Nickel is a versatile metal that is ferromagnetic, corrosion resistant, and even found in cans of baked beans! While we’ve already covered the metal form in our global blog (you can catch up here), this article is going to be taking a look at element symbol Ni, atomic number 28’s relative, Nickel Foam. The metal has many desirable characteristics, which are translated across to the foam, making it a solid choice for a number of applications.
What properties does Nickel Foam have?
- Sound absorption – The porous structure of Nickel Foam makes it an excellent sound-absorption material.
- Fire resistant – Nickel Foam can resist heat of over 1100 degrees Celsius and is difficult to burn at a high temperature.
- Ultra-light material – The material has a surface area per mass of about 0.25, which is 1/30 of Iron, plus a surface density of around 350g/m2 and a 93% to 95% porosity.
- Easy to process – Nickel Foam is very malleable and can be cut, bent, and pasted.
- Electromagnetic shielding – An electromagnetic wave of 90dB can be shielded through Nickel Foam of a relatively thin thickness.
- Corrosion resistant – Just like Nickel in its bulk form, Nickel Foam is resistant to corrosion, even at elevated temperatures or in natural freshwaters and even in caustic alkalis.
What applications can Nickel Foam be used for?
Metal Foams are relatively a newer class of material, which have been developed for applications within lightweight structure. With its low density, intrinsic strength, and good conductivity, Nickel Foam works exceptionally well across multiple applications, such as:
- Battery electrodes – Nickel Foam is predominantly used in NiMH batteries, which are rechargeable batteries found in laptops, mobile phones and hybrid electric vehicles.
- Catalyst materials – Nickel Foam’s open cell structure, strength and thermal shock resistance qualities make it an option for catalyst support in catalytic converters, combustion and filters.
- Fuel cells – Thanks to its porous structure and heat resistant qualities, such as thermal stability, Nickel Foam is a potential material for electro catalyst in molten carbonate fuel cells.
- Filters – Nickel Foam’s 3D porous structure makes it a good choice for a filter material in applications such as hydrogen storage media and a heat exchanger medium. In addition, its magnetic properties constitute the Nickel Foam suitable for applications in a magnetic flux conductor.