The novel properties of cellular materials allow for their consideration for a wide range of structural, thermal and acoustical applications. With recent advances in fabrication technology, open cell foams can be fabricated from a wide range of materials including iron-based super alloys. The high stiffness and melting temperatures of this class of material offer an improvement over polymer foams in applications where structural strength and higher temperatures are required. These include noise absorption applications such as road tunnels, automobile bulkheads, and combustion liners for controlling instabilities.
This research is concerned with characterising the mechanical and acoustic properties of an open cell metal foam fabricated via the metal sintering route. This method offers a cost-effective way for mass production compared to the more costly techniques of chemical vapour deposition (CVD) or investment casting. While the sintering method offers a means of mass-producing open cell foams, the foams produced via this method are characterised by a unique microstructure consisting of the occurrence of defects throughout the material. FEM modelling has been used to predict the effects of the range of defects on the mechanical strength and stiffness of the material. Analytical models have also been developed to predict the static flow resistance and the acoustic absorption of the foams.