Think of a car today: curvy shapes, modern design, and state-of-the-art options. Now imagine how to protect it in the event of an impact while making it tougher, lighter and safer. The last idea that comes to mind is a fragile material like a foam. But this is exactly the answer mechanical engineering has found to meet demand.
Aluminum foam is the key material for greater robustness and better structural lightness in economy cars, as well as reducing engine noise pollution. These materials have a high impact energy absorption capacity that can contribute to reducing the number of accidents.
The method developed for applying foam to cars is spray technology. “It consists in heating a dense precursor material to near melting temperatures, which is obtained by hot compaction of a mixture of aluminum powders and an blowing agent. For example, titanium hydride, the most suitable for aluminum. During the process, aluminum expands due to the melting of the metal and the simultaneous release of gas resulting from the thermal decomposition of the blowing agent. This forms the metal foam.
Metal foams have proven to be strong allies in the construction of increasingly light and resistant structures, generating savings with maintenance performance.
Created in 1968, this material has never been widely used in the auto industry because of the difficulty of the molding process and its cost, as aluminum is not a cheap metal.
But the low weight – thanks to the composition of its volume, which has 85% of empty spaces – and the high strength, coupled with more gradual deformation due to the “aerated”, made the engineers insist on new methods. Now professionals from Fraunhofer Institute and Voith Engineering Services, both from Germany, have devised a process that promises to reduce the cost of foam: modeling takes place during block creation, using a turbine that creates air bubbles while molten aluminum is placed in the mold.
Used on the most critical body breakage parts, the alusion could make a compact car up to 20 pounds lighter, with improvements of about 10% in body rigidity and lower fuel consumption due to weight drag retraction. In addition, this material still has the advantages of being fully recyclable, non-toxic, fire resistant and a great soundproofing.
Because of various features, aluminum foam is very commonly used in car industries.
- Noise-resistance: Aluminium foam prevent the noise of the environment of outside of cars. It also resists the sound which is generated from the engines.
- Architectural: It provide the architectural stability and support to the cars. It also give a good stylish look to car.
- Structural: Aluminium foam is used in many structures of car to support , prevent and heat absorption mechanism.
- Reasonable in rates: This metal is very reasonable in rates so easy to afford. Because of that reason most of car manufactures prefer to use this metal in cars.