Polyimide Foam

I haven’t written hardly all summer, so I thought I would give a quick update on my summer project and what is going on.

So NASA Langely Developed a polyimide foam for use as insulation in naval ships.  It was found that this foam was also a very good sound absober.  It is 95% open cell, but still has a large amount of cellular wall material, or membrain.  The way the foam absorbs sound is by deflecting the sound wave and then by thermal absorption of the energy in the sound wave.

We have been working on a post production process to make the foam more sound absorbent because although it is sound absorbent and cost effective to manufacture it is not as sound absorbent as the engineered fiberglass that is currently used as sound insulation on airplanes, which is where the foam would be used as a sound absorber.

The research over the summer seems to conclude that we have found a repeatable way of making the foam more absorbent then current fiberglass on the market, but more confirmations still need to be done.  You can look forward to a technical paper on my research within the next couple months.  And then a research paper, hopefully this year. (I don’t have as much influence with that, when anything “officially” comes out of NASA it takes forever.

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bigger picture

This is the a microscopic image of the foam partially processed, taken with an HRSEM – “high resolution scanning electron microscope”

skip to 2:06 to see Miguel hold a torch to the foam.