Fractal Growth Modeling of Electrochemical Deposition in Solid Freeform Fabrication

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Zhou, Jack G.
He, Zongyan
Guo, Jian

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A new rapid tooling technique ElectroChemical Liquid Deposition Based Solid Freeform Fabrication (ECLD-SFF) was introduced in this paper. In the ECLD-SFF a substrate made of or coated with conductive materials is connected to a DC power supply, and the substrate is put into a plating bath. A very thin metal pin is connected to the DC power as a positive electrode. Between the substrate and the tip of the pin there is a thin layer of metal powder. Under the effects of electric field, metal ions from electrode moving to chemical liquid will deposit onto the powder particle and growing so that the metal particles can be bound by the deposited materials to form freeform solid. By controlling the pin's movement and electrified time, a desired 3-D shape will be built through layer by layer scanning. ELCD-SFF distinguishes itself from other SFF techniques with advantages of products: high build rate, high accuracy, high density, low shrinkage and controllable microstructures. It has been found that the electrochemical deposition among metal particles during ECLD-SFF is a fractal growth process. The fractal dimension and the width of the deposited metal band are all related to electric field density, composition of electroplating liquid and processing time. Several models on the fractal growth between electrodes or metal particles were developed in order to explain these fractal growth phenomena and obtain desired process parameters and conditions for the ECLD-SFF process.



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