Applied Surface Science, Vol.257, No.17, 7466-7474, 2011
Studies on the influence of surface pre-treatments on electroless copper coating of boron carbide particles
Boron carbide is one of the hard ceramic particles which find application as structural materials and neutron shielding material due to its high neutron capture cross section. Copper coating on boron carbide particle is essential for the synthesis of metal-ceramic composites with enhanced sinterability and dispersibility. Surface characteristics of the substrate and the coating parameters play a foremost role in the formation of effective electroless coating. The effect of surface pre-treatment conditions and pH on electroless copper coating of boron carbide particles has been studied. Surface pre-treatement of B4C when compared to acid treated and alkali treated particles were carried out. Uniform copper coating was observed at pH 12 in alkali treated particles when compared to others due to the effective removal of inevitable impurities during the production and processing of commercially available B4C. A threshold pH 11 was required for initiation of copper coating on boron carbide particles. The growth pattern of the copper coating also varies depending on the surface conditions from acicular to spherical morphology. (C) 2011 Elsevier B.V. All rights reserved.