A new kind of foam can replace wax in the casting of aerospace components, leading to huge saving to the industry, according to the US Air Force Research Laboratory (AFRL).

Under a small business innovation research (SBIR) contract partially funded by AFRL, FOPAT Production has come out with new foam patterns for casting foundries and other manufacturers of aerospace components.

The conventional casting processes and designs result in high scrap rates from shell cracking and material distortion due the properties of wax.

The new material forms foam-casting patterns with a smooth-surface finish and dimensional predictability that is temperature-stable.

The advanced patterns will improve casting processes by replacing wax, a known problematic material, with foam.

According to AFRL estimates, the replacement will generate $140m in productivity, material savings and scrap reduction along with $5m in yearly energy savings.