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Submitted in partial fulfilment of the requirements for the award of

Bachelor of Engineering Degree in

Mechanical and Production

J.MURALIMANO (3416051)



Accredited with Grade “A” by NAAC

APRIL 2018
Accredited with Grade “A” by NAAC



This is to certify that this Project Report is the bonafide work of N.Madhiyazhagan
(3416040) and J.Muralimano (3416051) who carried out the project entitled
“Experimental Investigation of Aluminium Foam in Automobile Application”
under our supervision from September 2017 to April 2018.


Internal Guide


Head of department

Submitted for Viva voce examination held on

Internal examiner External examiner


We N.MADHIYAZHAGAN (3416040) and J.MURALIMANO (3416051) hereby

declare that the Project Report entitled “EXPERIMENTAL INVESTIGATION OF
guidance of Mrs.M.Sangeetha is submitted in partial fulfilment of the requirements
for the award of Bachelor of Engineering degree in Mechanical and Production.

DATE : 1.

PLACE : 2.



We are pleased to acknowledge our sincere thanks to Board of Management of

SATHYABAMA for their kind encouragement in doing this project and for
completing it successfully. We are grateful to them.

We convey our thanks to Dr.S.Prakash,M.E.,Ph.D.,Dean, School of Mechanical

Engineering and Head, Department of Mechanical and Production Engineering
for providing us necessary support and details at the right time during the
progressive reviews.

We would like to express our sincere and deep sense of gratitude to our Project
Guide Mrs.M.Sangeetha M.E.,(Ph.D.) for her valuable guidance, suggestions and
constant encouragement paved way for the successful completion of our project

We wish to express our thanks to all Teaching and Non-teaching staff members of
the Department of Mechanical and Production Engineering who were helpful in
many ways for the completion of our project.


The Aluminium alloy foam is a new class of material with low density, better
corrosion, wear resistance and low thermal expansion. Their applications are in
lightweight structural components, shock or sound absorbing products, aeroplanes
and ships. The foam agents used in this process are calcium carbonate and
magnesium carbonate powder. The composite aluminium foam structure is
fabricated by bottom pouring stir casting furnace through melting route. The
specimen is examined, tested and readings are noted. Comparison is made on to
different composition of aluminium foam structure with aluminium alloy structure.
The results show the energy absorption capability of the foam structures is much
greater than the energy absorbed by aluminium structure. The main aim of this
project is to reduce the density and cost of the metals and produce higher foaming
by adding both the blowing agents. These foaming materials are applied in
structures and supportive columns of buildings.

The results show that the fabricated component has a lower density
than aluminium 6061 and cost of the substance has been reduced.





2. AIM 5
2.1 AIM 5
2.2 SCOPE 5
3.2.1 Aluminium foam 8
3.2.2 Aluminium 6061-T6 Metal 8
3.2.3 Chemical Composition of Al 6061-T6 9
3.2.4 Key properties of Aluminium 6061-T6 10
3.2.5 Uses of Aluminium 6061 in industries 10
3.2.6 Stochastic or Reticulated Foam 11
3.2.7 Regular Stacked Cell Foam 11
3.2.8 Uses of Aluminium Foam 12
3.2.9 Applications of Aluminium Foam 12
3.2.10 Calcium carbonate 12
3.2.11 Degasser 13
3.2.12Degasser Applications 14
3.2.13 Magnesium Carbonate 14
3.2.14 Uses of Magnesium Carbonate 15
3.3.1 Foaming by blowing agents (Hydro/Alcan) 15
3.3.2 Foaming by gas entrapment (Alporas) 15
3.3.3 Solid-Gas Eutectic Solidification (Gasar) 16
3.3.4 Foaming by powder metallurgy 17
3.3.5 Challenges in Producing Aluminium Foam 17
3.3.6 Casting Process 17
3.3.7 Different Types of Casting Process 18
3.5.1 Stirrer Design 19
3.5.2 Stirrer Speed 20
3.5.3 Stirring Temperature 20
3.5.4 Stirring Time 21






3.1 Project Scheme 7

3.2(A) Aluminium Block 9
3.2(B) Cut into Small Pieces for Melting 9
3.3 Calcium Carbonate 13
3.4 Anhydrous Magnesium Carbonate 14
3.5 Alporas Process Procedure 16
3.6 Gasar Procedure 16
3.7 Closed Gas Furnace in with a Stir Casting Setup 19
3.8 Pictorial Representation of Stir Casting Component 19
3.9 Stir Casting Furnace Setup 20
4.1 Final Component 24
4.2 Porosity on Sample 1at Two Different Points 26
4.3 Porosity on Sample 2 At Two Different Positions 27
4.4 Microstructure 27
4.5 Porosity Structure of Sample 2 with Very Less Pores 29
4.6 Microstructure of Sample 1(100X) 30
4.7 Microstructure of Sample 2(100X) 31
4.8A Microstructure of Sample 1(200X) 32
4.8B Microstructure of Sample 2(200X) 32
4.9 Compression Testing Machine 33
4.10 Resultant Graph Sample 1 34
4.11 Tested Specimen 1 35
4.12 Resultant Graph Sample 2 35
4.13 Rested Specimen 2 36
4.14 Resultant Graph of Sample 1(Tensile Strength) 38
4.15 Resultant Graph of Sample 2 (Tensile Strength) 39
4.16 Hardness Testing Machine 41
4.17 Opposing Indenter Faces Are Set at a 136 Degree 41

Angle from One Another

4.18(A)Sample 1 Hardness Tested 42

4.18(B)Sample 2Hardness Tested 42

4.19 Charphy Impact Tester 43

4.20 Prepared Sample after Impact Test 46



3.1 Composition of AA 6061 9

3.2 Physical Properties of AA6061 10
3.3 Thermal Properties of Aluminium 6061-T6 11
3.4 Mechanical Properties of Aluminium 6061-T6 11
4.1 Hardness Test Results 42
4.2 Impact Results 43
4.3 Density Measurement 45



Cellular materials are widespread in everyday life and are used for
cushioning, insulating, damping, constructing, filtering purposes and many other
applications. Highly porous materials are also known to have a high stiffness
combined with a very low specific weight. These metallic foams are beneficial in
many ways in our day to day life since the have low density than their parent element
from which they are made of. The metallic foams have more vibration absorption
characteristics than their parent element. Metal foams have a vast range of
porosities (micron-centimetre). The component can have very sophisticated porosity
levels which can be understood from the following project which has been conducted
on aluminium alloy.

