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Title:
SYNTHESIS OF ALLOY AND DIFFUSION MATERIAL NANOPARTICLES
Document Type and Number:
WIPO Patent Application WO/2015/191126
Kind Code:
A2
Abstract:
A method for preparing an alloy nanocellular foam includes at least partially coating a nanocellular precursor into a multiple composition nanoparticle precursor and converting the multiple composition nanoparticle precursor into an alloy via a diffusion process.

Inventors:
LI, Weina (79 Old Maids Lane, South Glastonbury, Connecticut, 06073, US)
CHEN, Lei (25 Chestnut Drive, South Windsor, Connecticut, 06074, US)
ZAFIRIS, Georgios S. (170 Long Hill Drive, Glastonbury, Connecticut, 06033, US)
BEALS, James T. (65 Ridgewood Road, West Hartford, Connecticut, 06107, US)
BIRNKRANT, Michael J. (607 Jefferson Avenue, Kenilworth, New Jersey, 07033, US)
Application Number:
US2015/019839
Publication Date:
December 17, 2015
Filing Date:
March 11, 2015
Export Citation:
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Assignee:
UNITED TECHNOLOGIES CORPORATION (One Financial Plaza, Hartford, Connecticut, 06101, US)
International Classes:
C25D3/56; C25D3/04; C25D3/12; C25D3/44; C25D3/54; C25D7/00; C25D17/00; C25D17/02; C25D17/10; C25D17/12
Attorney, Agent or Firm:
BURCH, Stephen A. (Carlson, Gaskey & Olds/Pratt & Whitney400 West Maple Road, Suite 35, Birmingham Michigan, 48009, US)
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Claims:
CLAIMS

1. A method for preparing an alloy nanocellular foam comprising:

disposing a nanoparticle precursor in an electrochemical deposition apparatus;

operating said electrochemical deposition apparatus, thereby at least partially coating said nanoparticle precursor into a multiple composition nanoparticle precursor, wherein the coated nanoparticle precursor forms an alloy nanoparticle via a diffusion process conducted subsequent to the coating process;

removing said converted nanoparticle precursor from said electrochemical deposition apparatus; and

constructing a nanocellular foam from said converted alloy nanoparticle precursor.

2. The method of claim 1 , wherein said converted nanoparticle precursor is an alloy of nickel and the metals deposited on the precursor is at least one of aluminum (Al), cobalt (Co), chromium (Cr), tungsten (W), rhenium (Re), tantalum (Ta), hafnium (Hi), yttrium (Y), carbon (C), boron (B), zirconium (Zr).

3. The method of claim 2, wherein said alloy is an alloy of nickel and aluminum.

4. The method of claim 1 , wherein disposing a nanoparticle precursor in an

electrochemical deposition apparatus comprises:

disposing said nanoparticle precursor in a cathode pouch made from mesh materials of said electrochemical deposition apparatus;

disposing said cathode pouch in an electrolyte solution; and

disposing an anode of the electrochemical deposition apparatus in the electrolyte solution.

5. The method of claim 1, wherein disposing a nanoparticle precursor in an

electrochemical deposition apparatus comprises:

disposing said pure material nanoparticle precursor in a powder bed hosted in a tubular housing element of said electrochemical deposition apparatus;

disposing an electrolyte solution in said tubular housing element, such that said pure material nanoparticle precursor is covered by said electrolyte solution;

inserting a cathode of said electrochemical deposition apparatus into said tubular housing that contains the said pure material nanoparticle precursor dispersed in the electrolyte; and

disposing an anode of said electrochemical deposition apparatus at least partially in said electrolyte solution.

6. The method of claim 1 , wherein the step of disposing a pure material nanoparticle precursor in an electrochemical deposition apparatus is performed during the step of operating said electrochemical deposition apparatus, thereby at least partially converting said pure material nanoparticle precursor into a converted nanoparticle precursor, and comprises: passing said pure material nanoparticle precursor through a powder feed of said electrochemical deposition apparatus into a tank at least partially filled with an electrolyte solution;

allowing said pure material nanoparticle precursor to pass between a cathode of said electrochemical deposition apparatus and at least one anode of said electrochemical deposition apparatus, wherein the cathode and the at least one anode are at least partially submerged in said electrolyte solution;

allowing a particulate of at least pure material nanoparticle precursor and connected nanoparticle precursor to exit the tank;

filtering the particulate, thereby isolating the pure material nanoparticle precursor and the converted nanoparticle precursor; and

returning the pure material nanoparticle precursor to the powder feed.

