Metal foam has potential for use in both the automotive and medical industry, and its properties are also the subject of research at the Faculty of Engineering.
At the University of Debrecen’s Faculty of Engineering, aluminum is melted to 700 degrees in a special oven and becomes foam with the help of gas-forming additives. The resulting metal foam floats on the water surface thanks to its low density, and yet has excellent mechanical and physical properties.
- Three years ago the Department of Mechanical Engineering at the Faculty of Engineering at the University of Debrecen launched an intensive research programme related to metal foam, which has two directions: one is production, for which we have advanced technology available, the other is geometric modeling. Using various imaging techniques we map the internal structure of the metal foam according to the exact geometric model we wish to build, with the result that we can design the products made from it more safely. For illustrative and educational purposes, idealized models are manufactured using a 3D printer. Although several places in the country produce metal foam, geometric modeling and final element simulation are only carried out in Debrecen – noted Tamás Mankovits, the deputy departmental head of the Mechanical Engineering Department at the DE Engineering Faculty.
The metal foams have excellent energy absorbing capacity, and so they can be effectively integrated into vehicle bodywork. The alternative drive cars built by the engineering students at Debrecen – which compete successfully every year in Hungarian competitions - will soon benefit from impact elements produced from the metal foam produced by the Faculty of Engineering, thus improving their safety levels.t.
At the University of Debrecen, in addition to its use for vehicles, biocompatible metal foam is also planned, to assist in developing medical applications; it has, for example, the great advantage that its strength can be adjusted to the bone, and its structure, which is very similar to the trabecular bone, can provide ideal conditions for bone growth.
Last year at the University of Debrecen’s Faculty of Engineering, the Material and Mechanical Engineering Technology (MAMEET) research group was formed, made up of young researchers and engineering students from the faculty who are pioneers in Hungarian metal foam research. The high level of research activity is guaranteed by the modern equipment of the Materials Technology Laboratory. Many of the teaching staff have won scholarships on the National Excellence Research Fellowship Program, and one student received an award for outstanding work from the National Talent Programme.