Metal foam could have changed Haiti earthquake

Spongy metal foam has countless uses, including building material

This is spongy metal foam. If Haitian buildings had this in their foundations, thousands more people could perhaps have been saved. (Photo:

The tragedy of the Haiti earthquake hasn’t been lost on people worldwide. The poor infrastructure of the country included substandard building materials that were not earthquake safe, which resulted in the collapse of countless buildings in and around Port-Au-Prince and many more deaths. The payday loans family at Personal Money Store wonders whether something like metal foam could have made a difference and saved lives. Of course money would have been involved, which Haiti does not have in surplus, monetary contributions aside.

Spongy metal foam?

Yes – and recent advancements in science have produced the strongest metal foam to date. It can absorb large impacts without damage by compressing itself as much as 80 percent while still maintaining its original shape. North Carolina State University’s Dr. Afsaneh Rabiei hinted to media that not only could this spongy metal foam eventually be used to help avert disasters like the collapse of homes in the Haiti earthquake, but there are cornucopias of other applications.  Think the sudden acceleration accidents that may have led to the Toyota recall were bad? With metal foam in bumpers and car body construction, injuries could potentially have been lessened or reduced.

How can metal form a sponge?

Basically, it’s a cellular structure with lots of empty space contained. According to Inventables, Dr. Rabiei has made the pockets more uniform than previous metal foams, which makes it both stronger and more elastic (compressible). Rabiei says that her metal foam “has a much higher strength-to-density ratio than any metal foam that has ever been reported.”

A practical example

Installing metal foam in the foundations of buildings in third-world economic level countries would be ideal, but complications would no doubt arise. Thus, obtaining data of how such buildings would stand up to earthquakes is difficult. But Dr. Rabiei theorizes that if her metal foam were used in the bumpers of colliding vehicles, impact at 28 mph would be perceived by the drivers in much the same was as a collision at a mere five miles per hour.

But let’s not stop at building materials and car bumpers

Rabiei’s metal foam could, she suggests, be used in such products as body armor and artificial limbs. As I’ve said, the applications appear almost endless. If toppled buildings during the Haiti earthquake or deaths from car accidents can be averted, then metal foam would prove its worth to the world. Your payday loans source is excited about this spongy metal future.

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