Lost-salt casting. Whee!

Metal Foam Has a Good Memory – US National Science Foundation (NSF):

A new class of materials known as “magnetic shape-memory foams” has been developed by two research teams headed by Peter Müllner at Boise State University and David Dunand at Northwestern University, both funded by the National Science Foundation (NSF).

The researchers created the new material by pouring molten alloy into a piece of porous sodium aluminate salt. Once the material cooled, they leached out the salt with acid, leaving behind large voids.

The voids let you get good shape-changing (10% diff in dimensions so far) essentially by getting rid of a lot of solid material that would both have the wrong orientation and get in the way. This could be pretty cool, and the fabrication method seems applicable to a lot of other things that need to be foams.


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