Internal structure of metal foams is one of the most important factors that determine its mechanical properties. There exists a number of methods for studying the nature of the inner porous structure. Unfortunately most of these processes is destructive and therefore it is not possible to reuse the sample. From this point of view, as a suitable method seems to be the ability of using the so-called X-ray microtomography (also micro-CT). This is a non-destructive methodology used in a number of fields (industry, science, archaeology, medicine) for a description of the material distribution in the space (e.g. pores, fillers, defects, etc.). In principle, this technology works on different absorption of X-ray radiation by materials with changing proton number. The contribution was worked out in collaboration with experts from the Faculty of Electrical Engineering and Computer Science of the VŠB-Technical University of Ostrava and it is focused on the analysis of internal structure of the metal foam casting with irregular arrangement of internal pores by using micro-CT. The obtained data were evaluated in the commercial software VGStudio MAX 2.2 and in the FOTOMNG system. For the evaluation of these data a new specialized module was introduced in this system. Several methods of pre-processing the image was prepared for the measurement. This preliminary processing consists, for example, from a binary image thresholding for better diversity between the internal porosity and the material itself or functions for colour inversion.
The last decade has seen growing interest in professional public about applications of porous metallic materials. Porous metals represent a new type of materials with low densities, large specific surface, and novel physical and mechanical properties, characterized by low density and large specific surface. They are very suitable for specific applications due to good combination of physical and mechanical properties such as high specific strength and high energy absorption capability. Since the discovery of metal foams have been developed many methods and techniques of production in liquid, solid and gas phases. Condition for the use of metal foams - advanced materials with unique usability features, are inexpensive ways to manage their production. Mastering of production of metallic foams with defined structure and properties using gravity casting into sand or metallic foundry moulds will contribute to an expansion of the assortment produced in foundries by completely new type of material, which has unique service properties thanks to its structure, and which fulfils the current demanding ecological requirements. The aim of research conducted at the department of metallurgy and foundry of VSB-Technical University Ostrava is to verify the possibilities of production of metallic foams by conventional foundry processes, to study the process conditions and physical and mechanical properties of metal foam produced. Two procedures are used to create porous metal structures: Infiltration of liquid metal into the mold cavity filled with precursors or preforms and two stage investment casting.
Owing to its properties, metallic foams can be used as insulation material. Thermal properties of cast metal-ceramic composite foams have applications in transport vehicles and can act as fire resistant and acoustic insulators of bulkheads. This paper presents basic thermal properties of cast and foamed aluminum, the values of thermal conductivity coefficient of selected gases used in foaming composites and thermal capabilities of composite foams (AlSi11/SiC). A certificate of non-combustibility test of cast aluminum-ceramic foam for marine applications was included inside the paper. The composite foam was prepared by the gas injection method, consisting in direct injection of gas into liquid metal. Foams with closed and open cells were examined. The foams were foaming with foaming gas consisting of nitrogen or air. This work is one of elements of researches connected with description of properties of composite foams. In author's other works acoustic properties of these materials will be presented.