7. The method of claim 1, wherein the step of disposing a pure material nanoparticle precursor in an electrochemical deposition apparatus comprises:

disposing the pure material nanoparticle precursor in a powder bed of a cathode tube in a tank of said electrochemical deposition apparatus;

at least partially submerging said cathode tube in an electrolyte solution disposed in said tank such that the electrolyte solution intermixes with the pure material nanoparticle precursor in the powder bed; and

disposing an anode of the electrochemical deposition apparatus at least partially in the electrolyte solution.

8. The method of claim 1, wherein the step of operating said electrochemical deposition apparatus comprises:

providing a positive charge to an anode of the electrochemical deposition apparatus, providing a negative charge to a cathode of the electrochemical deposition apparatus;

allowing an electrolyte solution to intermix with said pure material nanoparticle precursor; and

causing ions from the anode to be conducted through the electrolyte solution and coat the pure material nanoparticle precursor.

9. The method of claim 8, wherein causing ions from the anode to be conducted through the electrolyte solution and coat the pure material nanoparticle precursor causes the pure material nanoparticle precursor to be converted into at least one of an alloy nanoparticle precursor and a diffusion material nanoparticle precursor.

10. The method of claim 9, wherein the allowing an electrolyte solution to intermix with said pure material nanoparticle precursor comprises at least one of allowing the electrolyte solution to flow through a mesh structure of said cathode, allowing the electrolyte solution to flow around a solid rotating cathode, and allowing the electrolyte solution to flow through a tube cathode.

11. The method of claim 1 , wherein said electrochemical deposition apparatus utilizes at least one of an inorganic, organic, metalorganic, and ionic liquid electrolyte containing ions of at least one of aluminum (Al), cobalt (Co), chromium (Cr), tungsten (W), rhenium (Re), tantalum (Ta), hafnium (Hi), yttrium (Y), carbon (C), boron (B), zirconium (Zr).

12. The method of claim 11, wherein the liquid electrolyte is a blend of at least two of an inorganic, organic, metalorganic, and ionic liquid electrolyte.

13. An electrochemical deposition apparatus for converting a pure material nanoparticle precursor into a converted nanoparticle precursor comprising:

a power source having a positive terminal connected to an anode and a negative terminal connected to a cathode;

a storage component at least partially filled with an electrolyte solution;

a powder bed for retaining a nanoparticle precursor, wherein the powder bed is disposed within said storage component such that said electrolyte solution intermixes with a nanoparticle precursor contained within said powder bed; and

wherein said anode is at least partially disposed in said electrolyte solution, and wherein said cathode contacts at least a portion of said nanoparticle precursor.

14. The electrochemical deposition apparatus of claim 13, wherein said storage component is a tube, said powder bed is disposed in a bend of said tube, and said cathode is inserted at least partially into a nanoparticle particulate disposed in said powder bed.

15. The electrochemical deposition apparatus of claim 13, wherein said storage component is a tank, and wherein said anode is at least partially submerged in said electrolyte solution.

16. The electrochemical deposition apparatus of claim 15, wherein said cathode comprises an electrically conductive mesh container, and wherein said powder bed is disposed inside said electrically conductive mesh container.

17. The electrochemical deposition apparatus of claim 15, wherein said cathode comprises a rotatable cylinder having an internal cavity, and wherein the powder bed is disposed in said internal cavity.

18. The electrochemical deposition apparatus of claim 13, further comprising a second anode connected to said power source, and wherein said cathode is a rotatable cylinder disposed between said anodes.

19. The electrochemical apparatus of claim 18, wherein said powder bed is disposed beneath said cathode, and wherein said electrochemical deposition apparatus further comprises a powder feed disposed above said cathode, wherein said powder feed is operable to feed a stream pure material nanoparticle precursor between said cathode and at least one of said anodes.