The Higher percentage of Titanium is used in the aerospace structure

which is not economical. We know that the cost of titanium is very high when
compared to other elements and alloys, hence a replacement has been proposed
in this project. The structures made of Aluminium and other metal alloys are denser,
and also has a lower range of absorption to vibration. In this project, we will be
working on Aluminium foam sandwich with aluminium to be used as a replacement
for titanium. We know that the cost of production for aluminium foam is high, but by
using cheaper blowing agents (CaCO3 and MgCO3) and by blowing an inert gas in
the molten mixture of aluminium alloy.We will be fabricating the aluminium foam to
study the component.


Manfred Wichmann (2010) conducted an experiment on Carbonates as

Foaming Agent in Chip-based Aluminium Foam Precursor the results showed that
the carbonates can be used as foaming agents in powdered metallurgy route to
produce metallic foam.

1 al (2015) observed the Fabricated and Shear Strength of
Aluminium Foam Sandwich Structure, the results infer that the Calcium Carbonates
(CaCo3) Magnesium Carbonate (MgCO3) can be used as foaming agents.

Mustafa MerihArıkan (2013) worked on Aluminium Integral Foam Production

with various Casting Methods from this paper we will be understanding the best
route to attain highest quality of metallic foam .

Svyatoslav et al (2006) followed different process for fabricating aluminium

foam with Carbonate compounds (CaCo3) as reinforcements.

HongjieLuo et al (2007) followed different methods to make aluminium foam

which suggested us to follow stir casting process to fabricate the component in their
experimental analysis Preparation of Aluminium Foam Sandwich Reinforced by
Steel Sheets.

.Ashby (2017) made a clear study on how the metal foams are made
and clearly depicted the ideas for foaming a metal in “Metal Foams: A Design

Shashikant V. Raut, V. S. Kanthaleand B. S. Kothavale which helped us

understand that aluminium foam has sound absorption characteristics in their work
Application of Aluminium Foam in Sound Absorption Technology.

Francesco Franco (2007) have found that the modelling of aluminium
metal foams have different variations and explained its uses in their journal
“Modelling of aluminium foam sandwich panels”.

Antonio Fuganti (2010) worked on efficiently using the aluminium foam
for automobile and succeeded in it in their journal “Aluminium foam for automotive

Dipen Kumar Rajak .et al (2016) worked aluminium titanium composites to

make aluminium metal foams and found out that the metal foams can be used in

automobile,military equipment since its low weight in his paper “technical overview
of aluminum alloy foam”.

AlexandrByakayumat tested the results for sound absorption

quality of aluminium foam and the ability of the sound absorbing quality was very
good thereby, they concluded in their journal”Fabrication method for closed-cell
aluminium foam with improved sound absorption ability”.

Cambronero L.E.G,et al (2015) has conducted an experiment to assure that

the magnesium carbonates can be used as foaming agent in Al-Si-Ti alloy to
produce foam in the “Manufacturing of Al–Mg–Si alloy foam using calcium carbonate
as foaming agent”.

HongjieLuo .et .al (2010) Sn was added to modify the microstructure of the
foam-able precursor to be used as a foaming agent from his journal “Study on
improvement of aluminum foams by rapid foaming” and also helped in
understanding the concept of rapid foaming in detail.

Aman Bhatt, worked with aluminium alloys to

create various methods for foaming in their paper “Metal Foaming of Aluminium

Vincenzo D’Alessandro have conducted the experiment to show

that the modelling of aluminium foam sandwich can be used in automobile industries
and can be used in structures and construction beam in their journal “Modelling of
aluminium foam sandwich panels”.

AhmetGüner, have worked on different ways to improve the foam

structure by different methods of casting in which stir casting was considered to be
the better and feasible idea “New Approaches to Aluminum Integral Foam
Production with Casting Methods”.

Mohammad Esmailian on carbonates as foaming agents
to produce the foam which lead to the idea of using Calcium Carbonates and
Magnesium Carbonates in their paper “Carbonate-Foaming Agents in Aluminum
Foams: Advantages and Perspectives”.



2.1 AIM

The main aim of the project is to reduce the density of the metal foam and fabricate
the foam using aluminium 6061 commonly known as AA6061-T6, using the very low
cost foaming agents such as Calcium carbonates, Magnesium Carbonates which
are the carbonates which are used for the melting process to produce the foam. The
component obtained has got foaming in an uneven manner. Since the working of
the foaming agents is very abundant. The foam is lower density than the metal by
itself. The proportionate amount of both foaming agents must be added in a proper
way to obtain the prefect foaming of the metal to produce the metal foam.


 The scope of the project is to produce low cost aluminium foam and the
foaming agent used here are Calcium Carbonate and Magnesium Carbonate.

 The important use of this component is to make aluminium metal foam. The
metal foam can be used in many application mainly, the car body, structure,

 The cost of production is foam is very high since the component produced is
process needs more accuracy and the production of the foam needs to be
very clear and highly efficient. Mainly in aerospace structures the basic
component used is titanium alloys since it is very light weight.

 In metal foams, since it has air gaps in between the structure hence the
density of the component is reduced to a certain extent which leads to the
production of lightweight aluminium with high tensile strength.

 In this project, a closed cell stir casting furnace used to produce combine both
the components into a mixture and produce aluminium metal foams .

 The metallic foams can be used in aerospace and automobile component
which needs a light weight body but with high tensile strength.

