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Carbon foams

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Carbon foams are primarily manufactured today from polymer foams through carbonation and further processing steps. The density and structure of the original product and, consequently, the carbon foam can be precisely configured using recipes and foam conditions. Low thermal conductivity, good mechanical stability and a more enclosed porous structure when compared with carbon fibre felts have predestined the material for use as an alternative material for high temperature insulation. The most important areas of application are in the semiconductor industry and furnace construction. The foams can be processed with saws or by turning or milling, facilitating their adaptation to every application. Water jet cutting is also a suitable method for cutting parts out of plate-shaped blanks. Individual parts can be joined with plug-in or adhesive connections to form larger insulation components.

Carbon foams typically have a density of between 0.04 – 0.55 g/cm³. Resistance to bending and pressure rises as the density increases. Independent of the above, the thermal coefficient of expansion of foams in the temperature range up to 600 °C is approx. 2.0•10-6K-1. The common structural element of all foams are principally spherical pores with a diameter in the range of 50 – 300 μm which are in part connected to each other by smaller elongated porous cavities. The mean pore size reduces with increasing foam density, while the wall thickness between pores increases. Coating with pyrocarbon/pyrographite or silicon carbide through vapour phase separation can be realised for applications in oxidative and corrosive atmospheres.

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