20. A method for synthesizing a nanocellular foam comprising:

converting a base material nanoparticle precursor into a converted nanoparticle precursor;

constructing said nanocellular foam from said converted nanoparticle precursor; and wherein converting a base material nanoparticle precursor into a converted nanoparticle precursor comprises converting the base material nanoparticle precursor into an alloy material nanoparticle precursor and a diffusion material nanoparticle precursor.

Description:
SYNTHESIS OF ALLOY AND DIFFUSION MATERIAL NANOPARTICLES

TECHNICAL FIELD

[0001] The present disclosure relates generally to the preparation of nanoparticles for nanocellular foams, and more specifically to the preparation of alloy and diffusion material nanoparticles for the synthesis of nanocellular foams via a sequential electrochemical deposition and heat-treatment method.

CROSS-REFERENCE TO RELATED APPLICATION

[0002] This application claims priority to United States Provisional Application No. 61/969307 filed on March 24, 2014.

BACKGROUND

[0003] Lightweight materials capable of handling high temperatures with minimal adverse effects are desirable for both military and commercial aircraft applications. One type of material that can be utilized in such applications is a nanocellular foam.

[0004] In some examples, a nanocellular foam can be synthesized from nanomaterials such as pure material nanoparticles. Pure material based nanocellular foams necessarily include some properties that are less than ideal. With previous materials, the less than ideal properties were adjusted or compensated for via the utilization of an alloy or a diffusion material instead of a pure material. However, the traditional methods to prepare alloys from pure materials may not be suitable for the synthesis of nanocellular foams.

SUMMARY OF THE INVENTION

[0005] A method for preparing an alloy nanocellular foam according to an exemplary embodiment of this disclosure, among other possible things includes disposing a nanoparticle precursor in an electrochemical deposition apparatus, operating the electrochemical deposition apparatus, thereby at least partially coating the nanoparticle precursor into a multiple composition nanoparticle precursor, the coated nanoparticle precursor forms of an alloy nanoparticle via a diffusion process conducted subsequent to the coating process, removing the converted nanoparticle precursor from the electrochemical deposition apparatus, and constructing a nanocellular foam from said converted alloy nanoparticle precursor.

[0006] In a further embodiment of the foregoing method, the converted nanoparticle precursor is an alloy of nickel and the metals deposited on the precursor is at least one of aluminum (Al), cobalt (Co), chromium (Cr), tungsten (W), rhenium (Re), tantalum (Ta), hafnium (Hi), yttrium (Y), carbon (C), boron (B), zirconium (Zr).

[0007] In a further embodiment of the foregoing method, the alloy is an alloy of nickel and aluminum.

[0008] A further embodiment of the foregoing method includes disposing a nanoparticle precursor in an electrochemical deposition apparatus includes, disposing the nanoparticle precursor in a cathode pouch made from mesh materials of the electrochemical deposition apparatus, disposing the cathode pouch in an electrolyte solution, and disposing an anode of the electrochemical deposition apparatus in the electrolyte solution.

[0009] A further embodiment of the foregoing method includes disposing a nanoparticle precursor in an electrochemical deposition apparatus includes, disposing the pure material nanoparticle precursor in a powder bed hosted in a tubular housing element of the electrochemical deposition apparatus, disposing an electrolyte solution in the tubular housing element, such that the pure material nanoparticle precursor is covered by the electrolyte solution, inserting a cathode of the electrochemical deposition apparatus into the tubular housing that contains the pure material nanoparticle precursor dispersed in the electrolyte, and disposing an anode of the electrochemical deposition apparatus at least partially in the electrolyte solution.

[0010] In a further embodiment of the foregoing method, the step of disposing a pure material nanoparticle precursor in an electrochemical deposition apparatus is performed during the step of operating the electrochemical deposition apparatus, thereby at least partially converting the pure material nanoparticle precursor into a converted nanoparticle precursor, and includes, passing the pure material nanoparticle precursor through a powder feed of the electrochemical deposition apparatus into a tank at least partially filled with an electrolyte solution, allowing the pure material nanoparticle precursor to pass between a cathode of the electrochemical deposition apparatus and at least one anode of the electrochemical deposition apparatus, the cathode and the at least one anode are at least partially submerged in the electrolyte solution, allowing a particulate of at least pure material nanoparticle precursor and connected nanoparticle precursor to exit the tank, filtering the particulate, thereby isolating the pure material nanoparticle precursor and the converted nanoparticle precursor, and returning the pure material nanoparticle precursor to the powder feed.

