Preparation and characterization of directionally freeze-cast copper foams

Aurelia I. Cuba Ramos, David C. Dunand*

*Corresponding author for this work

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

33 Scopus citations


Because of their excellent thermal and electric conductivities, copper foams are ideally suited for applications such as heat exchangers, catalyst supports and EMI-shields. Here, we demonstrate the preparation of copper with ~80% aligned, elongated, interconnected pores via directional freeze casting, a well established processing technique for porous ceramics. First, an aqueous slurry of 40−80 nm cupric oxide powders was directionally solidified, resulting in a preform consisting of elongated, aligned dendrites of pure ice separated by interdendritic ice walls with high oxide powder content. Oxide rather than metallic nanometric particles are used, as the latter would oxidize rapidly and uncontrollably when suspended in the aqueous solution used during directional casting. The preforms were then freeze-dried to sublimate the ice and sintered in a hydrogen-bearing atmosphere to reduce the copper oxide to metallic copper particles and densify these copper particles. Microstructural analysis of the copper foams shows that three types of porosities are present: (i) aligned, elongated pores replicating the ice dendrites created during the freeze-casting process; (ii) micro-porosity in the partially sintered copper walls separating the elongated pores; and (iii) cracks in these copper walls, probably created because of shrinkage associated with the reduction of the oxide powders.

Original languageEnglish (US)
Pages (from-to)265-273
Number of pages9
Issue number3
StatePublished - Sep 1 2012


  • Chemical reduction
  • Copper
  • Copper oxide
  • Freeze-casting
  • Metallic foams
  • Oriented pores
  • Porous materials
  • Sintering

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • Metals and Alloys
  • General Materials Science


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