Ceramic foam is a type of foam made from ceramics. Ceramic foams are porous brittle materials with closed, fully open, or partially interconnected porosity. Ceramic foams consist of a wide range of ceramic materials, both oxide and nonoxide. Ceramic foams are used in hot gas filters, interpenetrating composites, and biomedical applications as well as in thermal insulation, kiln furniture, and catalysts. The formation of ceramic foam requires open cell polymer foam which is impregnated with ceramic slurry and then fired in an oven, which leaves only the ceramic material forming the final product. Protein such as ovalbumin has been used for the foaming and setting of aqueous ceramic powder suspensions for the preparation of porous ceramics. Overall porosity and foam microstructure can be controlled through ceramic solid loading, ovalbumin amount, foaming time, and sintering temperature. Ceramic foam is tough and can be used in high temperature. Some of the common ceramic foams used in industries are aluminum oxide, zirconium oxide, and silicon carbide. Traditionally, ceramic has been used for manufacturing of crockery items. However, technological developments over the past few years in this field have led to its application in other industries as well. Ceramic foam offers high temperature and heat resistance and is used as a good insulator in several applications. It is used in thermal and acoustic insulation.
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A wide range of ceramic materials has been produced as foams using the new process. In general, foams in the range 5% to 40% of theoretical density can be produced. Ceramic foams have so far been produced in a variety of materials with various cell sizes, densities, and degree of interconnectivity. Foams are usually produced with the theoretical density between 10% and 40% and the pore sizes between 100 µm and 1 mm. In ceramic foams, the pore walls and struts are solid and fully dense and this provides high strength and chemical resistance. Ceramic foams have low density, high-strength, and excellent thermal shock resistance, thereby playing an important role in high temperature insulating. Being ceramic fiber-free, ceramic foam insulation product is a great substitute to aluminosilicate, mullite, and alumina ceramic fiber. Ceramic foam finds its application in various fields such as energy storage devices, heat sinks and heat exchangers, insulation, furnace fixturing and tooling, molten metal filtration, noise reduction, lightweight mirrors, fuel vaporizers/injectors, hot gas filters, thermal protection systems, catalyst supports, lightweight armor, and rocket engines.
The ceramic foam market can be segmented on the basis of application and region. Based on application, ceramic foam has primarily been used for the insulation fields. The insulation properties of ceramic foam have been mostly used for building and the construction purposes. This is considered to be the prime driver of the ceramic foam market. With the usage of ceramic foam in insulation purposes, heat can be conserved, which in turn, can save energy. Furthermore, usage of ceramic foam in controlling pollution has fueled the demand for ceramic foams. However, the cost of production of ceramic foam is high due to high price of raw materials and production technique which is anticipated to hinder the growth of the market during the forecast period.
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Advancements in the production technique to develop enhanced quality ceramic foams are expected to provide growth opportunities for the ceramic foam market.
On the basis of region, the ceramic foam market can be divided into North America, Europe, Asia Pacific, Middle East & Africa, and Latin America. Europe is the dominant region of the ceramic foam market, followed by North America due to the high usage of insulation materials which is expected to fuel the ceramic foam market. In Asia Pacific, the emerging economies such as India, Singapore, and the ASEAN countries are also witnessing the growth of the ceramic foam market.
Key manufacturers operating in the ceramic foams market are Ultramet, Saint-Gobain High-Performance Refractories, and American Elements.
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