[0011] In a further embodiment of the foregoing method, the step of disposing a pure material nanoparticle precursor in an electrochemical deposition apparatus includes, disposing the pure material nanoparticle precursor in a powder bed of a cathode tube in a tank of the electrochemical deposition apparatus, at least partially submerging the cathode tube in an electrolyte solution disposed in the tank such that the electrolyte solution intermixes with the pure material nanoparticle precursor in the powder bed, and disposing an anode of the electrochemical deposition apparatus at least partially in the electrolyte solution.

[0012] In a further embodiment of the foregoing method, the step of operating the electrochemical deposition apparatus includes providing a positive charge to an anode of the electrochemical deposition apparatus, providing a negative charge to a cathode of the electrochemical deposition apparatus, allowing an electrolyte solution to intermix with the pure material nanoparticle precursor, and causing ions from the anode to be conducted through the electrolyte solution and coat the pure material nanoparticle precursor.

[0013] A further embodiment of the foregoing method includes causing ions from the anode to be conducted through the electrolyte solution and coat the pure material nanoparticle precursor causes the pure material nanoparticle precursor to be converted into at least one of an alloy nanoparticle precursor and a diffusion material nanoparticle precursor.

[0014] A further embodiment of the foregoing method includes the allowing an electrolyte solution to intermix with said pure material nanoparticle precursor includes at least one of allowing the electrolyte solution to flow through a mesh structure of the cathode, allowing the electrolyte solution to flow around a solid rotating cathode, and allowing the electrolyte solution to flow through a tube cathode.

[0015] In a further embodiment of the foregoing method, the electrochemical deposition apparatus utilizes at least one of an inorganic, organic, metalorganic, and ionic liquid electrolyte containing ions of at least one of aluminum (Al), cobalt (Co), chromium (Cr), tungsten (W), rhenium (Re), tantalum (Ta), hafnium (Hi), yttrium (Y), carbon (C), boron (B), zirconium (Zr). [0016] In a further embodiment of the foregoing method, the liquid electrolyte is a blend of at least two of an inorganic, organic, metalorganic, and ionic liquid electrolyte.

[0017] An Electrochemical deposition apparatus for converting a pure material nanoparticle precursor into a converted nanoparticle precursor according to an exemplary embodiment of this disclosure, among other possible things includes a power source having a positive terminal connected to an anode and a negative terminal connected to a cathode, a storage component at least partially filled with an electrolyte solution, a powder bed for retaining a nanoparticle precursor, the powder bed is disposed within the storage component such that the electrolyte solution intermixes with a nanoparticle precursor contained within the powder bed, and the anode is at least partially disposed in the electrolyte solution, and the cathode contacts at least a portion of the nanoparticle precursor.

[0018] In a further embodiment of the foregoing electrochemical deposition apparatus, the storage component is a tube, the powder bed is disposed in a bend of the tube, and the cathode is inserted at least partially into a nanoparticle particulate disposed in the powder bed.

[0019] In a further embodiment of the foregoing electrochemical deposition apparatus, the storage component is a tank, and the anode is at least partially submerged in the electrolyte solution.

[0020] In a further embodiment of the foregoing electrochemical deposition apparatus, the cathode includes an electrically conductive mesh container, and the powder bed is disposed inside the electrically conductive mesh container.

[0021] In a further embodiment of the foregoing electrochemical deposition apparatus, the cathode includes a rotatable cylinder having an internal cavity, and the powder bed is disposed in the internal cavity.

[0022] A further embodiment of the foregoing electrochemical deposition apparatus, includes a second anode connected to the power source, and the cathode is a rotatable cylinder disposed between the anodes.

[0023] In a further embodiment of the foregoing electrochemical deposition apparatus, the powder bed is disposed beneath the cathode, and the electrochemical deposition apparatus includes a powder feed disposed above the cathode, the powder feed is operable to feed a stream pure material nanoparticle precursor between the cathode and at least one of the anodes. [0024] A method for synthesizing a nanocellular foam according to an exemplary embodiment of this disclosure, among other possible things includes converting a base material nanoparticle precursor into a converted nanoparticle precursor, constructing the nanocellular foam from the converted nanoparticle precursor, and converting a base material nanoparticle precursor into a converted nanoparticle precursor includes converting the base material nanoparticle precursor into an alloy material nanoparticle precursor and a diffusion material nanoparticle precursor.

