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Research Papers

Modeling of an Electropolishing-Assisted Electroless Deposition Process for Microcellular Metal Foam Fabrication

[+] Author and Article Information
Wei Jiang

Program of Materials Science and Engineering,
The University of Texas at Austin,
204 East Dean Keeton Street,
Austin, TX 78712

Russell Borduin, Hao Xin

Department of Mechanical Engineering,
The University of Texas at Austin,
204 East Dean Keeton Street,
Austin, TX 78712

Wei Li

Program of Materials Science and Engineering,
The University of Texas at Austin,
204 East Dean Keeton Street,
Austin, TX 78712;
Department of Mechanical Engineering,
The University of Texas at Austin,
204 East Dean Keeton Street,
Austin, TX 78712
e-mail: weiwli@austin.utexas.edu

1Corresponding author.

Manuscript received April 19, 2016; final manuscript received November 8, 2016; published online January 27, 2017. Assoc. Editor: Y. B. Guo.

J. Manuf. Sci. Eng 139(3), 031018 (Jan 27, 2017) (8 pages) Paper No: MANU-16-1231; doi: 10.1115/1.4035215 History: Received April 19, 2016; Revised November 08, 2016

Metal foams can be fabricated through metallizing nonconductive polymer templates for better control of pore size, porosity, and interpore connectivity. However, the process suffers from a diffusion limit when the pore size is reduced to micro- and nanoscales. In this research, an electropolishing-assisted electroless deposition (EPAELD) process is developed to fabricate open-celled microcellular metal foams. To overcome the diffusion limit, a polishing current is applied in the electroless deposition process to remove metal on the surface of a polymer template, such that the ion-diffusion channels will remain open and the electroless deposition reaction continues deep inside the polymer template. In this paper, a process model of the proposed EPAELD technique is developed to understand the mechanism and to optimize the proposed process.

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Figures

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Fig. 1

An illustration of diffusion limitation in microcellular metal foam fabrication using conventional electroless deposition

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Fig. 2

A schematic of the proposed EPAELD process: stage 1 for electroless deposition toform a conductive surface and stage 2 with electropolishing current to open the ion-diffusion channels

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Fig. 3

PMMA templates plated with (a) conventional electroless deposition and (b) the EPAELD process; paraffin templates plated with (c) conventional electroless deposition and (d) the EPAELD process

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Fig. 4

A geometric model of the microsphere template perpendicular to the 111 plane before (a) and after (b) nickel deposition

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Fig. 5

Predicted Ni thickness at different microsphere layers during stage 1 of the EPAELD process

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Fig. 6

Predicted porosity (a) and tortuosity (b) inside the porous template

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Fig. 7

Predicted diffusion coefficient (a) and ion concentration (b)

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Fig. 8

Predicted Ni thickness in stage 2 of the process: (a) polishing current = 8 mA and (b) polishing current = 12 mA. Initial Ni thickness profile obtained with 4 h of stage 1 process.

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Fig. 9

Predicted Ni thickness in stage 2 of the process: (a) polishing current = 8 mA and (b) polishing current = 12 mA. Initial Ni thickness profile obtained with 2 h of stage 1 process.

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