Applications of Polymer Matrix Syntactic Foams
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- Gupta, N., Zeltmann, S.E., Shunmugasamy, V.C. et al. JOM (2014) 66: 245. doi:10.1007/s11837-013-0796-8
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A collection of applications of polymer matrix syntactic foams is presented in this article. Syntactic foams are lightweight porous composites that found their early applications in marine structures due to their naturally buoyant behavior and low moisture absorption. Their light weight has been beneficial in weight sensitive aerospace structures. Syntactic foams have pushed the performance boundaries for composites and have enabled the development of vehicles for traveling to the deepest parts of the ocean and to other planets. The high volume fraction of porosity in syntactic foams also enabled their applications in thermal insulation of pipelines in oil and gas industry. The possibility of tailoring the mechanical and thermal properties of syntactic foams through a combination of material selection, hollow particle volume fraction, and hollow particle wall thickness has helped in rapidly growing these applications. The low coefficient of thermal expansion and dimensional stability at high temperatures are now leading their use in electronic packaging, composite tooling, and thermoforming plug assists. Methods have been developed to tailor the mechanical and thermal properties of syntactic foams independent of each other over a wide range, which is a significant advantage over other traditional particulate and fibrous composites.