Copper Nanopowder

Copper Nanopowder - Introduction

Nanomaterials are widely used in various fields of technology and engineering. One of the unique features of nanomaterials is that their properties vary from bulk material, even when the composition is exactly the same. Their properties are very easy to change and can be done by altering their shape, size and chemical environment.

Copper is a spongy metal with high thermal and electrical conductivity. The copper nanoparticles are round in shape and the powder is in the shades of black or brown. Copper is sometimes combined with other metals to form numerous alloys, for example, brass which is a copper -zinc alloy because of its super soft nature that is not apt for some applications.

Copper nanoparticles falls into the category of highly flammable solids and hence they must be stored very carefully and away from the sources of ignition. These particles are harmful for the aquatic life as well, so proper care should be taken while handling them.

Properties Of Copper Nanopowder

They are extensively used in many industries owing to their high electrical conductivity, high melting point, low electrochemical migration behaviour and low cost. The properties of the particles mainly depend on the synthesis route and the process parameters followed.

Copper Nanopowder Manufacturing Process

There are several methods which are used in the manufacturing of copper nanoparticles. Electrodeposition method is considered as the easiest and apt method and therefore is used mostly. An acidified aqueous solution of copper sulphate and additives is used as an electrolyte for the process.

When the input DC voltage is altered with a continuous current, a spongy layer of copper particles is deposited on the cathode. The particles are usually categorized and evaluated by XRD and UV-Vis. Scanning electron microscopy (SEM) and transmission electron microscopy (TEM) is used for the surface morphological classification.

Humid conditions tend to affect the dispersion performance and usable properties of copper nanoparticles, therefore it is important that the material should be sealed under vacuum and stored in a cool and dry place. The material should not be in contact with air or be under any kind of stress.

Applications Of Copper Nanopowder

The primary applications of copper nanoparticles are mentioned below:

  • They act as an anti-biotic, anti-microbial, and antifungal agent when added to plastics, coatings, and textiles.
  • They are widely used for EMI shielding.
  • Heat sinks and highly thermal conductive materials.
  • Works as an efficient catalyst for various chemical reactions and for the synthesis of methanol and glycol.
  • Widely used as sintering additives and capacitor supplies.
  • Conductive inks and pastes containing Copper nanoparticles can be used as an alternative for very costly noble metals used in electronics, displays, and transmissive conductive thin film applications.
  • Used in the superficial conductive coating processing of metal and non-ferrous metal.
  • Production of MLCC internal electrode and other electronic components in electronic slurry.
  • They are Ideal Lubricant additives.
  • Medicine append material and capacitor materials.
  • They are used as a raw material for bulk nanomaterial. Adopts the inert gas to make bulk copper nanocomposite material with powder metallurgy.

Handling Of Copper Nanoparticles

  • It should be gently placed and any violent vibration and friction should be avoided.
  • The nanoparticles should be prevented from moisture, heat, impact and sunlight.
  • The user should be a professional and well- equipped to handle the materials.

Synthesis Of Copper Nanoparticles

Some of the methods used for the synthesis of copper nanoparticles are:

Chemical Reduction Method

One of the methods for the synthesis of copper nanoparticles is the reduction chemical method. In this technique, a copper salt is reduced with the help of reducing agent such as polyols, sodium borohydride, hypophosphite.

Salzemann et al used microemulsion method to synthesize nanoparticles of copper with size of 3-13 nm. Copper nanoparticles are also synthesized by the reduction of Cu2+ in solutions of poly (acrylic acid)-pluronic blends, which results in a stable solution of metallic copper with a particle size below 10 nm.

Photochemical Method

In this process, the system is excited by radiation and thus it is produced active reducing agent such as radicals, electrons and excited components. This method has an important advantage compared to chemical reduction and it removes impurities at low temperature.

Electrochemical Method

It is also termed as electrolysis method. This process was used to reduce metal ions since a very long time. Yang et al. reported synthesis of copper nanorods using electrochemical method. The mean diameter of a copper nanorod was equal to ca. 30 nm. A novel electrochemical milling method is used to produce copper nanoparticles and nanofibers.

Thermal Decomposition Method

It is a chemical decomposition caused by heat. Kim et al. synthesized copper nanoparticles by using thermal decomposition of Cu-oleate complex, which was prepared by the reaction with CuCl2 and sodium oleate in aqueous condition.

There is one more method in which copper oxalate is used as a precursor to make metallic copper nanoparticles by thermal decomposition.

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