SEPULVEDA and BINNER, 1999. Processing of cellular ceramics by foaming and in situ polymerisation of organic monomers. Journal of the European Ceramic Society, 19, pp 2059-2066
This paper describes studies on a new processing route for fabricating highly porous ceramics. The method is based on the generation of a foam from an aqueous suspension of ceramic powder and the subsequent stabilisation of the structure by in situ polymerisation of organic monomers. The influence of the slip viscosity on the foam volume and stability was determined using concentrated alumina suspensions containing dispersing agents and two commercial foaming agents. The in situ polymerisation of organic monomers led to fast solidification, resulting in strong, porous bodies which could withstand machining. The resulting ceramic foams consisted of a highly interconnected network of spherical cells with densities as low as 6% of theoretical. The distribution of cell size was dependent both on the density of the specimen produced and on the time for polymerisation onset. The size ranged from approximately 30 to 600 mm. Enlargement of cell size to achieve materials of higher permeability was possible through expansion of the foam via pressure reduction before polymerisation. The creation of highly densified struts between the cells led to flexural strengths as high as 26 MPa.