Aluminum foam is the most common form of metal foam, which refers to a cellular structure of solid aluminum and a high volume of pores filled with gas. The gas-filled pores offer high porosity to the materials and distinguish aluminum foam from aluminum in metal form.
In aluminum foam, usually, 5-25% of the volume is metal, while the remaining volume is occupied by pores. Owing to its high porosity and strong physical properties, aluminum foam finds significant adoption across mechanical, architectural, and automotive applications.
The material has superior physical properties such as robustness, resistance to fire, less magnetic permeability, and less thermal conduction, among others, which make it ideal for usage in applications that need materials with resistance to harsh physical conditions. On these lines, automobile production is a key end-use for aluminum foam.
Aluminum foams have an edge over polymer foams in terms of strength and energy absorbance, thereby driving demand in the automotive industry. Moreover, increasing stringency of guidelines against plastic polymers is asserting to end-users to seek sustainable alternatives and aluminum foam has emerged as an ideal solution.
Increasing demand for lightweight materials for the production of automobiles will remain a key growth attribute to the aluminum foam market. Moreover, the sustainability and recyclable nature of aluminum foam will continue to propel the demand for the material through the assessment period.
Superior Physical Characteristics
Backed by the uniform surface area between pores and metal, aluminum foam possesses unique mechanical characteristics including high durability, high strength to weight ratio, large surface area to volume ratio, and lightweight. Likewise, they have excellent energy absorbance and acoustic isolation properties.
These properties make aluminum foam a lucrative engineering material and it is suitable for usage in compression beams in crash structure or isolation component in the suspension. Moreover, when subjected to extreme strain and bending, aluminum foam can withstand the pressure owing to the volume ratio of gas.
Aluminum foam has become a vital part of automobile manufacturing. For instance, Audi's A8 model uses aluminum foam in its bumper and profile skeleton. Also, in order to make it safe for anti-collision, the bottom beam, the front longitudinal beam, and the rear longitudinal beam of the vehicle are manufactured using aluminum foam.
Furthermore, aluminum foam has high stiffness, high crush energy, shock wave attenuation, vibration damping, and thermal and sound insulation which make it perfect for automotive applications owing to the continual mechanical motion and harsh physical conditions they operate in.
In addition to all these advantages, aluminum foam is a lightweight material that aids in reducing the overall weight of the vehicle. The lightweight of the material coupled with high stiffness improves safety and reduces the impact of collision in case of an accident.
Sustainability and Recyclability Aid Manufacturers
Being a derivative of aluminum alloy, the aluminum foam has a high recyclable capability and their recycling results in minimal environmental impact. As compared to the primary aluminum obtaining process, recycling aluminum aids in saving electrical energy as well.
The recycling process - which itself metamorphosed into a lucrative industry amidst rising environmental concerns - is a major revenue opportunity for the aluminum foam industry. For instance, over 5 Mn tons of Aluminum is recycled annually in the US and Canada.
Moreover, recycling aluminum is considered 92% more energy-efficient as compared to the production of aluminum as the numerous phases in production such as procurement, electrolysis, and refinement of aluminum oxide are eliminated. On this premise, players in the aluminum foam market are opting for the recycling process instead of production.
Since aluminum foams are produced entirely from scrap and recycled materials, they are free of foam-stabilizing additives, which also makes them affordable and environment-friendly. By the same token, aluminum foam finds adoption in the construction sector, where it is used in both exterior and interior applications.
Besides, aluminum foam is used in facades, wall cladding, ceiling tiles or dropped ceilings, showroom displays, terrazzo flooring, signage, lighting fixtures, and exhibits owing to its lightweight and high strength. On these lines, the demand for aluminum foam will prevail high in both the automotive and construction industries for the years to come.
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Complex and Cost-intensive Manufacturing
Owing to the complex and uniform structure of the aluminum foam, the production process is equally complicated. In order to achieve the structural, electrical, mechanical, and physical properties of aluminum foam, the manufacturing process requires advanced technological capability.
Although there are numerous production methods in place to generate foams with ideal topological structures, they are highly expensive, and a very limited number of producers use closed or open-cell foams.
As a result, small and medium scale manufacturers have to resort to other subpar production techniques which, in turn, result in the low-quality end product with an inconsistent density that affects the overall structural and mechanical properties. Besides, the high cost of production subsequently increases the purchase price, thus limiting wide-scale adoption.
Demand contraction due to the high cost and poor sub-standard quality are major challenges to market players, who are being forced to downsize their production. For instance, Mayser GmbH discontinued the production of open porous aluminum foam at the end of 2018, unable to cope up with the gap between the expenditure and profits generated.
East Asia Aluminum Foam Market
East Asia is projected to spearhead the regional landscape of the aluminum foam market, accounting for more than 1/3rd of market share. The region's dominance is attributed to the gargantuan volume of aluminum produced annually in China, which ensures abundant availability of raw material.
As per the estimates of the International Aluminum Institute, China produced more than 170,000 metric tonnes of aluminum between 2015 and 2020, making it one of the largest producers in the world. Moreover, the demand in the region is bolstered by the presence of the world's largest automobile producing industry in China.
In 2019, China produced more than 92 million automobiles, representing 28% of global care production. In August 2020 alone, the region produced around 425,000 commercial vehicles and 1.7 million passenger cars. These statistics indirectly represent the demand for aluminum foam, since it finds remarkable adoption in automobile production.
