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Title: Formation of three-dimensional bicontinuous structures via molten salt dealloying studied in real-time by in situ synchrotron X-ray nano-tomography

Three-dimensional bicontinuous porous materials formed by dealloying contribute significantly to various applications including catalysis, sensor development and energy storage. This work studies a method of molten salt dealloying via real-time in situ synchrotron three-dimensional X-ray nano-tomography. Quantification of morphological parameters determined that long-range diffusion is the rate-determining step for the dealloying process. The subsequent coarsening rate was primarily surface diffusion controlled, with Rayleigh instability leading to ligament pinch-off and creating isolated bubbles in ligaments, while bulk diffusion leads to a slight densification. Chemical environments characterized by X-ray absorption near edge structure spectroscopic imaging show that molten salt dealloying prevents surface oxidation of the metal. In this work, gaining a fundamental mechanistic understanding of the molten salt dealloying process in forming porous structures provides a nontoxic, tunable dealloying technique and has important implications for molten salt corrosion processes, which is one of the major challenges in molten salt reactors and concentrated solar power plants.

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Nature Communications
Nature Publishing Group
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National Science Foundation
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    Graphical abstract

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