Because of its high temperature strength, molybdenum is frequently used in kiln engineering for hot plates, heating element support and shielding plates. In recent years the price of molybdenum has increased dramatically. The Fraunhofer Institutes IFAM in Dresden and Fraunhofer IKTS also in Dresden in cooperation with H.C.Starck Hermsdorf GmbH have developed a lightweight molybdenum foam for heat insulation applications (Fig. XX), using the low heat conductivities of about 1-5% of the basic material. Network-like structures with porosities up to 95% and cell sizes of 0.8-1.2 mm were synthesised.
In early trials, the heat insulation capability of the new material was tested in an industrial vacuum furnace. The molybdenum foam was laminated by a thin molybdenum foil. In comparison to the conventional shielding plates, the temperatures at the cold zones only show differences of about 2% when the molybdenum foam heat insulation was used. At the same time, the mass of the heat insulation package was reduced by a factor of four. Source: Fraunhofer