Tailoring permeability of microporous copper structures through template sintering

Zhang, C., Palko, J.W., Rong, G., Pringle, K.S., Barako, M.T., Dusseault, T.J., Asheghi, M., Santiago, J.G. and Goodson, K.E., 2018. "Tailoring permeability of microporous copper structures through template sintering," ACS Applied Materials and Interfaces, Vol. 10, pp. 30487-30494.

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Microporous metals are used extensively for applications that combine convective and conductive transport and benefit from low resistance to both modes of transport. Conventional fabrication methods, such as direct sintering of metallic particles, however, often produce structures with limited fluid transport properties due to the lack of control over pore morphologies such as the pore size and porosity. Here, we demonstrate control and improvement of hydraulic permeability of microporous copper structures fabricated using template-assisted electrodeposition. Template sintering is shown to modify the fluid transport network in a manner that increases permeability by nearly an order of magnitude with a less significant decrease (∼38%) in thermal conductivity. The measured permeabilities range from 4.8 × 10–14 to 1.3 × 10–12 m2 with 5 μm pores, with the peak value being roughly 5 times larger than the published values for sintered copper particles of comparable feature sizes. Analysis indicates that the enhancement of permeability is limited by constrictions, i.e., bottlenecks between connecting pores, whose dimensions are highly sensitive to the sintering conditions. We further show contrasting trends in permeability versus conductivity of the electrodeposited microporous copper and conventional sintered copper particles and suggest these differing trends to be the result of their inverse structural relationship.

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