 Now the component has been tested for tensile strength, hardness,
compression, size of porosity of the component and microstructure of the
component have been checked and verified with industrial quality AA 6061-

 The final product is produced by stir casting process and the foaming agents
are added as a component for the better functionality.

 Material which has been produced can be very effectively used in many areas
for the betterment of the automobile body and structure for their excellent
vibration and sound absorption abilities of the system.




Experimental Investigation of Aluminium Foam in

Automobile Application

Fabrication of aluminium foam by liquid metallurgy


Aluminium foam casting methods

Casting with
Precursor Gas
Closed stir Continuous
casting Casting

Analysing the result to reduce the density of the automobile


Rockwell Charpy V Tensile Compression

Hardness notch impact

Porosity Microstructure


Analysing the aluminium foam composite hence concluding that the
composite can be used in in automobile structures and bodies
Fig.3.1 Project Scheme


3.2.1 Aluminium foam

Metal foam is a cellular structure made up of a solid metal containing a large volume
fraction of gas-filled pores. These pores can either be sealed (closed-cell foam), or
they can be an interconnected network (open-cell foam). The closed-cell foam is
referred to as metal foams, while the open-cell foam is referred to simply as porous
metal.Metal foams are potential materials for light-weight structural sandwich
panels, packing material and energy absorbing devices and they can be used in
applications such as automobile crumple zones, structural members in air and
spacecraft, and even in biomedical prosthesis. Mostly this type of aluminium foams
are manufacturing through melting route and powder metallurgy route.The metal
that is commonly used to make metal foams is aluminium.

3.2.2 Aluminium 6061-T6 Metal

Aluminium alloy 6061 is one of the most extensively used of the 6000 series
aluminium alloys. It is a versatile heat treatable extruded alloy with medium to high
strength capabilities. Aluminium 6061 is a precipitation-hardened aluminium alloy,
containing magnesium and silicon as its major alloying elements. Originally called
"Alloy 61S", it was developed in 1935. It has good mechanical properties, exhibits
good weldability, and is very commonly extruded It is one of the most common alloys
of aluminium for general-purpose use. According to the given content in references
papers the aluminium 6061 is mostly used for making metal foams with low density
and high porosity.

Aluminium 6061 is used for the construction of aircraft structures, such as

wings and fuselages, more commonly in homebuilt aircraft than commercial or
military aircraft. 2024 alloy is somewhat stronger, but 6061 is more easily worked
and remains resistant to corrosion even when the surface is abraded, which is not
the case for 2024, which is usually used with a thin Al-clad coating for corrosion
resistance. Aluminium 6061 has very good weldability and the vibration absorption
capability of the component is improved by making the AA6061 foam which leads to

better efficiency. The aluminium foam needs to have porosity and this porosity is
produced by blowing agents to continuously produce gases in the material.

Fig 3.2(a) Aluminium block Fig 3.2(b)cut into small pieces for melting

3.2.3 Chemical Composition of Al 6061-T6

The alloy composition of 6061 is:

Table 3.1 Composition of AA 6061

Component Weight percentage (wt %)

Aluminium 97.08%
Magnesium 0.8-1.2%
Silicon 0.4-0.8%
Iron Max 0.7
Copper 0.15-0.40
Zinc Max 0.25
Titanium Max 0.15
Manganese Max 0.15
Chromium 0.04-0.35
Others 0.05

3.2.4 Key properties of Aluminium 6061-T6

Typical properties of aluminium alloy 6061 are medium to high strength, Good
toughness, Good surface finish, Excellent corrosion resistance to atmospheric
conditions, Good corrosion resistance to sea water, it can be easily anodized, Good
weld ability , braze ability and workability, the material is easily available in
abundance in the market.

3.2.5 Uses of Aluminium 6061 in industries

Construction of aircraft structures, such as wings and fuselages, more

commonly in homebuilt aircraft than commercial or military aircraft.2024 alloy is
somewhat stronger, but 6061 is more easily worked and remains resistant to
corrosion even when the surface is abraded, which is not the case for 2024, which
is usually used with a thin Al-clad coating for corrosion resistance. Yacht
construction, including small utility boats. Automotive parts, such as the chassis of
the Audi A8. Some tactical flashlights. Aluminium cans for the packaging of food and
beverages. The structures of SCUBA tanks (post 1999) where widely built by using
this material.

Table 3.2 Physical Properties of AA6061

Density 2.7gm/cc

Melting point Approximately 580C

Modulus of elasticity 68.2 G Pa

Poisson ratio 0.33

Young’s modulus (E) 68.9 G Pa (9,990 ksi)

Tensile strength 124–290 M Pa (18.0–42.1 ksi)

Table 3.3Thermal Properties of Aluminium 6061-T6

Co-efficient of Thermal Expansion 23.5x10-6 m/m°C


Thermal Conductivity 173 W/m K

Electrical Resistivity 3.7 – 4.0 x10-6 Ω.cm

Aluminum 6061 alloy can be forged at 233 to 483°C (750 to 900°F).

Aluminum 6061 alloy is hot worked at 260 to 372°C (500 to 700°F). Aluminum 6061
alloy is cold worked in the O temper condition. It can also be cold formed in the T 4
and T 6 tempers. Aluminum 6061 alloy can be performed at 775°F for 2 to 3 h
followed by controlled cooling at 10 to 260°C (50 to 500°F) per hour, and air cooling.
Aluminum 6061 alloy can be performed at 177°C (350°F) for 8 h. It is then cooled in

Table 3.4 Mechanical Properties of Aluminium 6061-T6

Temper Ultimate tensile Brinell Hardness Elongation

stress (M Pa) (500kg load, 10mm 50mm diameter
ball) (%)
T-6 (material used) 260-310 95-97 9-13

3.2.6 Stochastic or Reticulated Foam

This foam is a skeletal structure, meaning it is not a metal coating on a base

structure, but is instead a pure metal/alloy. The cells and ligaments form a regular,
repeatable, regular and uniform matrix throughout the entirety of the material. It is
rigid with a highly porous and permeable structure. It exists in a range of densities
and pore sizes.

