Cymat’s Stabilized Aluminum Foam Explores New Frontiers in Surface Applications

Regular readers will recall that every time I encounter an aluminum-based innovation, I can’t help but take recourse to the great moment in Star Trek IV when Dr. McCoy, trapped in the 20th. century and in need of some technical assistance, receives said help in exchange for the formula for “transparent aluminum.” As it so happens, we’re not in the 24th. century yet, so for the time being we’ll have to content ourselves with the only slightly less revolutionary “Aluminum Foam.”

Alusion Aluminum Foam Panels. Manufactured by Cymat.

Alusion’s Aluminum Foam Panels Propose Multiple Architectural Applications

Since the very name sounds counter-intuitive, Alusion provides a concise explanation of the material’s genesis and manufacture: essentially, the product is created by introducing a “liquid metal-matrix composite” (a blend of ceramic and aluminum alloy) into a “foaming box”—“Gas bubbles exiting immersed rotating impellers (a component of the air injection system) form the foam. The foam collects on the surface of the molten material, where it can be continuously drawn off to form a sheet.”

Alusion Aluminum Foam Panels. Manufactured by Cymat.

The sheets contain a closed “skin” surface that can be left on or removed depending upon the desired application. Likewise, the cell size depends on the rate of gas flow and impeller speed. The upshot is that Alusion comes in various incarnations—from small to large cells, from completely sealed sheets to sheets with open cells on both sides.

Alusion Aluminum Foam Panels. Manufactured by Cymat.

Among Alusion’s proposed and actual applications, manufacturer Cymat cites wall cladding, showroom displays, decorative features and partitions in restaurants and bars, ceiling tiles, flooring, signs, lighting, and fixtures. The possibilities, as they say, are well-nigh endless, especially given Alusion’s slick industrial aesthetic. The look is clean enough for contemporary schemes and just wondrously strange enough to satisfy less conventional proclivities.

Alusion Aluminum Foam Panels. Manufactured by Cymat.

The question of large/small and open/closed cells fulfills a functional exigency too, as different cell structures exhibit varied acoustical properties.

The compelling aesthetic offered by Alusion is on public display in many high-profile projects across North America and Europe, including the Vancouver Convention Center and Crumbs Café in Cyprus.

About the Manufacturer: Alusion is the architecture and design arm of manufacturer Cymat, originators of the exciting material innovation they call “Stabilized Aluminum Foam” (SAF). Made by introducing compressed gases into a liquid alloy of metal and ceramic, aluminum foam combines the lightweight and malleable character of foam with the insulative, acoustical, and aesthetic properties of aluminum: “a revolutionary material with a wide array of features including very low density, mechanical energy absorption, thermal and acoustic insulation.” Alusion contains a high quantity of post-consumer recycled, thus offering reduced production costs.

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