As automotive manufacturers focus on producing lightweight vehicles, the demand for aluminum foam is expected to persist high owing to its lightweight nature.
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Europe Aluminum Foam Market
Europe will remain the second most lucrative regional market for aluminum foam, capturing over 1/5th of global value. The demand for aluminum foam in the region is primarily driven by aircraft production in European nations.
France and Germany are among the largest aircraft producers in the world, with the aeronautical industry being the former's main export asset. Similarly, aircraft production has remained a crucial economic factor for Germany for several decades which ensures healthy revenue opportunities for to aluminum foam market.
Backed by its resistance to heat and fire, aluminum foam is used in the production of aircraft wings, blades, heat exchangers, and battery plates among other critical aircraft components. This will continue to drive the demand for aluminum foam in the region's aircraft industry.
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North America Aluminum Foam Market
North America, led by the US, is poised to remain a prominent regional market, accounting for nearly 1/5th of global market share. Akin to East Asia and Europe, the growth of the market is driven by the high demand for aluminum foam in the automotive and aircraft industries.
The US is the world’s largest aircraft producer and has an equally proliferating fleet of automobiles. In 2018, over 10.9 Mn motor vehicles, including passenger cars, light commercial vehicles, heavy trucks were produced in the US, opening a wide revenue opportunity to the aluminum foam market.
The region is also bolstered by the availability of raw materials, which reduces the import costs by a large margin.
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Open Cell Foam Remains Most Sought-out
By product type, open cell foam is expected to remain the most sought out product, accounting for more than 70% of market value. The high preference for open cell foam is attributed to higher strength and high crossflow ratio which facilitates adoption in strenuous applications
Application as Energy Absorber Drives Majority of Revenue
Based on application, aluminum foam is majorly used as energy absorber, heat exchanger, and damping structures which collectively account for 2/3rd of total market share, with the former being the most popular application, especially in automotive.
Automotive & Transportation Remain Largest End-use Industry
On the basis of end-use industry, automotive & transportation and building & construction industries are expected to remain the two largest end-use industries, with the former accounting for a share little below 2/5th of share. The high demand for aluminum foam in the automotive industry is attributed to the growing volume of production and subsequent demand for quality raw materials.
Aluminum Foam Market Competitive Landscape
Aluminum foam manufacturers are adopting organic growth strategies such as the expansion of geographical footprint and enhancement of production technologies to gain a competitive edge amid a cutthroat competitive landscape.
On these lines, Beihai Composite Materials Co., Ltd.designs aluminum foam for specific sound reduction applications and is majorly used in head mufflers, plenum chambers, laboratories, wards, and operating rooms, and air crafts.
Similarly, strategic partnerships have also been identified as a crucial growth strategy. On these lines, in December 2017, Cymat Technologie Ltd. formed a joint-venture with a Spain-based manufacturer, Alucoil SA to develop aluminum composite panels with metallurgically-bonded aluminum foam cores.
Aluminum Foam Market Report: Scope
Historical Data Available for
USD Million for value and tonnes for volume
Key Regions Covered
North America, Latin America, Europe, MEA, East Asia, South Asia, and Oceania
Key Countries Covered
US, Canada, Brazil, Mexico, Argentina, Rest of Latin America, Germany, Italy, France, U.K., Russia, Spain, BENELUX, Poland, Nordic, Rest of Europe, India, China, ASEAN, ANZ, Rest of APEJ, GCC Countries, Turkey, South Africa, Iran, Israel, and Rest of MEA
Key Segments Covered
Nature, Customer Orientation, Packaging, Sales Channel, and Region
Key Companies Profiled
Beihai Composite Materials Co., Ltd., Composite Materials Ltd., Cymat Technologies Ltd., American Elements Corporation, ERG Aerospace Corp., Hollomet GmbH, Pohltec Metalfoam GmbH, VIM Technology Ltd, Nanoshel LLC, Aluinvent Ltd., and Havel metal foam GmbH, among others.
Market Forecast, brand share analysis, competition intelligence, DROT analysis, Market Dynamics and Challenges, Strategic Growth Initiatives
Customization & Pricing
Key Questions Answered by the Report
- What is the aluminum foam market size?
The global aluminum foam market is expected to reach a valuation of US$ 35 Mn by 2030.
- Which is the largest regional market for aluminum foam?
East Asia is expected to maintain hegemony over the regional landscape through the course of the forecast period.
- Which are the aluminum foam manufacturers?
Key players operating in the market include Beihai Composite Materials Co. Ltd., Composite Materials Ltd., Cymat Technologies Ltd., American Elements Corporation, ERG Aerospace Corp., Hollomet GmbH, Pohltec Metalfoam GmbH, VIM Technology Ltd, Nanoshel LLC, Aluinvent Ltd., and Havel metal foam GmbH, among others.
- Where is aluminum foam used?
Aluminum foam is majorly used in automotive & transportation sector and building & construction industries.
- What is the future of the aluminum foam market?
Aluminum foam market is expected to grow at a healthy pace through 2030 owing to high demand in automotive and construction industries.
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- Open Cell Foam
- Closed Cell Foam
- Energy Absorber
- Heat Exchanger
- Damping Structures
- Automotive & Transportation
- Aerospace & Defense
- Building & Construction
- Other Industrial
- North America
- Latin America
- East Asia
- South Asia