Early anisotropic expansion of aluminium foam precursors


This work reports a detailed study on the early expansion (before the melting point) of powder metallurgical (PM) aluminium foam precursors and its influence on the intrinsic anisotropy existing in the final cellular structure of PM foams. Hot uniaxial compressed tablets, rectangular and cylindrical extruded profiles and thixocast PM precursors have been considered to evaluate the effect of the processing technique on the early expansion behaviour. An optical device has been used to register, in situ, the dissimilar expansion of the precursors in the three spatial directions. Cellular morphology has been examined by X-ray microtomography and correlated to expansion behaviour. Results demonstrated a high influence of the processing technique and its correlation with powder debonding in preferential directions which, in combination with the early TiH2 decomposition, generates elongated cracks and causes an anisotropic expansion at early foaming stages. As a consequence, a remaining structural anisotropy is found in the final solid cellular material, even at high porosities. A discussion of the possible factors affecting this early expansion behaviour, complemented with possible solutions to minimize it, is provided in the paper.

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The authors are grateful to the Alulight Company in Austria and the IFAM Bremen institute (Dr. Weise) which supplied the materials. In addition, the financial support of Spanish Ministry of Science and Education (FPU Grant Ref-AP-2007-03318, JCI-2011-09775, MAT 2009-14001-C02-01, MAT 2012-34901) and the Junta of Castille and Leon (VA174A12-2) is also acknowledged.

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Correspondence to E. Solórzano.

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Lázaro, J., Solórzano, E., de Saja, J.A. et al. Early anisotropic expansion of aluminium foam precursors. J Mater Sci 48, 5036–5046 (2013). https://doi.org/10.1007/s10853-013-7291-z

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  • Foam
  • Linear Expansion
  • Aluminium Foam
  • Extrusion Direction
  • Area Expansion