Recently, a new class of ceramic foams with porosity levels up to 90% has been developed as a result of the association of the gelcasting process and aeration of the ceramic suspension. This paper presents and discusses original results advertising sound absorbing capabilities of such foams. The authors man- ufactured three types of alumina foams in order to investigate three porosity levels, namely: 72, 88, and 90%. The microstructure of foams was examined and typical dimensions and average sizes of cells (pores) and cell-linking windows were found for each porosity case. Then, the acoustic absorption coefficient was measured in a wide frequency range for several samples of various thickness cut out from the foams. The results were discussed and compared with the acoustic absorption of typical polyurethane foams proving that the alumina foams with high porosity of 88-90% have excellent sound absorbing properties competitive with the quality of sound absorbing PU foams of higher porosity.
Characterization of sound absorbing materials is essential to predict its acoustic behaviour. The most commonly used models to do so consider the flow resistivity, porosity, and average fibre diameter as parameters to determine the acoustic impedance and sound absorbing coefficient. Besides direct experimental techniques, numerical approaches appear to be an alternative to estimate the material's parameters. In this work an inverse numerical method to obtain some parameters of a fibrous material is presented. Using measurements of the normal incidence sound absorption coefficient and then using the model proposed by Voronina, subsequent application of basic minimization techniques allows one to obtain the porosity, average fibre diameter and density of a sound absorbing material. The numerical results agree fairly well with the experimental data.
Development of open cellular metal foam technology based on investment casting applying the polyurethane pattern is discussed. Technological process comprises preparing of the ceramic mold applying PUR foam as the pattern, firing of the mold, pouring of the liquid Zn-Al alloy into the mold and washing out of the ceramic material from cellular casting. Critical parameters such as the temperature of mold and poured metal, design of gating system affected by metalostatic pressure allowed to produce castings with cellular structure characterized by the open porosity. Metal cellular foams with the open porosity embedded in phase change material (PCM) enhance heat transfer and reduce time operations in energy storage systems. Charging and discharging were performed at the laboratory accumulator by heating and cooling with flowing water characterized by the temperatures of 97-100oC. Temperature measurements were collected from 7 different thermocouples located in the accumulator. In relation to the tests with pure paraffin, embedding of the metal Zn-Al cellular foam in paraffin significantly decreases temperature gradients and melting time of paraffin applied as PCM characterized by the low thermal conductivity. Similarly, reduction of discharging time by this method improves the efficiency of thermal energy storage system applied in solar power plants or for the systems of energy efficient buildings.