More Products and Applications
Hundreds of specialized applications have been developed to take advantage of the unique characteristics of porous materials, many of which are listed below. Applications such as filtration, flow control, flame arrestors and self lubricating bearings are some of the largest commercial applications. Overall, porous sintered metal technology offers a cost effective solution to diverse engineering challenges in the industrial marketplace.
Surface Area Devices
A few applications of porous sintered materials, such as batteries, fuel cells, electrodes and biomedical implants, use the extremely high internal surface area and porosity available. For example, by coating a highly porous sintered metal tube with a special catalyst, the electrode reactivity in a fuel cells can be significantly increased.
Reservoirs and Capillary Attraction
Reservoirs and capillary attraction devices are other major application areas. Porous bronze materials are commonly used as self lubricating bearings that store lubricants in the pores and then release the fluid to protect the surface from wear. Other examples, such as thermal management devices that control the removal of heat from microelectronics and for cooling devices used in satellites, are emerging applications. Die wall lubricators, liquid evaporation wicks, applicators and printer ink reservoirs also use the open porosity to store another material.
Fluidizers, Air Bars and Vacuum Chucks
Fluidizer Plates are used to obtain uniform thermal profiles in heat treatment furnaces and in powder hoppers for transporting materials that do not flow well without assistance. Air floatation bars use a boundary layer of air for non contact turning of thin films, tapes or webs. A layer of air can be formed on the outside diameter of a fine porosity tube when the inside cavity is pressurized, similar to an “air hockey” table. Vacuum chucks and hold down plates are used for material transport and handling of delicate materials.
Fluid Power Protection
Protection of Pneumatic Equipment, Hydraulic Valves, Pressure Regulators are critical to the handling of gases and liquids with solid particles that could block small passageways.