3.2.7 Regular Stacked Cell Foam

This regular, stacked cell foam has evenly- spaced, open pores, defined as
tetra-kaidecahedrons, which are polygons with 14 faces - 8 hexagonal and 6 square.
It can be imagined as a 3D honeycomb. Sand casting is used to manufacture the
foam and as such the exact form of the foam can be determined before its
manufacture, and is repeatable in series: each manufactured piece will be identical
and will therefore have exactly the same behaviour.

3.2.8 Uses of Aluminium Foam

A metalfoam is a cellular structure consisting of a solid metal (frequently

aluminium) with gas-filled pores comprising a large portion of the volume. The pores
can be sealed (closed-cell foam) or interconnected (open-cell foam). Metallic foams
typically retain some physical properties of their base material. Metal foams have
great amount of absorption capabilities hence it can be used in structures and
beams of structures since it has good structural strength. the aluminium foam has

3.2.9 Applications of Aluminium Foam

Impact absorption, Heat sinks and exchangers, Matrix for chemical beds and
scrubbers, Filters and mist elimination of water and oils, Core structure for high
strength panels, Battery plates and spacers, Weight reducing components in aircraft
or automotive applications, Catalyst surface.

3.2.10 Calcium carbonate

Calcium carbonate is a chemical compound with the formulaCaCO3. It is a

common substance found in rocks as the mineralscalcite and aragonite (most
notably as limestone, which contains both of those minerals) and is the main
component of pearls and the shells of marine organisms, snails, and eggs. Calcium
carbonate is the active ingredient in agricultural lime and is created when calcium
ions in hard water react with carbonate ions to create limescale (mineral ore). It is
medicinally used as a calcium supplement or as an antacid, but excessive
consumption can be hazardous.Advantages of using Calcium Carbonate (CaCo3)
as a foaming agent.

Density 2.711 g/cm3

Molar mass 100.0869 g/mol
Melting 872 C

Fig 3.3 Calcium carbonate

• Anhydrous compound and which is very stable

• Low cost foaming

In this project, Calcium Carbonate has been used as foaming agent since it
does not react with aluminium 6061 at any condition and hence the calcium
carbonate decomposes to form.

CaCO3(s) → CaO(s) + CO2(g) (3.1)

This reaction occurs when the foaming agent has been added to the component
when the material is at a melting point about 680°C and the decomposition occurs
and the Calcium oxide is formed which are found in the porosities of the component
and the component produces pores due to the release of Carbon di oxide (CO 2)
which produces the foaming or porosities in the component.

3.2.11 Degasser
Degasser is a tablet chemical addition in tablet form used in the degassing of
molten aluminium. Degasser improves mechanical properties; improves castability;
eliminates hydrogen gas porosity and removes non-metallics; eliminates hard spots;

and improves machineability. Because it is in tablet form, expensive equipment is
not required. All that is needed is a simple plunging tool.

3.2.12.Degasser Applications

Use only clean and preheated plunging tools. Moist tools can cause a metal
explosion. Melt down the charge under a layer of flux to reduce oxidation and help
reduce inclusions. When the temperature is below 1400°F and falling, the surface
dross should be pulled to one side. Plunge the required quantity of degasser slowly
to the bottom of the melt using a preheated plungers.

3.2.13 Magnesium carbonate

It is an inorganic salt that is a white solid.The most common magnesium

carbonate forms are the anhydrous salt called magnesite (MgCO3) and the di, tri,
and pentahydrates known as barringtonite (MgCO3·2 H2O), nesquehonite (MgCO3·3
H2O), and lansfordite (MgCO3·5 H2O), respectively. In this project we will usea
anhydrous magnesium carbonate

MgCO3 → MgO(s) + CO2(g)

Anhydrous magnesium carbonate is used because
it has a lower melting point than that of aluminium
hence it escapes out as gaseous oxides forming
simple magnesium oxide and carbon dioxide. This
carbon dioxide gets released from the inner portion
of the structures and the foaming has been done on
the material AA6061.according to the experimental

Fig 3.4Anhydrous MgCO3

3.2.14 Uses of Magnesium Carbonate

The primary use of magnesium carbonate is the production of magnesium

oxide by calcining. Magnesite and dolomite minerals are used to produce refractory
bricks. MgCO3 is also used in flooring, fireproofing, fire extinguishing compositions,
cosmetics, dusting powder, and toothpaste. This medication is a mineral
supplement used to prevent and treat low amounts of magnesium in the blood.
Magnesium is very important for the normal functioning of cells, nerves, muscles,
bones, and the heart. Usually, a well-balanced diet provides normal blood levels of
magnesium. However, certain situations cause your body to lose magnesium faster
than you can replace it from your diet. These situations include treatment with water


3.3.1 Foaming by blowing agents (Hydro/Alcan)

The first method of foaming aluminium and aluminium alloys is being

exploited by Hydro Aluminium in Norway and by Cymat Aluminium Corporation in
Canada. According to this process, silicon-carbide, aluminium-oxide, or
magnesium-oxide particles are used to enhance the viscosity of the melt. Therefore,
the first step comprises the preparation of an aluminium melt containing one of these
substances, making it a metal-matrix composite (MMC). This step reportedly
requires sophisticated mixing techniques to ensure a uniform distribution of
particles. A variety of aluminium alloys can be used.

3.3.2 Foaming by gas entrapment (Alporas)

Foaming melts directly is to add a blowing agent to the melt instead of

injecting gas into it. Heat causes the blowing agent to decompose and release gas,
which then propels the foaming process he filler materials can remain in the resulting
metal or be removed. Metal powders, fibres or even metallic micro-spheres can be
used to make porous metals without space holders to attain high porosity.


