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    An arrangement of thick metal foils for industrial use.

    Metal foils for scientific industry and R&D



    Supplying leading institutions with premium foils for R&D since 1946

    Metal foils are a staple in the world of materials science. Thanks to their versatility and ease of use, foils have been used in R&D for decades – and are present in thousands of everyday objects. Your mobile phone? Foils. The X-Ray machine at your local hospital? You guessed it – foils.

    Over the past seven decades, we've honed our scientific foils offering to suit the ever-evolving needs of research and industry. The result? One of the largest selections of premium scientific foils on the market. Our specialist foils range includes fifty elements, a diverse range of sizes, no minimum order and free global delivery as standard. But that's not all. Thanks to our skilled in-house manufacturing team, we're also able to cater to bespoke foil requirements. 


    Our scientific foils for R&D are available in a huge variety of materials, including...

    A periodic table highlighting the various elements Goodfellow's scientific foils for R&D are available in.



    Need scientific foils for R&D? Tell us your requirements and our expert team will get back to you with a no-obligation quote.


    What is a foil?

    In its simplest form, a foil is a very thin sheet of metal. However, the foils we're referring to are not the kind you can bulk buy at Costco. Foils are a popular choice within scientific industry and R&D due to their lightweight nature, ease of manipulation (e.g. cutting, shaping), and ability to fit well with other components (such as within a battery).

    Foils for R&D are available in both pure elements and alloys – meaning that there are hundreds of material options to choose from. To some, this may seem overwhelming, but it can make all the difference for those with niche requirements.

    Popular foil choices for scientific research and innovation include:

    Indium Foil
    Lead Foil
    Lithium Foil
    Platinum Foil
    Tungsten Foil


    Foil Thickness and Diameter

    Scientific foils are commonly sold in thicknesses between 0.001mm – 6mm and diameters between 10mm – 300mm. But why have such a huge range of sizes? That’s simple - required foil size can vary drastically depending on the foil’s intended purpose. For example, scientists using foils within x-ray shields would likely opt for thicker (>0.3mm) pieces than scientists using thin foils (<0.05mm) for soldering electronics. Our extensive foils offering provides thick, thin, large, and small foils for a plethora of applications. Plus – we can further modify foils if a custom dimension is needed.


    Foil Modifications

    Scientific foils are often modified to suit the intricacies of an application. Examples include cutting, shaping, and further rolling. Our in-house manufacturing team are skilled in various foil manipulation processes to suit your bespoke requirements. Need assistance with modifying foils for R&D? Get in touch today.


    Foil Tempering

    Tempering alters the behaviour and performance of a scientific foil to make it more desirable for its intended application. Below we explore three tempering types offered within our foils range: Annealed, As Rolled, and Hard.


    Annealed Foils

    The softest foil temper available from Goodfellow, annealed foils are first heated above recrystallisation temperature. They are then maintained at a suitable temperature for a set amount of time, before being slowly cooled.

    As Rolled Foils

    As Rolled is the middle range temper between annealed and hard. As the foil is rolled, stresses are added to the material. This results in foils for R&D that possess increased hardness and mechanical properties.

    Hard Foils

    Perhaps unsurprisingly, hard is the hardest form of a scientific foil, In this state, the internal stresses are at a maximum.



    What are the applications of foils within R&D?

    Since scientific foils are available in a plethora of thicknesses, diameters and materials, the applications of these materials within research and development are endless.

    As a starting point, we’ve highlighted the key applications of some of the most popular foil choices for R&D:


    Applications of Indium Foil include...

    • As a thermal interface between heat-conducting materials
    • Within laser-diode heatsinks
    • In the manufacture of thin film solar cells
    • To capture thermal neutrons within nuclear developments
    • As a sealing material in vacuum systems


    Applications of Lead Foil include…

    • As a lining in the storage of radioactive materials
    • As radiation shielding within X-Rays
    • As protective masking during electroplating (in tape form)
    • As an acoustic barrier in situations where heavy noise reduction is required


    Applications of Lithium Foil include…

    • In high-energy anode materials
    • Within lithium-ion batteries


    Applications of Platinum Foil include…

    • In supercapacitor research and development
    • Within microelectronic devices to enhance electrical capacity
    • In biosensors as an enzyme electrode probe
    • As a catalyst within chemical reactions


    Applications of Tungsten Foil include…

    • In high-temperature vacuum furnaces
    • Within electronics and semiconductor components
    • As a heat shield in high-temperature applications
    • As radiation shields for X-Rays


    Light-tight foils vs non-light-tight foils

    A light-tight foil is a foil which does not transmit light. Most foils for R&D are light-tight as standard, but - due to their delicate nature – scientific foils below 0.1mm may have small pinholes that permit light. If a foil transmits photons, it is also permeable by gas and liquid.

    The importance of whether a scientific foil is light-tight or not depends on the intended application. In sealant applications, such as vacuums and gas storage, light-tight foil is a must. But for most other foil applications, including soldering and insulation, non-light-tight foil performs just as well.

    Our comprehensive selection of scientific foils includes both light-tight and non-light-tight options to suit the complexities of your project. For further information, request a call back here. Our friendly team will soon be in touch.

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    To place a phone order:
    US:1 800 821 2870
    UK: 0800 731 4653

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    The Goodfellow Team

    Speak to our expert team by calling 0800 731 4653 (UK), or complete the form below.