One means of protecting structures involves the panelling of components with foam. Previous work has analysed the response of a low-density aluminium foam to quasi-static, and low velocity impact. In the present work, plate impact experiments are conducted, to observe the transit of a shock through the material. X-ray microtomography was used to obtain microstructural information in three dimensions that was coupled as the input file for hydrocode simulation. This provides insight into mechanisms associated with deformation in the foam. © 2007 Acta Materialia Inc.