Highly Damping Lightweight Construction Materials

Combination: lightweight and damping

© Fraunhofer IFAM Dresden
Damping of self-oscillation in comparison to reference material

Lightweight construction and damping are regarded as contrary demands. The highly damping lightweight construction materials which are developed at the Dresden Branch of the Fraunhofer Institute for Manufacturing Technology and Advanced Materials (IFAM) meet with both.
The multifunctional material can be lighter than magnesium and dampens about 120 times more than cast iron. This is only obtained today with polymer materials and only at room temperature. Using the highly damping lightweight construction materials, the response acceleration and the stiffness of construction components can be systematically controlled.

The reason of high damping

© Fraunhofer IFAM Dresden
Schematic illustration of vibration-reducing highly damping lightweight construction materials

The highly damping lightweight construction materials are made of a multitude of hollow spheres. In each hollow sphere there are particles which can freely move in the spheres. If a construction component made from the highly damping lightweight construction material starts to vibrate, the particles inside the spheres start to move and store the vibration energy in their movement. On the outside, the construction component calms down, while the particles dissipate the energy by impacts and friction.
This damping principle is widely independent from the environment temperature. A purposeful choice of the hollow spheres' material allows for an adaption to the demanded temperature. These are possible materials:

  • Steel – high mechanical strength and good processibility
  • Ni base alloys and Fe-Cr-materials – mechanical stress at high temperatures
  • Titanium – low density, high corrosion and mechanical strength
  • W, Mo – lightweight design for high temperature and insulation