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Developer and manufacturer of open-cell hybrid metal foams is looking for use cases and industry partners to refine the technology

A German SME specialized in the production of metal foams has developed a method to produce open-cell hybrid metal foams at competitive prices. These foams have improved structural and functional characteristics: lightweight, energy absorbing, filtering, damping, shielding and more. They are interesting to numerous application fields, e.g. automotive, aerospace, defense or architecture. Partners to enter markets based on manufacturing, technical cooperation or financial agreements are sought.

Partnership(s) sought
  • Financial agreement Manufacturing agreement Technical cooperation agreement Joint venture agreement
Descripción completa

In cooperation with a German university, this German SME has invented a method to produce cost-efficient multifunctional open-cell hybrid metal foams.

There are closed-cell and open-cell metal foams on the market. In direct comparison open-cell metal foams, the field of expertise of this company, provide a number of advantages and application fields.
Metal foams find their usage in structural as well as in functional applications. The structural application makes use of the excellent lightweight characteristics (e.g. in the automotive or aerospace industry) and the specific mechanical characteristics of the foams (e.g. within crash absorbers, armored vehicles, personal protection). The functional applications are based on specific functionalities like the combination of a large inner surface with a very good heat conductivity (heat exchanger) resp. electric conductivity (battery electrode). Open-cell foams allow for perfusion of gasses and liquids and thereby open up further fields of applications like filters or catalysts. And these open-cell foams have very good soundproofing and vibration dampening characteristics and can be used for acoustic ceilings or because of its metal coating for flame protection. Furthermore, open-cell metal foams can be filled with other materials creating new innovative composite materials. The futuristic look of the metal foams can be used in architecture or for design elements. Through these combined characteristics within one material, these open-cell hybrid foams offer multifunctionality for their users.

The technology developed by this company is based on a galvanic coating where the metal coat, e.g. nickel or copper, is applied onto a polyurethane (PU) foam and thereby becomes a hybrid metal foam. If needed the PU can be cauterized afterwards. This production process has reduced the production costs so significantly that they are in the same range as the production of closed-cell metal foams and therefore are lower costs for the end user.

As the company wants to start with mass production of its foams they are now looking for the right partners to do so. With these partners, the focus would be set to appropriate application fields as use cases. Cooperation under financial, manufacturing or technical cooperation agreements mark good starting points and joint ventures are also possible.

Socio buscado:

- Specific area of activity of the partner: Industries and companies needing materials that require any of the above-mentioned characteristics and specifications of the open-cell hybrid metal foams. They can be from the automotive industry, aerospace industry, defence, construction and design sectors or others.
A cooperation would start off as a use case to experience the benefits of these hybrid foams. They can be users of the foams, but also partners to advance this technology or even start their own business as joint ventures using and distributing these foams.
Investors for a financial agreement to help to scale up the production and the company are also sought.

Advantages & innovations:

These open-cell hybrid metal foams offer significantly more functionality and thereby a greater application potential than other metal foams, closed or open-cell. While closed-cell alloy foams are mainly used for lightweight construction, these open-cell hybrid foams offer additional functional characteristics that enable the users, to address a number of technical challenges at the same time. The production of galvanized polyurethane foams allows competitive prices. Its advantages are:
? Cheaper in comparison to other open-cell metal foams
? Different pore sizes available, e.g. for filters, catalyzers or heat exchangers
? Foam characteristics are easily customizable through pore size, material selection, coating thickness and microstructure of the coating
? Increased energy absorption, e.g. for armoured protection, explosion protection, crash-absorber
? Perfusion of gases and liquids possible
? High heat and electric conductivity
? Very good soundproofing
? Fillable with other materials, e.g. for the production of composite materials
? An exceptional foam sheet-thickness possible, up to 50 mm.
? Freedom of design through easy (pre) shaping of the polyurethane foam
? Homogeneous characteristics through a consistent uniform structure
? Fastening elements (e.g. screws, tubes) are easily fixed within the foam
? Improved repetition accuracy for large-scale production
? Polyurethane can be removed after production (cauterised)
? High-temperature resistance and chemical resilience
? Futuristic look to be used, e.g. for interior architecture, façade engineering, design, etc.

Development Stage:

Already on the market - The technology has been transferred from a lab to a small-scale production standard. The company is planning to enlarge and improve the production facilities in order to significantly cut the manufacturing costs and to increase the possible dimensions of the metal foam components.

IPR:

Patent(s) applied for but not yet granted,Granted patent or patent application essential - The EU patent has been granted. The US patent application is pending.

Clasificado como: Manufactura Industrial Tecnologías de Materiales Otras Tecnologías Industriales Industria

» Reference: TODE20180925001

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This project has received funding from the European Union Seventh Framework Programme (FP7/2007-2013) under grant agreement n° [609203].

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