Engineering Innovation Podcast and Radio Series

Metal Foam

PostedSeptember 11, 2016

Download File (mp3)

Anchor Lede: Engineers have created a lightweight metal material that can be used as protection from bullets, crashes, and more.

Randy Atkins: It’s tiny air pockets in plastic foam cups that protect you from hot coffee. So Afsaneh Rabiei, an engineer at NC State, is putting such cushions of air in a new metal foam.

Afsaneh Rabiei: We create those bubbles inside stainless steel using hollow spheres put inside a metallic matrix.

Randy Atkins: When impacted in a car crash or explosion the metal foam…

Afsaneh Rabiei: …can absorb the force that is applied upon it.

Randy Atkins: Even from a bullet. It could also protect against radiation and, yes, heat. The foam is about 70-percent lighter than solid steel so, in a car...

Afsaneh Rabiei: …that can translate into a lot of energy saving, fuel economy.