Nickel Foam is a 3D porous material which has a range of applications including battery electrodes, catalyst support, fuel cells and filters.
Battery electrodes – The open cell structure and strength of nickel foam make it an ideal material for rechargeable battery electrodes. This is especially the case for nickel-metal hydride (NiMH) batteries, which are a common type of rechargeable batteries used in laptops and mobile phones.
Catalyst materials – The open cell structure of nickel foam also makes it an excellent material for support in catalytic converters, combustion and filters as well as hydrogen storage media, heat exchanger mediums and magnetic flux conductors.
Electrochemically deposited nickel foams are a popular alternative to sintered plates because they can be manufactured in a low cost and simple process. Typically, nickel foam is deposited in a vacuum chamber using one of a number of arc vapour deposition methods or by chemical vapor deposition.
Alternatively, it can be plated directly onto a thermally decomposable material such as polyurethane foam by a metal-vapor-reaction technique known as nickel carbonyl . The starting material is an open foam structure of a thermally decomposable material which is then placed in a nickel carbonyl gas atmosphere and heated to a temperature at which the nickel carbonyl decomposes forming a nickel-plated foam structure.
This invention is a significant improvement over electrochemically deposited nickel foams because it creates a smooth, uniform nickel-plated structure of interconnected open-pore cells. In the past, electrochemically deposited nickel foams have been found to have a very uneven and bumpy electrochemical deposit. These irregularities are suspected to cause inefficient electrical conductivity and mechanical weaknesses within the battery plaque.