Fig 3.5 Alporas Process Procedure

3.3.3 Solid-Gas Eutectic Solidification (Gasar)

These metals is melted in a hydrogen atmosphere under high pressure (up

to 50 atms), the result is a homogeneous melt charged with hydrogen. If the
temperature is lowered, the melt will eventually undergo a eutectic transition to a
heterogeneous two-phase system (solid + gas). If the composition of the system is
sufficiently close to the eutectic concentration, a segregation reaction will occur at
one temperature. As the melt is solidified, gas pores precipitate and are entrapped
in the metal. The resulting pore morphologies are largely determined by the
hydrogen content, the pressure over the melt, by the direction and rate of heat
removal, and by the chemical composition of the melt. Generally, largely elongated
pores oriented in the direction of solidification are formed.

Fig 3.6 Gasser process steps

3.3.4 Foaming by Powder Metallurgy

Foamed metals can be also be prepared from metal powders. The production
process begins with the mixing of metal powders-elementary metal powders, alloy
powders, or metal powder blends-with a blowing agent, after which the mix is
compacted to yield a dense, semi-finished product. The compaction can be
achieved using any technique in which the blowing agent is embedded into the metal
matrix without any notable residual open porosity. Examples of such compaction
methods are uniaxial or isostatic compression, rod extrusion, or powder rolling. The
precursor has to be manufactured very carefully because residual porosity or other
defects will lead to poor results in further processing. The next step is heat treatment
at temperatures near the melting point of the matrix material. The blowing agent,
which is homogeneously distributed within the dense metallic matrix, decomposes
and the released gas forces the melting precursor material to expand, forming its
highly porous structure.

3.3.5 Challenges in Producing Aluminium Foam

Despite its technological advances, the metallic foam formation is not
problem free and still poses challenges. Questions related to a very hot topic (i.e.
the control of the pores size and shape of metal foams) that is seen with alacrity by
the scientific community due to potential applications of these materials in the
transport industry, are highlighted and discussed in detail. The key-question is how
to produce metal foams, in series, achieving uniform cellular structure, in order to
improve the manufacture reproducibility and to control foam architecture. A key goal
of this group research work is to develop the missing knowledge to fill in the
highlighted gap in the production of Al-alloy foams of uniform closed-cell structures
and transfer it to industry.

3.3.6 Casting Process

Casting is a manufacturing process in which a liquid material is usually

poured into a mould, which contains a hollow cavity of the desired shape, and then
allowed to solidify. The solidified part is also known as a casting, which is ejected or
broken out of the mould to complete the process. Casting materials are usually
metals or various cold setting materials that cure after mixing two or more
components together; examples are epoxy, concrete, plaster and clay. Casting is
most often used for making complex shapes that would be otherwise difficult or
uneconomical to make by other methods.

Metal is heated until it becomes liquid and is then poured into a mould. The
mould is a hollow cavity that includes the desired shape, but the mould also includes
runners and risers that enable the metal to fill the mould. The mould and the metal
are then cooled until the metal solidifies. The solidified part (the casting) is then
recovered from the mould. Subsequent operations remove excess material caused
by the casting process.


Stir casting is a liquid state method of composite materials fabrication, in

which a dispersed phase (ceramic particles, short fibers) is mixed with a molten
matrix metal by means of mechanical stirring. The liquid composite material is then
cast by conventional casting methods and may also be processed by conventional
Metal forming technologies. The main aim of the stir casting under closed condition
in this process is to achieve the following

To achieve uniform distribution of the air pockets on the inner surface,

achieve wettability between the two main substances, and maximize porosity in the
cast metal matrix composite.

Fig.3.7 Closed Gas Furnace in with a Stir Casting Setup

Fig 3.8 Pictorial Representation of Stir Casting Component


3.5.1 Stirrer Design:

It is very important parameter in stir casting process which is required for

vortex formation. The blade angle and number of blades decides the flow pattern of
the liquid metal. The stirrer is immersed till two third depth of molten metal. All these

are required for uniform distribution of reinforcement in liquid metal, perfect uniform
porosity and to increase the amount of pores..

Electrical motor

Molten aluminium mixed with

MgCO3,CaCO3using stirrer

Fig. 3.9 Stir Casting Furnace Setup

3.5.2 Stirrer Speed:

Stirring speed is an important parameter to promote binding between matrix

and reinforcement i.e. wettability. Stirring speed decides formation of vortex which
is responsible for dispersion of particulates in liquid metal. In our project stirring
speed is 120 rpm.

3.5.3 Stirring Temperature:

Aluminium melts around 650°C, at this temperature semisolid stage of melt

is present. Particle distribution depends on change in viscosity. The viscosity of
matrix is mainly influenced by the processing temperature. The viscosity of liquid is
decreased by increasing processing temperature with increasing holding time for
stirring which also promote binding between matrix and reinforcement. Good
wettability is obtained by keeping temperature at 760°C.

3.5.4 Stirring Time

As stirring promote uniform distribution of reinforcement partials and interface

bond between matrix and reinforcement, stirring time plays a vital role in stir casting
method. Less stirring leads to non-uniform distribution of particles and porosity
cannot be maintained, excess stirring forms clustering of particles at some places
which leads to non-uniform porosities. Stirring time is 1-4 minutes in our case. The
time of stirring is an important aspect to obtain uniform porosity on the inner surface
of the casted metal.


The aluminium (6061) is containing Al 95.8%, Mg 0.5%, Si 0.6%, and Ca

1.5%. There are two sample that are being made by this process. By adding two
foaming agents in this process we will be making the porosity and the structural
strength of the component more than that of the parent element. The two blowing
agents are CaCO3 and MgCO3 as blowing agents which results in foaming of the
component by bottom pouring stir casting process. Firstly the stir casting crucible is
cleaned to reduce any kind of component that can be mixed with the component.
Then the crucible is coated with a layer of silicone lime solvent to prevent the
aluminium from sticking on to the surface of the material. Now the crucible is heated
to 450 degree Celsius. Then the aluminium 6061 alloy cylinders are placed inside
the crucible and in the meantime the mould in which the molten metal is going to be
poured coated with the same thin layer of silicone lime solvent to make the mould
and other components not to stick to the components when this foam is produced.
Now the material which is responsible for the foam composite to occur is added at
a gradual rate. The reinforcement or blowing agent must be preheated to about 150
degree Celsius. Now the pneumatic system is used in this stir casting furnace which
used to pore the stirred hot mixture into the preheated mould. As the reinforcements
are added these reactions occurs at greater than room temperature.

