space is divided into distinct cells. The boundaries of these cells are made of solid metal, the interior are voids. Ideally, the individual cells are all separated from each other by metal but often this restriction is relaxed

porous metal: the metal contains a multitude of pores, i.e. closed, curved gas voids with a smooth surface.

metal(lic) foam: foams are special cases of porous metals. A solid foam originates from a liquid foam in which gas bubbles are finely dispersed in a liquid.

metal sponge: space is filled by pieces of metal that form a continuous network and co-exist with a network of empty space which is also interconnected.


Henry Tan's picture

Applications in impact-absorbing systems probably offer the greatest potential for metallic foams.

Their exceptional ability to absorb large amounts of energy at almost constant pressure suggests applications ranging from automobile bumpers to aircraft crash recorders.

Henry Tan's picture

The acoustic properties of metallic foams mean that they find uses in many places where sound absorption is vital, e.g. along the sides of a road to reduce traffic noise.

Bin Liu's picture

Dear Henry, what is the advantage of metal foam comparing with other impact-absorbing materials or structures? Such as sandwich structures.

Hello Bin,

Now sandwich structures with metfoam cores can offer real benefits as ultralight structures, giving high specific stiffness & strength.If you see Stress-strain response of metal foams under compression, a long plateau stress at which strain continues to increase is observed. This gives high area under curve for metal foams. This straining at constant stress continues until the foam compacts & cells touch each other causing densification. The strain at which this occurs is called densification strain.More figure 4.2, 4.3 in Metal Foam, Design guide by Ashby, Gibson, Fleck ………. Metal Foams are seen as promising core materials within sandwich structures rather than a substitute. 

Bin Liu's picture

Thanks, nandanpingle

Henry Tan's picture


I am investigating this issue. I may answer you when I get the answer.

Also, any comments from other iMechanicians to help me out? Thanks.


Henry Tan's picture

How a metal-foam behaves under a sudden loading if it is saturated with fluid?

The pore fluid pressure near the sample center climbs up from its initial pressure and then declines and vanishes.

How can the poroelasticity approaches (discussed in Zhigang Suo's blog, Michelle Oyen's blog)  be applied here? Seeking comments.

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