, Volume 66, Issue 2, pp 245–254 | Cite as

Applications of Polymer Matrix Syntactic Foams

  • Nikhil GuptaEmail author
  • Steven E. Zeltmann
  • Vasanth Chakravarthy Shunmugasamy
  • Dinesh Pinisetty


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.


Particle Volume Fraction Syntactic Foam Hollow Particle Hollow Glass Microsphere Thermal Insulation Property 
These keywords were added by machine and not by the authors. This process is experimental and the keywords may be updated as the learning algorithm improves.



This work is supported by Office of Naval Research grant N00014-10-1-0988 with Dr. Yapa D.S. Rajapakse as the program manager. The authors thank 3M Co. and Oliver M. Strbik III of Deep Springs Technologies (Toledo, OH) for providing glass and SiC hollow particles, respectively, for imaging. Useful discussions with Dr. Gary Galdysz are acknowledged. James Cameron and Ron Allum are thanked for providing images of Deepsea Challenger. Peter Russell of Flotation Technologies, William Ricci and Ruth Clay of Trelleborg Offshore (Boston, MA), and Jeff Barker of Tooling Technologies LLC (Fort Loramie, OH) are thanked for providing images as indicated in the captions. Dr. Dung D. Luong provided the three-dimensional solid model images of syntactic foams.


Reference herein to any specific commercial company, product, process, or service by trade name, trademark, manufacturer, or otherwise, does not necessarily constitute or imply its endorsement, recommendation, or favoring by the United States Government, ONR or the authors. The opinions of the authors expressed herein do not necessarily state or reflect those of the United States Government or the ONR, and shall not be used for advertising or product endorsement purposes.


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Copyright information

© The Minerals, Metals & Materials Society 2013

Authors and Affiliations

  • Nikhil Gupta
    • 1
    Email author
  • Steven E. Zeltmann
    • 1
  • Vasanth Chakravarthy Shunmugasamy
    • 1
  • Dinesh Pinisetty
    • 2
  1. 1.Composite Materials and Mechanics Laboratory, Department of Mechanical and Aerospace EngineeringPolytechnic Institute of New York UniversityBrooklynUSA
  2. 2.The California Maritime AcademyVallejoUSA

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