New hybrid foam HoMe combines the properties of wood and metal

In 2014, a new material was created at the Fraunhofer Institute for Wood Research (Germany) under the code name "wood foam". The practical benefit of it came down to the ability to recycle wood waste in a new way instead of simple disposal. And to get a convenient material for insulation during construction, but during this time the authors of the technology went further and added metal to the wood foam.

The foam itself was created quite simply - the wood was crushed and ground to a state of mass with many fractions. All that remained was to saturate it with gas under pressure, and then let it dry to create a foam. Now the researchers have replaced the gas with metal - they cast a "sponge" with many cells, into which they poured wood "jelly".

After drying, it turned out to be a hybrid "HoMe", an acronym for the German expression "wood metal". A very lightweight, but at the same time durable composite, which in its mass consists of wood and therefore has its thermal insulation properties. But the metal lattice goes through the entire thickness of the material, so it is an electrical conductor. HoMe plates can be bent with a certain effort, they do not break, but at the same time it is easy to saw off a fragment of the desired size from them.

Yes, such a material is not resistant to the external environment, so its use is seen as insulation or for creating decorative elements. HoMe transmits sounds rather poorly, which makes it possible to use it as acoustic protection, for example, in transport. There is no information on the cost of the composite yet.