[0025] The foregoing features and elements may be combined in any combination without exclusivity, unless expressly indicated otherwise.

[0026] These and other features of the present invention can be best understood from the following specification and drawings, the following of which is a brief description.

BRIEF DESCRIPTION OF THE DRAWINGS

[0027] Figure 1 schematically illustrates a gas turbine engine.

[0028] Figure 2A schematically illustrates a known electrochemical deposition apparatus.

[0029] Figure 2B schematically illustrates a portion of a cathode of Figure 2A after operation of the electrochemical deposition apparatus.

[0030] Figure 3 illustrates an example electrochemical deposition apparatus.

[0031] Figure 4 illustrates a second example electrochemical deposition apparatus.

[0032] Figure 5 illustrates a third example electrochemical deposition apparatus.

[0033] Figure 6 illustrates a fourth example electrochemical deposition apparatus.

[0034] Figure 7 illustrates a fifth example electrochemical deposition apparatus.

DETAILED DESCRIPTION OF AN EMBODIMENT

[0035] Figure 1 schematically illustrates an example machine, which in this example is a gas turbine engine 20. It is to be understood that the examples herein are not limited to gas turbine engines and that other types of engines and machines may benefit from the disclosed nanocelluar foam synthesis. [0036] The gas turbine engine 20 is disclosed herein as a two- spool turbofan that generally incorporates a fan section 22, a compressor section 24, a combustor section 26 and a turbine section 28. Alternative engines might include an augmentor section (not shown) among other systems or features. The fan section 22 drives air along a bypass flow path B in a bypass duct defined within a nacelle 15, while the compressor section 24 drives air along a core flow path C for compression and communication into the combustor section 26 then expansion through the turbine section 28. Although depicted as a two-spool turbofan gas turbine engine in the disclosed non-limiting embodiment, it should be understood that the concepts described herein are not limited to use with two-spool turbofans as the teachings may be applied to other types of turbine engines including three-spool architectures.

[0037] The exemplary engine 20 generally includes a low speed spool 30 and a high speed spool 32 mounted for rotation about an engine central longitudinal axis A relative to an engine static structure 36 via several bearing systems 38. It should be understood that various bearing systems 38 at various locations may alternatively or additionally be provided, and the location of bearing systems 38 may be varied as appropriate to the application.

[0038] The low speed spool 30 generally includes an inner shaft 40 that interconnects a fan 42, a first (or low) pressure compressor 44 and a first (or low) pressure turbine 46. The inner shaft 40 is connected to the fan 42 through a speed change mechanism, which in exemplary gas turbine engine 20 is illustrated as a geared architecture 48 to drive the fan 42 at a lower speed than the low speed spool 30. The high speed spool 32 includes an outer shaft 50 that interconnects a second (or high) pressure compressor 52 and a second (or high) pressure turbine 54. A combustor 56 is arranged in exemplary gas turbine 20 between the high pressure compressor 52 and the high pressure turbine 54. A mid-turbine frame 57 of the engine static structure 36 is arranged generally between the high pressure turbine 54 and the low pressure turbine 46. The mid-turbine frame 57 further supports bearing systems 38 in the turbine section 28. The inner shaft 40 and the outer shaft 50 are concentric and rotate via bearing systems 38 about the engine central longitudinal axis A which is collinear with their longitudinal axes.

[0039] The core airflow is compressed by the low pressure compressor 44 then the high pressure compressor 52, mixed and burned with fuel in the combustor 56, then expanded over the high pressure turbine 54 and low pressure turbine 46. The mid- turbine frame 57 includes airfoils 59 which are in the core airflow path C. The turbines 46, 54 rotationally drive the respective low speed spool 30 and high speed spool 32 in response to the expansion. It will be appreciated that each of the positions of the fan section 22, compressor section 24, combustor section 26, turbine section 28, and fan drive gear system 48 may be varied. For example, gear system 48 may be located aft of combustor section 26 or even aft of turbine section 28, and fan section 22 may be positioned forward or aft of the location of gear system 48.

