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3D Morphology of Bimodal Porous Copper with Nano-Sized and Micron-Sized Pores to Enhance Transport Properties for Functional Applications

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journal contribution
posted on 20.07.2020, 16:34 by Lijie Zou, Mingyuan Ge, Jianming Bai, Chonghang Zhao, Hao Wang, Xianghui Xiao, Hui Zhong, Sanjit Ghose, Wah-Keat Lee, Qiang Shen, Fei Chen, Yu-chen Karen Chen-Wiegart
Multiscale porous metals with multiscale porosity from nanometer to micrometer have a high specific surface area and high effective diffusivity for ion transport, thereby enhancing functionalities and extending the applications of porous metals. In this study, the Cu–Fe–Al ternary system was selected as the precursor alloy to construct multiscale, bimodal porous copper by the chemical dealloying method. The effect of the phase composition and initial microstructure of precursor alloys (AlxFe75–xCu25, x = 10–60) on the three-dimensional (3D) morphology of multiscale porous metals was systematically investigated, with a goal to precisely control the multiscale porous structure. The four crystal structure phases (body-centered cubic (BCC), face-centered cubic (FCC), CsCl type (B2), and monoclinic) in precursor alloys were analyzed by synchrotron X-ray diffraction refinement. The 3D morphology, feature size distribution, and tortuosity of four representative porous Cu after dealloying AlxFe75–xCu25 (x = 10, 30, 50, and 60) precursor alloys were directly visualized and quantified via advanced synchrotron X-ray nanotomography. The relationship between the phases/crystal structures of precursor alloys and their corresponding porous morphology was established: the micron-sized pores in bimodal porous Cu are formed by dissolving the CuFeAl phase with BCC and monoclinic crystal structures, and the nano-sized pores are formed by dealloying the CuFeAl phase with FCC and B2 crystal structures. The size of the nanoporous structure depends on the ratio between the more noble and more active components in the precursor alloy, while the size of the microporous structure depends on the corresponding phase size in the precursor alloy. The tortuosity results showed that the multiscale porous structure with both nanoporosity and microporosity exhibits lower tortuosity, which will enhance transport properties for functional applications.