Metal foams can be fabricated through metallizing nonconductive polymer templates for better control of pore size, porosity, and interpore connectivity. However, the process suffers from a diffusion limit when the pore size is reduced to micro- and nanoscales. In this research, an electropolishing-assisted electroless deposition (EPAELD) process is developed to fabricate open-celled microcellular metal foams. To overcome the diffusion limit, a polishing current is applied in the electroless deposition process to remove metal on the surface of a polymer template, such that the ion-diffusion channels will remain open and the electroless deposition reaction continues deep inside the polymer template. In this paper, a process model of the proposed EPAELD technique is developed to understand the mechanism and to optimize the proposed process.

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