Calcium Carbonate (CaCO3)

CaCO3(s) → CaO(s) + CO2(g)

For Magnesium carbonate

MgCO3 → MgO(s) + CO2(g)

This carbon di oxide released has to escape out of the structure. Now the
casted alloy looks like the reduced temperature. The experiment was carried out in
the production laboratory of Velammal engineering college and the stir casting
furnace has been used in this process to produce the casted metal foam which
requires a high level of working to be done. The work was assisted by Mr.Murugan.

 The furnace is cleaned thoroughly by using the necessary tools required for
clearing the residue of the before conducted experiment. The furnace cup (or
flask), pneumatic holder, mould in which the aluminium is going to be casted
is cleaned thoroughly.

 Now the cleaned furnace cup is paint with a coating of silicone lime paste to
stop the component from sticking to the walls of the furnace and then the
furnace cup is allowed to cool for about minimum of 45 minutes.

 Then the stirrer mechanism is totally checked for any kind of flaws on the
structure. The electric motor is checked before the process starts.

 Now the furnace is turned on and the thermostat is set to 750°C. The stirrer,
pneumatic holder, mould are also coated with a fine thin layer of silicone lime

 The furnace cup is placed in the furnace position to after the furnace reaches
120°C. The mould is preheated at about 300°C to solidify the paste on the

 After about 6-12 minutes the furnace reaches to a temperature of 400°C then
the aluminium is introduced in the furnace flask so that the aluminium melts
when the temperature in the furnace cup is increased. This whole process is
done in closed condition so that the gases does not escape out of the system.

 Then, the metals melts at about 750°C (15-20 minutes), molten metal is ready
for stirring, the calculated AA6061-T6 that is 566.35 grams in one mould.

 The stirrer is fitted with the electrical motor and the fitted motor is turned on.

 Now the foaming agents are added in a closed atmosphere this helps in the
better foaming of the component.

 After the whole amount of the foaming agent (CaCO3 and MgCO3) is added
to the molten liquid then it is stirred for about 45 seconds for equal distribution
of the foaming throughout the content.

 The pneumatic holder is released after the mould has been placed in the
position and now the component is allowed to cool and the mould is closed

 Thereby we have produced aluminium foam by stir casting process.



The final component has the very good porosity structures on the surface of
the casted metal as seen in the made composite. The component has lowered
density than that of aluminium 6061-T6 but by a very small fraction. The following
component is shown in the figure 4.1.









Fig. 4.1 Final Component


Here, we have attained a very light amount of foaming that occurred due to
the act of calcium carbonate and magnesium carbonate diffusing into the component
as Calcium oxide and magnesium oxide which have been deposited in the air gap
which leads to the foaming of the component. The resulting structures have been
examined according to their wt%. The component M1 has 6%of calcium carbonate
and 5% magnesium carbonate and the rest of the wt% is AA 6061. The component
has a very minor foaming since the CaO and MgO have been deposited on the
structure and the components analysis have been done.

Porosities of two components have been done accordingly. The calculated

amount of aluminium 6061 has been added in equal amounts to produce the
component. The aluminium 6061 melted is about 566.35 grams which is about 90
weight percent of the total final component. The foaming agents are added in 5%
and 6% with normal weight of 17.42 grams and 12.33 grams of both calcium
carbonate and magnesium carbonate respectively which leads to the fabrication of
the porosity of the given composite structure.

The porosity of the component is the air gap or the air pockets which are
present in the final component which leads to the lowering the density of the
component and this helps in the better elasticity of the final product. The product is
made with uneven porosities which leads to a very high internal strength of the

Fig4.2(a) fig 4.2(b)

Fig.4.2(a)& fig 4.2 (b)Porosity of Sample 1 at Two Different Points(Sample 1-

6wt% of Caco3,5wt% of Mgco3 and 89wt% of AA6061)

From this result,the porosity values measured as 38.88 microns, 33.33

microns, 19.44 microns, 43.05 microns , 33.36 microns and less than 15 microns. It
is revealed that foaming can be attained by using calcium carbonate and
magnesium carbonate as blowing agents the method used here is closed cell stir
casting process. The average size of the pores in this component one is close to 20
microns. The microporosities on the structures confirm that these foaming agents
can be used to produce in metal foams in particular. The foaming agents used
produce air holes in micron level (10-6) which given non uniform porosities
throughout the fabricated metal.

Fig 4.3(A) Fig 4.3 (B)

Fig 4.3(A)&(B) Porosity on Sample 2 at Two Different Positions (AA 6061-

90%, CaCo3-5%, MgCo3-5%).

From the above results,33.3 microns, 31.9microns, 18.05 microns, 19.54microns and
less than 10 microns of porosity values are obtained. It is revealed that we can attain
uniform porosity by using the calcium carbonate and magnesium carbonate together.In the
above sample degasser was not used to reduce the slag (Aluminium oxide formation) that
will be formed on the top surface due to the reaction of aluminium with atmospheric oxygen.

Fig .4.4 Macro structure

The visible level porosity on the interior of the casted structure is seen on the
above shows that there are micron level porosities that are uniform. But under a
microscope structure the porosity is not uniform.

In this casted component the amount of foaming done on the very low due to
the addition of degassersince the degasser produces outlet to allow the carbon
dioxide coming in the component more easier produces less foaming than the
previous sample here we have obtained. The component has lower value of

Porosity than that of the previous sample it has got an average of 5-4 microns
per unit area of the sample.

Fig 4.5 (A) Fig 4.5 (B)

Fig 4.5(A) & (B) Porosity Structure of Sample 2 with Very Less Porosity

Photo-1: less than 5 microns- 2 Nos. Photo-2: less than 3 microns Nos.


