Forum for Science, Industry and Business

Sponsored by:     3M 
Search our Site:

 

Functional coatings from the plasma nozzle

08.05.2012
These coatings offer protection against rust, scratches and moisture and improve adhesion: Surfaces with a nano coating. A new plasma process enables these coatings to be applied more easily and cost-efficiently – on an industrial scale.

When manufacturing products, the coating technology is a key innovation driver for almost all areas of daily life – for example, for making scratch-proof displays for smart phones or anti-bacterial surfaces in refrigerators. Other coatings protect components from corrosion or aging, for example in a solar cell module or a car engine, without the end user noticing their existence.


Dr. Jörg Ihde and Dr. Uwe Lommatzsch (from left to right) have developed a new coating process for functional nano-layers, using a plasma nozzle that works at atmospheric pressure. © Dirk Mahler / Fraunhofer

In industry today, wet chemical processes or vacuum plasma processes are primarily used for coating applications. Both have drawbacks. Vacuum units are expensive, limited to smaller components and applying a coating takes a relatively long time. Wet chemical processes often involve high resource and energy consumption with the corresponding environmental damage and can also cause difficulties in the handling of material combinations for lightweight construction such as plastics/ metals or aluminum/steel.

“There has to be another way”, thought Dr. Jörg Ihde and Dr. Uwe Lommatzsch from the Fraunhofer Institute for Manufacturing Technology and Advanced Materials IFAM in Bremen. Together with Plasmatreat GmbH, the IFAM team developed a new kind of plasma coating process that works at ambient pressure, that is to say, in an open atmosphere. “And that poses a major challenge”, explains Jörg Ihde. “Because the pressure is more than 10,000 times higher and the absence of a vacuum reactor, we had to stop unwanted particles from forming and embedding in the coating. That was the key to developing robust and efficient industrial processes using the new plasma system.

One nozzle – various functional coatings
The central element is a plasma nozzle. The nozzle is no bigger than a typical spray can. Yet it contains a highly complex coating system. “In the nozzle, an electrical discharge generates small flashes - a plasma that is expelled from the nozzle in the form of a jet. We systematically feed into the nozzle outlet those materials that are excited and fragmented in the plasma and then deposited out of the plasma jet as a functional nano-layer onto the surface”, explains Uwe Lommatzsch. “We achieve extremely high deposition rates, enabling fast and cost-effective production processes to be realized.”

The use of a nozzle allows the coating to be applied very precisely and only where it is needed, thus conserving resources. “We can control the processes so that the same nozzle can be used to apply coatings with various functionalities, for corrosion protection or for increasing or reducing adhesion, for instance”, adds Jörg Ihde. Only very small amounts of coating material are required and practically all materials and material combinations can be coated. The process offers, in addition to the coating qualities and functionalities, even more benefits: it can be easily integrated into an inline production process, requires little space and is easy to automate, meaning it can be controlled via a robot. Yet another advantage: low investment costs and easy on the environment. The positive characteristics benefit industrial production: depositing an adhesion-promoting coating on a car window edge before gluing it in, to replace environmentally damaging chemicals or as a substitute for thick protective paint on printed circuit boards, which improves heat dissipation and hence prolongs service life. The process is already employed in the automotive industry and the energy sector to provide protection against corrosion and aging.

One of this year‘s Joseph-von-Fraunhofer prizes was awarded to Dr. Jörg Ihde and Dr. Uwe Lommatzsch for their development of a resource-efficient process for the high-rate deposition of functional nano-layers.

Dr. Jörg Ihde | Fraunhofer Research News
Further information:
http://www.fraunhofer.de/en/press/research-news/2012/may/functional-coatings-from-the-plasma-nozzle.html

More articles from Process Engineering:

nachricht New manufacturing process for SiC power devices opens market to more competition
14.09.2017 | North Carolina State University

nachricht Quick, Precise, but not Cold
17.05.2017 | Fraunhofer-Institut für Lasertechnik ILT

All articles from Process Engineering >>>

The most recent press releases about innovation >>>

Die letzten 5 Focus-News des innovations-reports im Überblick:

Im Focus: Neutron star merger directly observed for the first time

University of Maryland researchers contribute to historic detection of gravitational waves and light created by event

On August 17, 2017, at 12:41:04 UTC, scientists made the first direct observation of a merger between two neutron stars--the dense, collapsed cores that remain...

Im Focus: Breaking: the first light from two neutron stars merging

Seven new papers describe the first-ever detection of light from a gravitational wave source. The event, caused by two neutron stars colliding and merging together, was dubbed GW170817 because it sent ripples through space-time that reached Earth on 2017 August 17. Around the world, hundreds of excited astronomers mobilized quickly and were able to observe the event using numerous telescopes, providing a wealth of new data.

Previous detections of gravitational waves have all involved the merger of two black holes, a feat that won the 2017 Nobel Prize in Physics earlier this month....

Im Focus: Smart sensors for efficient processes

Material defects in end products can quickly result in failures in many areas of industry, and have a massive impact on the safe use of their products. This is why, in the field of quality assurance, intelligent, nondestructive sensor systems play a key role. They allow testing components and parts in a rapid and cost-efficient manner without destroying the actual product or changing its surface. Experts from the Fraunhofer IZFP in Saarbrücken will be presenting two exhibits at the Blechexpo in Stuttgart from 7–10 November 2017 that allow fast, reliable, and automated characterization of materials and detection of defects (Hall 5, Booth 5306).

When quality testing uses time-consuming destructive test methods, it can result in enormous costs due to damaging or destroying the products. And given that...

Im Focus: Cold molecules on collision course

Using a new cooling technique MPQ scientists succeed at observing collisions in a dense beam of cold and slow dipolar molecules.

How do chemical reactions proceed at extremely low temperatures? The answer requires the investigation of molecular samples that are cold, dense, and slow at...

Im Focus: Shrinking the proton again!

Scientists from the Max Planck Institute of Quantum Optics, using high precision laser spectroscopy of atomic hydrogen, confirm the surprisingly small value of the proton radius determined from muonic hydrogen.

It was one of the breakthroughs of the year 2010: Laser spectroscopy of muonic hydrogen resulted in a value for the proton charge radius that was significantly...

All Focus news of the innovation-report >>>

Anzeige

Anzeige

Event News

ASEAN Member States discuss the future role of renewable energy

17.10.2017 | Event News

World Health Summit 2017: International experts set the course for the future of Global Health

10.10.2017 | Event News

Climate Engineering Conference 2017 Opens in Berlin

10.10.2017 | Event News

 
Latest News

Ocean atmosphere rife with microbes

17.10.2017 | Life Sciences

Neutrons observe vitamin B6-dependent enzyme activity useful for drug development

17.10.2017 | Life Sciences

NASA finds newly formed tropical storm lan over open waters

17.10.2017 | Earth Sciences

VideoLinks
B2B-VideoLinks
More VideoLinks >>>