A novel freeze-casting device utilizing a thermoelectric element for high precision temperature control allowing for dynamic freezing conditions of freeze-cast materials is presented. Freeze-casting is a processing route for producing materials of anisotropic porosity in the form of aligned and well-defined microchannels. In freeze-casting, particulates of a material are suspended in a fluid and a thermal gradient is applied across for directional freezing. Controlling the thermal gradient across the suspension amounts to controlling the kinetics and freezing direction in the suspension and thus the resulting structural features and dimensions of the microchannels. The performance of the device presented here was evaluated by directional freezing of both water and aqueous ceramic suspension samples using both linear and exponential freezing profiles. The freezing front was successfully tracked by continuously measuring the temperature gradient along the sample using thermocouples directly mounted on the freeze-casting mold. The current minimum operational temperature of the freeze-caster is ∼220 K, with freezing front velocities in the range of ∼5 μm/s to 30 μm/s for sample lengths of 5 mm–25 mm.
Christiansen, C. D., Nielsen, K. K., & Bjørk, R. (2020). Novel freeze-casting device with high precision thermoelectric temperature control for dynamic freezing conditions. Review of Scientific Instruments, 91(3), . https://doi.org/10.1063/1.5134737