From the below figures we can infer that the porosities have been filled with Cao
Residues and the component has a CaO deposition on the surface layer and the
microstructural analysis has a revealed that the CaO did not get burned in the
structural analysis of the structure. The foaming agent decomposed and occupy
the grain boundaries.

Fig 4.6 Microstructure of Sample 1 (100X)

In these results show the porosity have been foamed successfully and the
casting has been successful. The air holes are not empty in the case of this sample
M-3. The micro structures have been done on de-wintor inverted trinocular
metallurgical microscope. The magnification has been done for 100 X level and 200x
level. In the photo-3 we can observe that the porosities have been maintained to a
similar level hence this foam can be produced by a following foaming agents (CaCO 3
and MgCO3) at a much lower cost and the material has a good amount of porosities.
Photo-1 & 2: Shows the microstructure of AA 6061 with addition of foaming agent.

Fig.4.7 Microstructure of sample 1(200X)

Figure 4.6shows the microstructure of AA 6061 with addition of foaming agent.

Figure 4.7 shows the resolved grain boundaries in which the residue of the foaming
agent retained the space and settled at the grain boundaries. The residues are the
oxides of the foaming agent. The grain boundaries are resolved and the deposits
are observed. The sample 2 has more porosity but the defined porosity is very less
in order and these results in very low quality and uneven pores on the structure.
These pores have deposits of Calcium oxide which leads to production of filling of
the pores and the pores have very low micron level deposits of the structure in the
sample and this leads to uneven distribution of the porosity that has been formed
during the process.

Fig.4.8(a) Microstructure of Sample 2 with Foaming Agent

Figure 4.8 (a) Shows the microstructure of AA 6061 with addition of foaming agent.
The foaming agent decomposed and occupies the grain boundaries.

Figure 4.8 (b) Shows the resolved grain boundaries in which the residue of the
foaming agent retained the space and settled at the grain boundaries. The residues
are the oxides of the foaming agent. The grain boundaries are resolved and the
deposits are observed. Figure 4.8 (b) shows the macro porosities without the
presence of deposits at the grain boundaries.

Fig.4.8 (b) Microstructure of sample 2


Tension test is normally conducted to obtain the mechanical properties of

Metals. It is the primary test used for quality control and the basis for acceptance
and refusal of metallic products used in construction and other uses. • Compression
test is used to obtain the mechanical properties and is the basis acceptance and

refusal of brittle non metallic and other materials that have very low strength in
tension like concrete, wood, masonry, etc

Fig 4.9 The compression Testing Machine

Friction between the machine (figure 4.9) head and the sample effects the results
causing stresses to have a small inclination. Bearing blocks are used to ensure the
load is applied to the specimen. Spherical loading heads are used to avoid applying
the load at a single point if the loading surfaces are at a small angle.Testing load
range for the compressive machine is Maximum of 5 Tons. The Make of this
machine is Associated Scientific Engineering Works, New Delhi. Gear rotation
speed (for gradual loading): for this machine is 1.25. 1.5 & 2.5 mm /min.

A compression test is any test in which a material experiences opposing

forces that push inward upon the specimen from opposite sides or is otherwise
compressed, “squashed”, crushed, or flattened. The test sample is generally placed
in between two plates that distribute the applied load across the entire surface area
of two opposite faces of the test sample and then the plates are pushed together by
a universal test machine causing the sample to flatten. A compressed sample is

usually shortened in the direction of the applied forces and expands in the direction
perpendicular to the force. A compression test is essentially the opposite of the more
common tension test.

4.4.1 Results for Compression Test

Fig 4.10 Result Graph of Sample 1(Compression)

The compression test results shows that the maximum load on the structure more
than normal AA6061 (17.66KN) which is 19.05 KN which for sample M-2 and the
elongation of the material is improved in negative because it is a compressive load

acting on a unit area of 10mm diameter and 40mm length.

Sample 1
The structure shows deformation after the effect of
working under high pressure and this component is
permanently bent due to sustained pressure that
had been occurring on the top portion of the metal
foam piece.

Fig 4.11 Tested Specimen Sample 1

Fig 4.12 Result Graph of Sample 2(Compression)

The compression results show that the percentage of compression is -29.98. This
shows that the porosity of the foam is very low since the compression is very less
and the air gaps does not allow the material to have a compressive load acting on

Sample 2
The resultant component is given and this shows
that there is lot of cracking on the surface of the
material which leads to a lot of cracking on the
surface of the material.

Fig 4.13 Tested Specimen Sample 2


Tensile testing, also known as tension testing, is a fundamental materials

science and engineering test in which a sample is subjected to a controlled tension
until failure. Properties that are directly measured via a tensile test are ultimate
tensile strength, breaking strength, maximum elongation and reduction in area.
From these measurements the following properties can also be determined: Young's
modulus, Poisson's ratio, yield strength, and strain-hardening characteristics.
Uniaxial tensile testing is the most commonly used for obtaining the mechanical
characteristics of isotropic materials. Some materials use biaxial tensile
testing.Tensile strength is the ability of a material to withstand a pulling (tensile)
force. It is customarily measured in units of force per cross-sectional area. This is
an important concept in engineering, especially in the fields of material science,
mechanical engineering and structural engineering.

4.5.1 Results For Tensile Strength

The test process involves placing the test specimen in the testing machine
and slowly extending it until it fractures. During this process, the elongation of the
gauge section is recorded against the applied force. The data is manipulated so that
it is not specific to the geometry of the test sample. The elongation measurement is
used to calculate the engineering strain, ε, using the following equation:

Where ΔL is the change in gauge length, L0 is the initial gauge length, and L is the
final length. The force measurement is used to calculate the engineering stress, σ,

using the following equation:

where F is the tensile force and A is the nominal cross-section of the specimen. The
machine does these calculations as the force increases, so that the data points can
be graphed into a stress–strain curve.

