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Information @ a Glance

  • Ceramic foams have an interesting combination of properties, such as low weight, high temperature stability. high permeability, high porosity, low thermal conductivity and low heat capacity. These properties have lead to a diverse field of applications, ranging from metal melt filtration, ion-exchange filtration, heat exchangers, catalyst support, refractory linings, thermal protection systems, diesel soot traps, flame rectifiers and solar radiation collectors. Recently the bio-technology and biomedical industries are employing ceramic foams made of hydroxyapatite, which can simulate bone and bio-implants.
  • Engineered foams have cellular structures which are categorized as either open call or closed cell foams. Foams consists of an assembly of irregularly shaped prismatic or polyhedral cells connected to each other with solid edges or faces. Engineered foams have been manufacturers from polymers, metals, glasses and ceramics. Ceramic foams are porous brittle materials with closed, fully open or partially interconnected porosity. Porous ceramic materials are being used in many industries and continue to be very active area of research for yet uncharted applications.
  • Open cell ceramic foams are used for a very wide range of applications. The excellent thermal shock resistance facilities their use for metal melt filtration and diesel engine exhaust filters. Ceramic foam filters improve molten metal casting quality by removing non metallic inclusions.

Production & Processing

  • Open cell ceramic foam manufacturing techniques can be classified into three general categories: Sponge-replication, foaming agents or space holder method. The Sponge replication was first developed in the early 1960s. It consists of using natural sponge or polyurethane foam as a form, which is infiltrated with ceramic slurry. The ceramic slurry is then fired to form ceramic foam.
  • The second technique is based on gas bubbles in preceramic melts. Gas evolving constituents are added to the melt. During the treatment bubbles are generated, causing the material to foam . This process was introduced in 1973 by sunderman.
  • The manufacturing process for Hi‑Por relies on the gelation of an organic binder to stabilise the foamed structure. It should not be confused with reticulated foam, which is produced from a polyurethane skeleton. The essential components of the process are ceramic powder, organic binders, dispersing agents, a foaming agent and water.


  • The ultra-light ceramic foams developed by Cellaris  contain either closed or open pores, 50-2000 micrometer in
    diameter. The foams may have a very high void fraction of  94%-99%. The closed and open cell materials are directed towards thermal insulation and catalyst support, respectively. Thermal  stability is retained up to 1600C - making the foams attractive for high temperature applications.
  • Ceramic foam burners are studied intensively at ECN, both experimentally and computationally. The aim is to realise energy savings and to reduce NOx emissions. A one-dimensional mathematical model has been developed that incorporates a one-step chemical reaction, heat transfer between gas and ceramic, radiation from the burner surface to the surroundings, and radiative heat transfer within the ceramic foam. The CSE has been used to steer those simulations.


  • Ceramic foams have so far been produced in a variety of materials with various cell sizes, densities and degree of interconnectivity. Foams are usually produced with densities between 10 and 40% of theoretical and pore sizes between 100 m and 1 mm. The majority of the development work was carried out on a fine grained α‑alumina, before moving on to alternative materials.
  • The Exhaust Systema of Military jet engines must be constructed using radar absorbing ceramic materials that can withstand harsh thermal, chemical and mechanical environments. Currently, these exhaust system structures combine relativelt dense ceramic matrix composites and a lightweight, non- structural porous ceramic in a prprietary configuration that is heavy and that provides inadequate control over both radar and infrared signatures.

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