Over the past two decades, a large number of metallic foams have been developed. In recent years research on this multi-functional material class has further intensified. However, despite their unique properties only a limited number of large-scale applications have emerged. One important reason for this sluggish uptake is their high cost. Many cellular metals require expensive raw materials, complex manufacturing procedures, or a combination thereof. Some attempts have been made to decrease costs by introducing novel foams based on cheaper components and new manufacturing procedures. However, this has often yielded materials with unreliable properties that inhibit utilization of their full potential. The resulting balance between cost and performance of cellular metals is probed in this editorial, which attempts to consider cost not in absolute figures, but in relation to performance. To approach such a distinction, an alternative classification of cellular metals is suggested which centers on structural aspects and the effort of realizing them. The range thus covered extends from fully stochastic foams to cellular structures designed-to-purpose.
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