Monday, February 1, 2010

Ultra-high-strength composite metal foam

Afsaneh Rabiei
The ultra-high-strength composite metal foam created by Afsaneh Rabiei is a highlight of a well-traveled career during which the researcher has tried to learn everything she can about advanced materials. The result: a brand new material that can save energy and lives.

“Basically, it is a new material for all sorts of safety devices,” said Rabiei, associate professor of mechanical and aerospace engineering at North Carolina State University.

Rabiei’s invention isn’t the first metal foam, but she says it’s the strongest. The main weakness of existing metal foams is the varying sizes of their cells — tiny pockets of space inside the material. Instead, Rabiei used cells of standard sizes and combined them with a metallic matrix to support the cell walls.

After five years of work —with a group of her students — she has the results. Rough traffic accident calculations show that by inserting two pieces of her composite metal foam behind the bumper of a car traveling 28 mph, the impact would feel the same to passengers as impact traveling at only 5 mph.

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Via: Live Science

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