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High Purity Nickel Strip for Critical Battery Applications

Friday, August 14, 2020

High Purity Nickel Strip for Critical Battery Applications

The increasing presence of batteries in countless commercial and critical defense applications, equipment and technology across multiple global sectors is a given fact. It seems that the versatility and capabilities of batteries are often taken for granted without closer consideration of the precision metallurgy and engineering involved in their creation. In many cases, top quality batteries can make the difference, quite literally, between life and death, for example in the medical or defense sectors.

To ensure that batteries maintain high levels of reliability and precision performance, the metal components that make up the overall product must also be of the highest possible quality.

15-20% higher electrical conductivity

The purity of materials is key to conductivity and battery performance. Commercially pure nickel strip offers a range of benefits for rechargeable battery applications, from excellent electrical and thermal conductivity to strong resistance to corrosion, tarnishing and chemical reactivity. High purity nickel strip is also known for its ability to combine ease of plating and good weldability with phase stability and versatility. Many of these advantages are not readily observed in more conventional cast and wrought commercially pure alloys. In fact, the high purity nickel strip produced by AMETEK Specialty Metal Products (SMP) delivers 15 to 20 per cent higher conductivity than traditional cast nickel strip and achieves results of 99.98 per cent purity.

Top quality across all sectors

The high purity nickel strip by AMETEK SMP is produced at its manufacturing facility in Wallingford, Connecticut in the United States. The pioneering metal strip business has built up more than 50 years of experience in the production of technically advanced metallurgical strips and other specialty metal products.
AMETEK SMP’s high purity nickel strip is known especially for its low electrical resistivity, homogeneity, micro-cleanliness and close compositional control that enhances weldability and extends useful life for the entire battery. It is also sought-after for its significantly low levels of surface oxides, excellent solderability and unrivalled formability – giving it a significant edge in versatility. Strip can be produced at varying degrees of hardness, as well as down to thicknesses of 1.5 microns for lighter weight and maximum customization.

Our pure nickel strip is available in flexible coil sizes is the premier material for battery connections in critical applications including power tools, medical products, oil production, hybrid electric vehicles, consumer electronics, aerospace, and defense.

The Nickel strip inside rechargeable batteries for Electric Vehicles (EVs) and Hybrid Electric Vehicles (HEVs) primarily deliver advantages around weight and size. Improved conductivity performance in batteries results in a higher transmission of power, enabling the battery tab connector footprint to be reduced and overall weight can be decreased. This opens doors to improved and smaller battery designs. These types of weight and size advantages are also beneficial in key sectors such as aerospace, automotive and in consumer electronics products such as vacuum cleaners.

As well as high purity nickel, AMETEK Wallingford also manufactures strip in nickel-iron, nickel-chrome, ductile cobalt alloys as well as Pfinodal® and AM-388® which are available for spinodal hardening for spring properties.

The science behind the metallurgical processes that creates high purity nickel strip is both complex and fascinating. The process begins with the preparation of elemental blends from high purity nickel powder. This powder is then roll compacted into heavy-gauge metal strip.

This is followed by controlled atmosphere sintering, or in other words, the powder compaction stage that forms a solid strip by creating metallic bonds between the powder particles.

Final processing is completed by standard cold-roll processing and annealing in a controlled atmosphere. The product is also technically referred to as wrought powder metallurgy strip, due to the conventional cold roll processing it has undergone following the powder compaction process.

Other high purity products from AMETEK SMP

Alongside high purity metal strip, AMETEK SMP also manufactures a range of net shapes, bars, thermal management materials and shaped wire products, all prized for their high purity and excellent performance specifications amongst customers across several sectors. AMETEK SMP’s wrought net shapes and bar products are created in a range of alloys using a Cold Isostatic Process (CIP) and Pneumatic Isostatic Forging (PIF). This patented process enables to create products with superb metallurgical properties at a low cost.

The CIP/PIF process is also used by AMETEK engineers to produce bearing materials, for example tri-cone drill bits for oil and gas down-hole applications. High purity nickel bar products from AMETEK are also used in the medical sector in x-ray equipment where precision performance is critical and can be life-saving.

Another product for the electronics and defense industries from the Wallingford facility are thermal management products. These include Molybdenum Copper (AMC) and Tungsten-Copper (AWC) composites produced through sophisticated wrought powder technology. These products offer unique properties and are used in applications where thermal management must be top priority by matching thermal expansion of semiconductors while maintaining high thermal conductivity. The composites are used in heat sinks, substrates, thermal spreaders, machined components and material blanks. AMETEK SMP thermal management products are supplied as finished pedestals with tight tolerances, finished plating available in a variety of packaging for pick and place, tape and reel, or loose product. Material can also be supplied in sheet or block form.

Finally, the engineers and metallurgists at AMETEK SMP also develop high purity, tight-tolerance custom shaped and flat wire products. These come in a range of shapes and sizes for precision customization and can be made from a large choice of alloys including AMETEK SMP’s own wrought powder metallurgy alloys, including nickel, Pfinodal®, Sealvar®, and Nickel Irons. The wire can be supplied in round, flat or square finishes and is commonly used inside lighting applications, electronic connectors, sealing wires and electrical leads.

More details on the high purity nickel strip and other metallurgical products manufactured by AMETEK SMP are available at
https://www.ametek-ct.com/products/metal-strip/high-purity-nickel-strip