The first international conference on Syntactic and Composite Foams was held in Banff, Canada in August of 2004 and was quite successful. Manufacturers of syntactic foam components had the opportunity to interact with applications specialists and academicians and numerous connections and collaborative efforts have ensued. The peer-reviewed papers presented at the conference were published in a special issue of the Journal of Materials Science. The second conference in this series was held in Davos, Switzerland in 2007. That was also a very successful meeting and the papers presented at the conference were again published in Journal of Materials Science. The third conference, SCF III, was held in Italy in 2011 and again attracted an international audience, with 12 countries represented, and provided a continued forum for discussions in this rapidly growing field of syntactic foams and composite foams.
This conference will provide a continued forum for discussions in this rapidly growing field of syntactic foams and composite foams. Syntactic foams and rigid polymer, metal, and ceramic foams containing a reinforcing and/or functional phase are the intended focus of this conference. These foams are typically used in applications that take advantage of their low density, very high specific properties, tailored pore structure, enhanced energy absorption characteristics, and flame retardant properties. The scope of the conference will include the production and characterization of reinforcing and functional materials specifically used for these foams (i.e. hollow spheres, micro/nanoparticles, particles with specific electric, magnetic, dielectric, biological characteristics, etc.). Fabrication, characterization, modeling, and applications of the foams will be addressed, as well.
Work in syntactic foams has expanded over the past three decades from its inception with two-phase polymer matrix foams based upon hollow glass or polymer spheres for applications in the marine and submarine industry. Today, the field has expanded to include polymer, metal and ceramic hollow spheres and matrices. In addition, with fibers, nanoparticles and interstitial voids engineered into these materials, three and four-phase materials are now possible. Composite foams have grown out of conventional blown polymer foams to now include the addition of diverse functional elements, resulting in complex microstructures that can be engineered to meet specific applications. Also, blown polymer foams are now used as precursor structures for metal and ceramic composite foams and advances in production techniques for the various component materials have resulted in advances in the mechanical, acoustic and thermal properties of these foams that have dramatically broadened their applications
Thus by incorporating hollow and solid particles, nanoparticles, fibers, and specialized foaming agents, coupled with novel processing techniques, foams with unique and tailored properties can be attained. Because of such innovations, the role of syntactic and composite foams has expanded into the aerospace, automotive, communications, biomedical, electronics, sporting, and transportation industries.