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copper foam (CuF) is a multifunctional material with a high volume of open, permeable pores. It has many useful properties, including thermal insulation, acoustic absorption, adsorption of environmental pollutants and molten metal alloys, filtration, buffer electromagnetic shielding and fire retardant. It also possesses a high conductivity and ductility.
CuF is widely used in fabricating battery anode materials, cell-catalyst carriers and electrical insulation materials. In particular, it is an effective electrode substrate material for new nickel-zinc batteries and electric double-layer capacitors. It is also a popular material for making light and strong construction materials such as vibration absorbers, buffers, stealth technology, flame retardants, and heat dissipation materials.
The key to the multiple functions of copper foam is its highly porous, interconnected structure. The pore size and wall structure of copper foam can be customized by changing the deposition conditions. For example, by adding acetic acid to the deposition solution, the size of the hydrogen bubbles is significantly reduced, which leads to smaller branches in the foam walls.
A new method for preparing copper foam by mixed sintering has been developed. In this method, pure copper powder is combined with a carbonate in a crucible under the action of ultrasonic vibration. The mixture is heated under low pressure, which preserves the initial sphere-pore morphology of the copper powder and allows the formation of graded pore distribution. This enables the preparation of copper foam with superior performance in compression resistance, static airflow resistance and filtration efficiency.