[0040] The engine 20 in one example is a high-bypass geared aircraft engine. In a further example, the engine 20 bypass ratio is greater than about six (6), with an example embodiment being greater than about ten (10), the geared architecture 48 is an epicyclic gear train, such as a planetary gear system or other gear system, with a gear reduction ratio of greater than about 2.3 and the low pressure turbine 46 has a pressure ratio that is greater than about five. In one disclosed embodiment, the engine 20 bypass ratio is greater than about ten (10:1), the fan diameter is significantly larger than that of the low pressure compressor 44, and the low pressure turbine 46 has a pressure ratio that is greater than about five (5:1). Low pressure turbine 46 pressure ratio is pressure measured prior to inlet of low pressure turbine 46 as related to the pressure at the outlet of the low pressure turbine 46 prior to an exhaust nozzle. The geared architecture 48 may be an epicycle gear train, such as a planetary gear system or other gear system, with a gear reduction ratio of greater than about 2.3:1. It should be understood, however, that the above parameters are only exemplary of one embodiment of a geared architecture engine and that the present invention is applicable to other gas turbine engines including direct drive turbofans.

[0041] A significant amount of thrust is provided by the bypass flow B due to the high bypass ratio. The fan section 22 of the engine 20 is designed for a particular flight condition— typically cruise at about 0.8 Mach and about 35,000 feet. The flight condition of 0.8 Mach and 35,000 ft, with the engine at its best fuel consumption - also known as "bucket cruise Thrust Specific Fuel Consumption ('TSFC')" - is the industry standard parameter of lbm of fuel being burned divided by lbf of thrust the engine produces at that minimum point. "Low fan pressure ratio" is the pressure ratio across the fan blade alone, without a Fan Exit Guide Vane ("FEGV") system. The low fan pressure ratio as disclosed herein according to one non-limiting embodiment is less than about 1.45. "Low corrected fan tip speed" is the actual fan tip speed in ft/sec divided by an industry standard temperature correction of [(Tram °R) / (518.7 °R)]0.5. The "Low corrected fan tip speed" as disclosed herein according to one non-limiting embodiment is less than about 1200 ft / second.

[0042] It has previously been proposed to utilize nanoparticles to construct components for the above described engine 20 from a nanocellular foam. Existing synthesis techniques generate nanocellular foams from a pure material, such as Nickel. While operable, pure material nanocellular foams can have insufficient performance, such as reduced strength and oxidation resistance, reduced microstructural control, reduced oxidation and corrosion resistance, reduced creep strength, reduced oxidation resistance, and reduced grain boundary ductility. Traditionally, pure materials have been combined with additional materials to form alloys, with the alloys improving one or more of the poorly optimized aspects of the pure material.

[0043] A method by which alloys or diffusion materials have been formed is illustrated in Figure 2A. Figure 2A illustrates an electrochemical process and apparatus 100 for the deposition of a material layer onto a dissimilar material substrate. Subsequent high-temperature treatment allows for the formation of an alloy or diffusion material layer, the thickness of which depends on the amount of the deposited material and post-deposition high-temperature treatment conditions and duration. An exemplary case includes the formation of a nickel-aluminum (Ni-Al) alloy. Alternative alloys and diffusion materials can be generated utilizing the same principle and apparatus. The illustrated electrochemical deposition apparatus includes an anode 120 constructed of Aluminum, and a cathode 110 constructed of Nickel, both submerged in an electrolyte 150 that is contained in a tank 140. The electrolyte 150 comprises a non-aqueous inorganic, organic, metalorganic or ionic liquids and blends thereof containing Aluminum and Aluminum complex ions. The anode 120 is connected to a positive terminal of a direct current (DC) power source 130. Similarly, the cathode 110 is connected to a negative terminal of the power source 130. When power is supplied from the power source 130 to the anode 120 and the cathode 110, the aluminum ions are conducted through the electrolyte 150 to the cathode 110 and deposited on the surface of the cathode 110 via a reduction reaction to form a coating 122. High temperature diffusion is subsequently conducted to form an alloy composition.

