Fabrication of ferrous metallic foams by reduction of ceramic foam precursors

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A process has been developed for obtaining closed cell metallic foams using a ceramic foam precursor. In the present study, the major constituent of the ceramic foam precursor was iron oxide (Fe2O3), which was mixed with various foaming/setting additives. The mixture set rapidly at room temperature, stabilizing the foam generated by hydrogen release. The oxide foam was then reduced by annealing at 1240°C in a non-flammable hydrogen/inert gas mixture to obtain a metallic foam with a relative density of 0.23 ± 0.017, and an average cell diameter of 1.32 ± 0.32 mm. The iron foams were tested in compression and yielded an average compressive strength of 29 ± 7 MPa. The compressive stress-strain curves obtained were typical of cellular metals. The normalized strengths of the metal foams obtained in the present study compare favorably with those of steel foams produced by other techniques.

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