Numerical Modelling of Nickel Electrodeposition on Polyurethane Foams

  • Ghiasi, Narges (saarland university)
  • Diebels, Stefan (saarland university)

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Porous materials are a class of light-weight materials that have been an interesting area of research in the development of modern metamaterials. Due to their unique topology and depending on the base material, porous materials possess special characteristics that make them suitable to be used for many purposes. To eliminate their weaknesses and optimize their properties, hybrid metal foams were introduced. The most common method to produce hybrid metal foams is coating metal on polymer foams via electrodeposition in order to gain the combined merits of metals and the desirable mechanical properties of polymers. This process is governed by strong mechanical and electrical interactions which arise due to different factors such as presence of ions in the electrolyte, applied external current, charged solid surface, ionic concentration gradients and etc. Hence, modelling such a process introduces a complex challenge which requires sophisticated computations. This work aims to numerically model the electrocoating of polyurethane foams with nickel ions at pore-scale. To do so, mixture theory is employed to simulate the multiphase flow of the electrolyte through the porous medium on a macroscopic scale. The governing equations describing the coating process are developed from the fundamental balance equations. By reasonable physical assumptions, different processes contributing to ionic transport; i.e. diffusion, convection and migration are considered and finally the influence of different parameters in each transport mechanism is investigated. First simulations based on a simple explicit upwind finite difference discretization show that the presented model is able to describe the experimentally observed effects.