Porous anodic metal oxides
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An equifield strength model has been established to elucidate the formation mechanism for the highly ordered alumina pore arrays and titanium oxide nanotubular arrays prepared via a common electrochemical methodology, anodisation. The fundamentals of the equifield strength model was the equilibrium between the electric field driven oxidation rate of the metal and electric field enhanced dissolution rate of oxide. During the anodic oxidation of metal, pore initiation was believed to generate based on dissolution rate difference caused by inhomogeneity near the metal/oxide interface. The ionic nanoconvection driven by the electric force exerted on the space charge layer in the vicinity of electrolyte/oxide interface is established to be the main driving force of the pore ordering at the early stage of the anodisation. While the equifield strength requirement governs the following formation of the single pore and the self-ordering of random distributed pore arrays during the anodisation process. Hexagonal patterned Al2O3 nanopore arrays and TiO2 nanotubular arrays have been achieved by anodisation of corresponding metal substrates in proper electrolytes. The two characteristic microstructural features of anodic aluminium oxide (AAO) and anodic titanium oxide (ATO) were investigated using scanning electron microscopy (SEM) and high resolution transmission electron microscopy (HRTEM). The observations of the hemispherical electrolyte/oxide and oxide/metal interfaces, uniform thickness of the oxide layer, as well as self-adjustment of the pore size and pore ordering can be well explained by the equifield strength model. Field enhanced dissociation of water is extremely important in determination of the porosity of anodic metal oxide. The porosity of AAO and ATO films was found to be governed by the relative dissociation rate of water which is dependent on anodisation conditions, such as electrolyte, applied voltage, current density and electric field strength. Using an empirical method, the relations between the porosity of the AAO (ATO) films and the anodisation parameters, such as electric field strength, current density and applied voltage, have been established. Besides, the extent that an external electric field can facilitate the heterolytic dissociation of water molecule has been estimated using quantum-chemical model computations combined with the experimental aspect. With these achievements, the fabrication of anodic metal oxide films can be understood and controlled more precisely. Additionally, the impacts of other factors such as the electrolyte type and the temperature effect on the morphology of the anodic products were also investigated. Some important experimental evidences on the pore diameters variation with applied voltage in the anodisation of aluminium and the titanium were obtained for future investigation of the anodic metal oxide formation processes.
Thesis, PhD Doctor of Philosophy
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