Low density foams are used for a variety of applications, including catalytic supports, battery anodes, microporous membranes, and laser fusion targets. The technique for making replica carbon foams described in this paper has been previously reported[I] and involves a process in which an inorganic substrate (sodium chloride) is infused with a carbonizable polymer. After carbonization, the substrate is removed by a leaching process and the wet foam is dried; the resultant foam is referred to as replica carbon. This paper describes improvements in the processing which result in a smaller pore size and improved foam homogeneity.
The original substrate is the single most important factor affecting the resultant structure. Techniques to improve the uniformity of the substrate and the translation of substrate anomalies into the final product are described.