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 A water treatment breakthrough, inspired by a sea creature
27.11.2018 | Yale University

nachricht Research project AutoAdd: Paving the way for additive manufacturing for the automotive industry
22.11.2018 | 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: Data use draining your battery? Tiny device to speed up memory while also saving power

The more objects we make "smart," from watches to entire buildings, the greater the need for these devices to store and retrieve massive amounts of data quickly without consuming too much power.

Millions of new memory cells could be part of a computer chip and provide that speed and energy savings, thanks to the discovery of a previously unobserved...

Im Focus: An energy-efficient way to stay warm: Sew high-tech heating patches to your clothes

Personal patches could reduce energy waste in buildings, Rutgers-led study says

What if, instead of turning up the thermostat, you could warm up with high-tech, flexible patches sewn into your clothes - while significantly reducing your...

Im Focus: Lethal combination: Drug cocktail turns off the juice to cancer cells

A widely used diabetes medication combined with an antihypertensive drug specifically inhibits tumor growth – this was discovered by researchers from the University of Basel’s Biozentrum two years ago. In a follow-up study, recently published in “Cell Reports”, the scientists report that this drug cocktail induces cancer cell death by switching off their energy supply.

The widely used anti-diabetes drug metformin not only reduces blood sugar but also has an anti-cancer effect. However, the metformin dose commonly used in the...

Im Focus: New Foldable Drone Flies through Narrow Holes in Rescue Missions

A research team from the University of Zurich has developed a new drone that can retract its propeller arms in flight and make itself small to fit through narrow gaps and holes. This is particularly useful when searching for victims of natural disasters.

Inspecting a damaged building after an earthquake or during a fire is exactly the kind of job that human rescuers would like drones to do for them. A flying...

Im Focus: Topological material switched off and on for the first time

Key advance for future topological transistors

Over the last decade, there has been much excitement about the discovery, recognised by the Nobel Prize in Physics only two years ago, that there are two types...

All Focus news of the innovation-report >>>

Anzeige

Anzeige

VideoLinks
Industry & Economy
Event News

ICTM Conference 2019: Digitization emerges as an engineering trend for turbomachinery construction

12.12.2018 | Event News

New Plastics Economy Investor Forum - Meeting Point for Innovations

10.12.2018 | Event News

EGU 2019 meeting: Media registration now open

06.12.2018 | Event News

 
Latest News

Data use draining your battery? Tiny device to speed up memory while also saving power

14.12.2018 | Power and Electrical Engineering

Tangled magnetic fields power cosmic particle accelerators

14.12.2018 | Physics and Astronomy

In search of missing worlds, Hubble finds a fast evaporating exoplanet

14.12.2018 | Physics and Astronomy

VideoLinks
Science & Research
Overview of more VideoLinks >>>