[0044] In alternative systems, the aluminum is diffused into the Nickel to create a Nickel-Aluminum diffusion material (Nickel-Aluminide). One skilled in the art will recognize that diffusion materials and alloys have different properties and are suitable for different purposes, with the appropriate material for any given application being determinable by one of skill in the art, especially active metals hard to be prepared by other methods, including but not limited to Al, Mg, and Cr, etc.

[0045] Figure 2B schematically illustrates a portion of the cathode 110 with an Aluminum coating 122. In the portion of the cathode immediately interior to the Aluminum coating 122, the Nickel of the cathode 124 has bonded with the Aluminum. In this way, the electroplating process forms a Nickel Aluminum alloy. Alternatively, other alloys using other metals can be created according to similar processes.

[0046] Nanoparticle precursors used for the synthesis of a nanocellular foam are in the form of a powder. Since the above described electrochemical deposition apparatus and process requires use of a bulk solid cathode component, it cannot be employed on nanoparticle precursor powders to form alloy or diffusion material nanoparticles.

[0047] Figure 3 illustrates a first example electrochemical deposition apparatus 200 for creating nanoparticle alloys and nanoparticle diffusion materials from a nanoparticle precursor. As with the electrochemical deposition apparatus 100 of Figure 2, the electrochemical deposition apparatus of figure 3 utilizes a tank 240, with an electrolyte solution 250 at least partially filling the tank 240. An anode 220 constructed of the coating material is disposed partially in the electrolyte solution 250. In alternative examples, the anode 220 can be fully submerged in the electrolyte solution 250.

[0048] A cathode 210 constructed of an electrically conductive porous material is also disposed partially in the electrolyte solution 250. The porous material forms a pouch to house nanoparticle precursors. Contained within the mesh or porous cathode 210 is nanoparticles 260. The nanoparticles 260 are fully submerged in the electrolyte solution 250, and the electrolyte solution is allowed to intermix throughout the powder 260.

[0049] A power source 230 is connected to each of the anode 220 and the cathode 210, with the positive terminal of the power source 230 being connected to the anode 220 and the negative terminal of the power source being connected to the cathode 210.

[0050] Figure 4 illustrates an alternative electrochemical disposition apparatus 300 for creating nanoparticle alloys and nanoparticle diffusion materials. The apparatus of Figure 4 utilizes a tube 340 including a bend region 342. Nanoparticles powder 360 is disposed in the bend portion 342. The tube 340 is then partially filled with an electrolyte solution 350, with the electrolyte solution 350 at least covering and intermixing with the pure material nanoparticles 360.

[0051] A cathode 310 is inserted into the tube and at least partially inserted into the bend portion 342 such that the cathode 310 is disposed partially in the powder 360. An anode 320 is inserted into the tube 340 and at least partially disposed in the electrolyte solution 350, with the anode 320 being entirely outside of the pure material nanoparticles 360. Each of the cathode 310 and the anode 320 are connected to a power source 330 as in the example of Figure 3.

[0052] During operation, power is provided from the power source 330 to the anode 320 and the cathode 310. The anode material (for example Aluminum) oxidizes to form cations in the electrolyte 350. The cations are then directed towards the cathode 310. Because the pure material nanoparticles 360 are intermixed with the electrolyte 350, the cations are carried into contact with the pure material nanoparticles 360 as they are being drawn towards the cathode 310. The cations are then reduced onto the nanoparticles to form a material layer deposit. Multiplicity of material layers can be electrodeposited onto the pure material nanoparticles by sequentially employing the above described method. Subsequent high-temperature treatment of the coated nanoparticles produces the desired binary or multi-component alloy or diffusion material nanoparticles, which can be used to synthesize a nanocellular foam.

[0053] Figure 5 illustrates a third alternative electrochemical deposition apparatus 400. As with the example of Figure 3, the electrochemical deposition apparatus 400 includes a tank 440 with an electrolyte fluid 450 at least partially filling the tank. Disposed within the tank 440, and partially submerged by the electrolyte fluid is a cathode 410 and two anodes 420. The cathode 410 is an electrically conductive cylinder that is capable of rotating within the tank 440. Adjacent and partially surrounding the cathode 410 are two conforming anodes 420. The anodes 420 remain stationary during operation of the electrochemical deposition device.

