The Commerce Department’s National Institute of Standards and Technology has announced that it will renew a multiyear research award under the Advanced Technology Program to Praxair Surface Technologies Inc. (Indianapolis, Ind.) for research on technology to apply high-quality ceramic coatings to the internal surfaces of cylindrical parts. A practical technology for such coatings would improve the durability and reliability of heavy equipment because ceramic coatings are far more resistant to corrosion and wear than the electroplated chrome coatings now in use.
The NIST award renewal is for $115,835. The three-year project, begun in 1995, is projected to receive a total of approximately $793,000 in ATP funding, matched by approximately $400,000 in industry funding.
Advanced Technology Program awards are designed to help industry pursue risky, challenging technologies that have the potential for a big pay-off for the nation’s economy. ATP projects focus on enabling technologies that will create opportunities for new, world-class products, services and industrial processes, benefiting not just the ATP participants but other companies and industries—and ultimately consumers and taxpayers. The ATP’s cost-shared funding enables industry to pursue promising technologies that otherwise would be ignored or developed too slowly to compete in rapidly changing world markets.
Detailed information on this project, Ceramic Coating Technology for the Internal Surfaces of Tubular/Cylindrical Components, is provided below.
Surface coatings are expected to be among the most helpful and persevering of technologies, underlying the performance and extending the service life of vital parts in aircraft engines, earth-moving machines—virtually any equipment expected to operate reliably under the most hostile of conditions. A major advance in coating technology can yield substantive benefits that fan out to many industrial sectors. Praxair Surface Technologies, Inc. (PST) is striving for that kind of advance: a reliable, cost-competitive technique for applying ceramic coatings to the internal surfaces of cylinders, a shape common to many types of parts. In heavy equipment, for example, hydraulic cylinders convert the rotational force of an engine or electrical motor into the linear force required for lifting and other tasks. Ceramic coatings are well known for their capacity to resist abrasive wear and corrosion, far superior to that of electroplated hard chrome plate, the most common coating used by manufacturers of cylindrical components. Ceramic surface treatments are expected to offer an up-to-tenfold improvement over electroplated chrome, but the industry lacks a reliable coating process. PST will work with Surface Solutions Inc. (SSI) to develop, test, and evaluate a promising, but experimental, coating technology invented by SSI. Early work with SSI's linear magnetron sputtering process indicates that it has potential for applying uniform, high-quality ceramic coatings to the internal surfaces of steel cylinders, but the innovative technology has been demonstrated only on a very small scale. Little is known about the many processing variables that must be precisely controlled to achieve uniform deposition of coatings on the surface, a challenge that grows more demanding as the length of a cylinder increases or its diameter decreases. If technical barriers are overcome, according to preliminary estimates, ceramic coatings could be applied as cheaply as hard chrome plate, but without generating the hazardous wastes that are an unwanted byproduct of electroplating. Anticipated benefits of ceramic coatings include substantially increased service life of parts and products ranging from aircraft landing gear, trucks, and tractors to oilfield pumps, heat exchangers, and gun tubes.
Praxair Surface Technologies, Inc.
Technologies: Materials Processing for Heavy Manufacturing
Project length: 3 years
ATP funds: $793 K
Cost-shared funds (est.): $400 K
Total project funds (est.): $1,193 K
Contact: Dr. Robert C. Tucker, Jr., (317) 240-2539