Highly porous sinter-hardenable Cr-Si-Ni-Mo based steel foam for automotive applications was produced by space holder method. Steel powders were mixed with binder (polyvinylalcohol) and space holder (carbamide), and compacted. Carbamide in the green compacts was removed by water leaching at room temperature. The green specimens were then sintered at temperatures between 1100 degrees C and 1250 degrees C for sintering times of 15, 30 and 45 min. In addition, the steel foams were sinter-hardened to enhance mechanical properties. Sinter-hardening combines sintering and heat treatment in one step by increasing the post-sintering cooling rate. This reduces the cost of operation and makes powder metallurgy more competitive. Effects of sinter-hardening process parameters on compressive strength, Young's modulus, hardness and energy absorption of the steel foams were investigated. (C) 2012 Elsevier Ltd. All rights reserved.