It looks like metal, but it's incredibly light weight. When holding a piece of large-cell piece material, it doesn't seem possible that it's so light and airy. Though it is a metal, it becomes a rougher, more honest alternative - a shinier and more haphazard perforated corten steel. A metal matrix of a material that can be used as a statement piece to transcend rather than conform more traditional façade designs.
We like the idea of creating an open-celled birds nest façade, or adding dimension to works like Antony Gormley's Quantum Clouds. Even combining texture and light with movement, like in a waterfall feature in a garden or public space.
Aluminium Foam starts out as blocks of an aluminium alloy with fine ceramic particles that are melted down and fed through a special channel. This foaming channel creates bubbles in the molten aluminium by injecting gas at different speeds and pressures. As the foam reacts with the surface it creates the structure of the material before it's solidified and cast into sheets of varying densities and shapes.
Depending on how much gas is injected and how quickly the foam is created determines the material's cell size, structure and texture. Panels can be made with an open or closed structure in small or large cell sizes - a smaller cell size creates a heavier and more robust material.
The low density aerated foam has excellent sound absorption and insulation because of its structure, and is used in packaging, automotive, industrial and defence industries because of its ability to absorb mechanical energy. In blasts and explosions, each bubble collapses in a non-directional sequence, removing energy and absorbing impact regardless of the direction of impact.
In architecture and design, it is often used for interior and exterior design panels, furniture, wall panels, ceilings and cladding, and regardless of the application, at the end of its use it can be recycled. The open cell material can also be backlit, coated or laminated as a sandwich panel or composite, and we would really love to see the inclusion of colour to push it to the next level.