A method of fabricating a heat exchanger includes brush electroplating plated layers for a brazing alloy onto a stainless steel tube in thin layers, over a nickel strike having a 1.3 .mu.m thickness. The resultant Au-18 In composition may be applied as a first layer of indium, 1.47 .mu.m thick, and a second layer of gold, 2.54 .mu.m thick. The order of plating helps control brazing erosion. Excessive amounts of brazing material are avoided by controlling the electroplating process. The reticulated copper foam rings are interference fit to the stainless steel tube, and in contact with the plated layers. The copper foam rings, the plated layers for brazing alloy, and the stainless steel tube are heated and cooled in a vacuum furnace at controlled rates, forming a bond of the copper foam rings to the stainless steel tube that improves heat transfer between the tube and the copper foam.
STATEMENT REGRADING FEDERALLY SPONSORED RESEARCH OR DEVELOPMENT
This invention was made with Government support under United States Department of Energy Contract No. DE-AC09-96SR18500 awarded by the United States Department of Energy. The Government has certain rights in this invention.