Electrical properties of metal foams

The electrical conductivity of a metal foam is less than that of the metal from which it is made for the obvious reason that the cell interiors, if gas-filled, are non-conducting. One might guess that the conductivity should vary linearly with the relative density, but the real dependence is stronger than linear, for reasons explained below. Though reduced, the conductivity of metal foams is more than adequate to provide good electrical grounding and shielding of electromagnetic radiation.

The large, accessible surface area of open cell metal foams makes them attractive as electrodes for batteries (see Case Study 17.6). Nickel foams are extensively used in this application.

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