Electrodeposition of magnetic, superhydrophobic, non-stick, two-phase Cu–Ni foam films and their enhanced performance for hydrogen evolution reaction in alkaline water media
Two-phase Cu–Ni magnetic metallic foams (MMFs) with tunable composition have been prepared by electrodeposition taking advantage of hydrogen co-evolution as a source of porosity. It is observed that Ni tends to deposit inside the porous network defined by the Cu building blocks. Contact angle measurements reveal that the prepared porous films show a remarkable superhydrophobicity (contact angle values larger than 150°) and a non-sticking property to aqueous droplets. This behavior is predominately ascribed to the morphology of the films – hierarchical micro/nanoporosity, wall thickness, and spatial arrangement. The electrochemical activity and stability towards hydrogen evolution reaction of the Cu–Ni MMFs has been investigated by cyclic voltammetry in 1 M KOH at 298 K, and the optimal Ni content is found to be 15 at%. Furthermore, all the foam-like films exhibit ferromagnetic behaviour due to the presence of the Ni-rich phase, with coercivity values ranging from 114 Oe to 300 Oe. From the technological point of view, the Cu–Ni MMFs are promising candidates for magnetically-actuated micro/nano-electromechanical systems (MEMS/NEMS) and micro/nanorobotic platforms with a large surface-area to volume ratio or in magnetic sensors or separators.