The tensile test results shows that the tensile strength of the foam component has
a little more tensile strength than the base component that has been produced.
The base metal has a very high quality AA6061 metal which has very good tensile
strength has now been added to a very good amount of the structural strength of
the material and the product has got a good tensile strength that has been shown
in the given stress-strain graph from the results.The tensile strength at break is the
tensile stress at the moment at which a test specimen tears. Like elongation at
break, this is also determined by tensile testing.

Fig 4.14 Result Graph of Tensile Strength(Sample 1: Stress-Strain Curve of
AA 6061 Foam)

The tensile strength of the sample 1 is found to be 87.68 MPa according to the given
data from the laboratory and the elongation is positive which infers that the
component has elasticity and the foam component is elastic in nature and this can
used in automobile and various application for absorbing the energy on the
component. The maximum strain applied on the component is 33.8 joules which
leads to the breakage of the component. The comparative study of the component
has been done to see whether the component has the same flexibility as that of
AA6061 the base metal.

Fig 4.15 Result Graph of Tensile Strength(Sample 2: Stress- Strain Curve of

AA6061 Foam)

The tensile test results infer that the component has the same tensile strength that
is close to the 80 Mpa which shows that the as a whole the tensile test results have
proved that the tensile strength of the component varies with the variation in the
percentage of the foaming agent this shows that the component has better foaming
agents than other low costing foaming agents.


Hardness is a characteristic of a material, not a fundamental physical

property. It is defined as the resistance to indentation, and it is determined by
measuring the permanent depth of the indentation.Hardness is the property of a
material that enables it to resist plastic deformation, penetration, indentation, and
scratching. Therefore, hardness is important from an engineering standpoint
because resistance to wear by either friction or erosion by steam, oil, and water
generally increases with hardness.Indentation hardness. Indentation hardness tests
are used in mechanical engineering to determine the hardness of a material to
deformation. Several such tests exist, wherein the examined material is indented
until an impression is formed; these tests can be performed on a macroscopic or
microscopic scale.Micro Vickers Hardness Tester with testing load range of10
grams to 1 Kg Load and the make is Wilson Wolpert – Germany the least count of
the vernier is 0.01 mm and the available hardness testing scale are HV, HRB, HRC,
15N, 30N etc.

Fig.4.16 Hardness Testing Machine

Thehardness test method, also referred to as a micro hardness test method, is

mostly used for small parts, thin sections, or case depth work.

Fig.4.17 Opposing Indenter Faces are Set At 136 Degree Angle from One

The Vickers method is based on an optical measurement system. The Micro

hardness test procedure, ASTM E-384, specifies a range of light loads using a
diamond indenter to make an indentation which is measured and converted to a
hardness value. It is very useful for testing on a wide type of materials, but test

samples must be highly polished to enable measuring the size of the impressions.
A square base pyramid shaped diamond is used for testing in the Rockwell scale.

Fig.4.18(a) Sample 1 hardness tested Fig.4.18(b) Sample 2 hardness

Workpiece workpiece

Table 4.1 Hardness test results (HRC)

Sample I.D Trail 1 Trail 2 Trail 3 Average

Sample 1 110.0 112.5 112.4 111.34
Sample 2 68.7 85.3 73.8 75.96

Hardness testing is used for two general characterizations, Material

Characteristics can be used to Test to check material, check the hardenability, verify
to confirm process, used for predict tensile strength.

Functionality of the hardness testing to Test and confirm ability to function as

designed understand the Wear resistance of the component the Toughness of the
given component is checked by hardness test on the surface, understand the
Resistance to impact.


The Charpy impact test, also known as the Charpy V-notch test, is a
standardized high strain-rate test which determines the amount of energy absorbed
by a material during fracture. The purpose of impact testing is to measure an
object's ability to resist high-rate loading. It is usually thought of in terms of two
objects striking each other at high relative speeds.

Fig.4.19CharphyImpact Tester

Table 4.2 Impact results

Sample ID Joules
Sample 1 8.9
Sample 2 4.3

The impact test is a method for evaluating the toughness and notch
sensitivity of engineering materials. It is usually used to test the toughness of metals,
but similar tests are used for polymers, ceramics and composites.

Metal industry sectors include Oil and Gas, Aerospace, Power Generation,
Automotive, and Nuclear.

The notched test specimen is broken by the impact of a heavy pendulum or
hammer, falling at a predetermined velocity through a fixed distance. The test
measures the energy absorbed by the fractured specimen. Impact testing is used to
determine material behavior at higher deformation speeds.

Classical pendulum impact testers determine the impact energy absorbed

by a standardized specimen up to break by measuring the height of rise of the
pendulum hammer after impact.

The sample one shows a perfect foam structure on the inside structure of the given
component which leads to the macrostructural information of the given component
which show the strength of the fabricate specimen. The similar results are been
done on the functionality of the sample 2 as well and there is very little variation in
the other sample.

Fig.4.20 Prepared Sample after Impact test


The density, or more precisely, the volumetric mass density, of a substance

is its mass per unit volume. The symbol most often used for density is ρ although
mathematically, density is defined as mass divided by volume. The volume of the
material was checked which shows that the component has reduced level of density
and the density of the component was checked by dipping the known mass of the
component in water and checking the amount of water displaced by the component

and this shows that both the components have almost similar amount of density but
it is a very tiny level.

Table 4.3 Density Measurement

Sample 1 Density in Kg/m3

AA 6061 2.7168
Sample 1 2.7142
Sample 2 2.7152

This infers that the density of the component has been successfully reduced
to a certain level. This is very helpful to understand that the component can be used
in automobile application and other locomotives.



From the result we can understand that the component has better wear
resistance and the porosity has been attained non uniformly on the inner surface of
the system and the component has a good tensile comparatively and the density of
fabricated component is reduced this shows that the component can be used in
automobile applications, beams in constructions. The usage of magnesium
carbonate and calcium carbonate using as foaming agents has resulted in uneven
foaming of the component and the component is produced to form a very good
quality lower density AA6061-T6

Hence the experimental investigation done on the fabricated component has

shown that foams can be produced by liquid metallurgy process with low costing
foaming agents such as Calcium carbonate and magnesium carbonate.


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