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Synthesis and characterisation of a porous Al scaffold sintered from NaAlH4

Ianni, Enrico, Sofianos, M. Veronica, Sheppard, Drew A., Rowles, Matthew R., Humphries, Terry D., Liu, Shaomin, Buckley, Craig E.
Journal of materials science 2018 v.53 no.2 pp. 1076-1087
X-radiation, X-ray diffraction, aluminum, cost effectiveness, hydrogen, porosity, scanning electron microscopy, sodium, surface area, temperature
A simple and cost-effective method for the synthesis of a porous Al scaffold has been optimised using only NaAlH₄ and TiCl₃. The starting materials were compacted into a pellet and sintered under dynamic vacuum to remove the Na and H₂. The sintering conditions, such as vacuum level, temperature, and time, were the key factors that influenced both the extraction of Na and H₂ from the pellet and the overall porosity. Quantitative phase analysis by X-ray diffraction revealed that after the sintering process, the as-prepared porous Al scaffold consisted primarily of Al. Morphological observations conducted by scanning electron microscopy showed that the scaffold exhibited an open network of pores with a small number of mesopores and no formation of micropores. The specific surface area of the scaffold was determined to be 7.9 ± 0.1 and 6.0 ± 0.5 m²/g by the Brunauer–Emmet–Teller method and from small-angle X-ray scattering measurements, respectively. The total porosity of the Al scaffold was 44.6%.