MICROSCOPY Vol.45▶No.1 2010
â– Feature Articles: Research Articles by Selected Young Microscopists from East Asia

The Fabrication of Porous Porcelain Using Commercially Available Polymeric Sponge Template as Core Materials for Sandwich Structures Fabrication

Mohd Al Amin Muhamad Nor1, Hazizan Md. Akil2 and Zainal Arifin Ahmad2

1Department of Chemical Sciences, Faculty of Science and Technology, Universiti Malaysia Terengganu
2School of Materials and Mineral Resources Engineering, Engineering Campus, Universiti Sains Malaysia

Abstract: The important of ceramic foam in technological applications initiate the R & D in producing controllable properties of ceramic foam to meet the requirement for emerging applications in environmental and engineering such as catalytic converter, diesel particulate filters, porous biomaterials, solid oxide fuel cell and lightweight core materials for sandwich structures. In this study, ceramic foam with controllable properties has been produced using commercially available polymeric sponges as template materials. SEM observation revealed the microstructure of ceramic foam produced is the replication of template materials and also confirmed the effect of the various solid loadings and template density to the microstructure of porous porcelain. The amount of pores and pore sizes are decreased, the thickness cell wall or struts was increased as solid loading increased. These changes can also be determined by the amount of porosity and density through Archimedes technique. The porosity decreased from 82 to 12% and density increased from 0.40 to 1.99g/cm3 with the ceramic solid loading increased from 20 to 45%. Further evidence can be observed as the flexural strength increases from 0.59 to 14.20 MPa. Ceramic foam with controllable properties was successfully produced using this simple and relatively cheaper fabrication method. The low density of porous porcelain makes it suitable as alternative core materials for sandwich structures construction.

Key words: Porous porcelain, Microstructure, Polymeric foam replication, Solid loading, Polymeric foam template, Sandwich structures fabrication