Introduction to the ECCO 'Free Energy' technology if you are not familiar
Figure 1: A sample of finished Nickel foil ready to be made in to balls to form breathing fuel barriers and discharge electrodes
One of three possibilities:-
- Stainless Steel 304 (SS304) which comprises of Iron and
17.5–20% chromium, 8–11% nickel, and less than 0.08% carbon, 2% manganese, 1% silicon, 0.045% phosphorus, and 0.03% sulfur
- Mild steel, which is Iron and 0.05–0.25% Carbon
- Nickel, in which case there is an increased nickel deposition rate as the Nickel anode serves as Nickel ion source
SS304 metal strip of thickness 2mm
The substrate for Nickel deposition is SS304. This is desirable in this case since its relative inertness (compared to mild steel) due to the Chromium Oxide passivation layer (Cr2O3) reduces the adhesion fastness of the deposited layer making later removal of the Nickel foil easier (see Note 1).
Lab quality Nickel Sulphate 16.5% by weight in distilled water with no other additives
The deposition on the cathode is done from the plating solution with ultrasonic pulsed discharge in apparatus similar to this.
Figure 2: A similar process designed by the inventor of ECCO to treat titanium bar
However, when making Ni foil, it is not a continuous feed process, instead, the cathode is moved in a backward and forward motion in front of the stationary anode.
200 volts maximum is used for the discharge at just enough distance to start a plasma, this is typically up to five centimetres. Current varies wildly however the average power is maintained below 90-100 watts by limiting current and varying pulse width in a control loop. The plasma is of a 'dusty' type and given the electrode composition, the dust component will at least contain Carbon and Iron nanoparticles.
Figure 3: In this stop motion animation, you can clearly see the plasma between the separated electrodes
The DC pulse rate frequency is 300 kHz achieving a deposition rate of 1.5 to 2 micron per second.
Figure 4: Nickel foil electrodeposition process
The 'Hybrid Ultrasonic Hydrogen plasma method' was invented by Suhas Ralkar and results in his so called 'Ni Ion Implantation'
The foil is de-laminated using a direct coupled high freq ultrasonic strip vibration surface wave process. The approximate power for the de-lamination technique is less than 20 watts and based on this graphene production related paper.
The frequency for de-lamination varies between 4 and 8 MHz however, the optimum frequency is not fully established yet because not many repetitions have been done, so the process has yet to be optimised and can be considered still in development. Theoretically the oscillation must form surface wave to assist in the de-lamination.
Nickel plating does not normally easily adhere to SS304 unless the SS has first had a process called 'Nickel Strike'. This is essentially an acidic nickel containing process that removes the oxide passivating layer (Cr2O3) from the SS and deposits a thin layer of Nickel ready for standard plating.
One should therefore not 'nickel strike' the cathode since the aim here is to de-laminate the nickel from the substrate to make nickel foil.
“Wood's nickel is the most popular [nickel strike method]. It consists of a highly acidic, low efficiency, all chloride nickel solution prepared with 250 g/L nickel chloride, 250 mL/L conc. HCl, rest DI water. Operated at room temp, 20-100 a/sq-dm, anodes pure nickel.”
“In general, nickel can be stripped from steel relatively easily, but not as easily from stainless steel because they are somewhat similar.”
Source: Finishing.com forums for plating Nickel onto SS304
By not removing the passivation layer, the later stripping process should be made easier.