[0054] Disposed generally above the cathode 410 is a powder feed 470 that feeds a pure material nanoparticle 460 powder into the tank 440. The powder falls between the cathode 410 and the anodes 420. As the nanoparticle powder 460 falls onto the cathode 410 the powder 460 makes electrical contact with the cathode 410 allowing for electrodeposition of the desired material onto the pure material nanoparticles or nanoparticle precursors 460. As with the previous examples, when electrical power is supplied with positive potential to the anodes 420 and negative potential to the cathode 410, metals are deposited onto the nanoparticle material 460.

[0055] The particulate from the powder feed passes down to a particulate exit 472. Electrolyte solution 450 is drawn through the particulate exit 472 via a pump 474. The electrolyte solution 450 including the particulate is passed to a filter 476. The filter 476 is used to collect the coated powder when sufficient amount of metals are deposited. If insufficient material is deposited, the plating process can be repeated on the powder by recirculating the powder back to 470. The electrolyte solution is recirculated back into the tank 440 via a recirculation line 478

[0056] If the powder feed 470 is provided with a constant source of pure material nanoparticles precursors the apparatus 400 can continuously operate and produce electroplated or coated nanoparticles more efficiently than the examples of Figures 3 and 4.

[0057] Figure 6 illustrates a fourth example electrochemical deposition apparatus 500. In the example of Figure, an anode 520 is inserted at least partially into an electrolyte solution disposed in a tank 540. A powder bed is disposed in the electrolyte 550, and contained within a mesh 562. The mesh 562 is partially submerged into the electrolyte 550. A cathode tube 510 is located above the powder bed, and is at least partially submerged in the electrolyte solution. The cathode tube 510 rotates in a rotation direction 580 about an axis defined by the cathode tube 510. As the cathode 510 is rotated, the nanoparticles 560 are disturbed, and the electrolyte solution 550 is caused to intermix with the nanoparticles 560.

[0058] Figure 7 illustrates a fifth example electrochemical deposition apparatus 600. As with the apparatus 500 of Figure 6, an anode 620 is inserted at least partially into an electrolyte solution disposed in a tank 640. A powder bed is disposed in the electrolyte solution and contained within a mesh 662. A cathode tube 610 is positioned above the powder bed and is at least partially submerged in the electrolyte solution. The cathode tube 610 rotates in a rotation direction 680 about an axis defined by the cathode tube 610. As the cathode tube 610 is rotated, the nanoparticles 660 are disturbed and the electrolyte solution 650 is caused to intermix with the nanoparticles 660.

[0059] With reference to the examples of Figures 6 and 7, when a positive potential is applied to the anode 520 and 620, and a negative potential is applied to the cathode 510, 610, ions of the anode material are caused to conduct through the electrolyte solution 550, 650 toward the cathode 510, 610. As a result of the conduction, and the electrolyte solution 550, 650 intermixing with the nanoparticles 560, 660, the nanoparticles 560 and 660 are converted into the coated powder.

[0060] Once the pure material nanoparticles have been plated and subsequently heat-treated and converted into an alloy or diffusion material according to any of the above described processes, the converted nanoparticles can be utilized to synthesize a nanocellular foam according to any known process. Furthermore, the above described apparatuses and processes may be utilized as a partial step in the preparation of nanoparticle precursors for the synthesis of nanocellular foam

[0061] While the above discussed apparatus and method is described generally with regards to a Nickel Aluminum alloy, one of skill in the art will understand that the disclosed principles can also be applied to alternative Nickel based allows including alloys that are a combination of Nickel and at least one of Aluminum (Al), Cobalt (Co), Chromium (Cr), Tungsten (W), Rhenium (Re), Tantalum (Ta), Hafnium (Hi), Yttrium (Y), Carbon (C), Boron (B), Zirconium (Zr). In alternative examples any other suitable material can be alloyed with a base nanomaterial according to the above description. Furthermore, the above description describes the utilization of a pure material nanoparticle. One skilled in the necessary art will understand that "pure material nanoparticle" refers to the original base material, and is not limited to only base materials of a single element.

[0062] It is further understood that any of the above described concepts can be used alone or in combination with any or all of the other above described concepts. Although an embodiment of this invention has been disclosed, a worker of ordinary skill in this art would recognize that certain modifications would come within the scope of this invention. For that reason, the following claims should be studied to determine the true scope and content of this invention.