Optimality of Electroless Plating Processes for Dense Metal Ceramic Composite Membrane Fabrication

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Dense metal ceramic composite membranes such as nickel-ceramic and palladium-ceramic membranes have several functional applications including media for XRD studies, separation of dust particles from gaseous streams, hydrogen separation, membrane reformers, insitu hydrogen production etc. Typically, dense Pd-ceramic and nickel-ceramic composite membranes are fabricated with magnetron sputtering and electroless plating techniques respectively. Considering the issues of scalability and process simplicity, electroless plating can be considered to be the most viable technology for the inexpensive fabrication of dense metal ceramic composite membranes. Research in the field of metal ceramic composite membrane shall target (a) cheaper and stable porous ceramic supports using inexpensive precursors such as kaolin (b) deployment of electroless plating with optimal combinations of process conditions and operating parameters and (c) supplementing the electroless plating technique with scalable rate enhancement techniques to enhance plating rates without jeopardizing upon the quality of plating. With process-product optimality as the central research theme, this work addresses a conceptual research methodology that systematically targets the optimality of electroless plating processes for dense Ni-ceramic and Pd-ceramic composite membrane fabrication. Rigorous and extensive experimental investigations have been targeted for the inexpensive nickel precursors to gain substantial insights with respect to the performance characteristics of various electroless plating processes.
Supervisors: Ramgopal V. S. Uppalur and Anil Verma