CMI extends advances made over the last 20 years in cellular materials
through Microtruss™, its periodic cellular material. In comparison
to monolithic metal forms, other periodic cellular materials like traditional
honeycombs and metallic foams, the main advantages of this new class of material
are that it is:
A Microtruss™ material is inherently capable of more than one function,
including structural strength, blast protection, ballistic protection, and heat
exchange. The results include a structurally strong, light-weight, heat exchanger
or armor that provides both blast and ballistic protection. CMI is also
investigating the co-optimization of such functions as shape morphing, catalytic
support, and power storage.
Microtruss™ structures have 2-3 times the compressive stiffness as solid
material at the same weight. In applications in which weight is critical, a reduction
in weight could be used to increase personnel protection levels, to carry larger payloads,
or to allow for additional storage. Microtruss'™ weight savings also make it
environmentally friendly by reducing fuel and energy expenditures, which enable greater speed.
CMI's manufacturing processes are designed around commercially available
manufacturing routes and materials to provide the most cost effective product
possible. Because Microtruss™ is both light-weight and multi-functional,
it also offers greater value than its competitors.
The flexibility of Microtruss™ in terms of core topology, alloy, cell size,
and relative density means that CMI's materials can be adapted to address a
number of application variables.
Microtruss'™ periodic, open-celled topologies optimize heat transfer by
enabling efficient fluid flow. They also facilitate the addition of materials needed for
specific applications, such as magnets to provide a magnetic field or ceramics for
increased ballistic resistance.
When titanium alloys or stainless steels are utilized, Microtruss™ can stand up
to environmental challenges from the intense corrosion of marine applications to the
high-heat conditions of space and re-entry vehicle applications.
Limitations of conventional materials include:
Microtruss™ is much lighter and less dense than monolithic forms, but
it is also 3-4 times as strong in blast protection at the same weight.
- Heavy weight, high density
Through its diverse core topologies and ability to multi-function,
Microtruss™ overcomes the limitations of traditional honeycombs and
greatly expands their application possibilities. Because traditional honeycombs
have closed-cells, they cannot be closely inspected, and they are not protected
against fluid ingression, which can lead to de-bonding at structural joints.
The open-cells of Microtruss™, however, enable close inspection and
prevent fluid entrapment, creating a safer and more dependable product.
- Limited design options
- Not multi-functional
- Poor structural properties
- Stochastic structure limits fluid flow in thermal management
Microtruss'™ structural properties are far superior to those of metal
foams, which are often brittle. In terms of thermal management, metal foams
are limited by their stochastic, or random (non-periodic), structure.
Microtruss™ performs superior thermal management because of its periodic
structure, which allows cooling fluids to flow through its core with less
resistance and therefore less energy.