The objective of the project is the creation of metal surfaces for construction applications with multifunctional properties in an eco-friendly and a time efficient way by atmospheric plasma processing. The three key words we aspire to attain by exploring the following strategy:
- Multifunctional means that depending on the application several properties are required at the same time for optimal performance. Hence, we will explore various coating chemistries (with different functionalities) using the atmospheric plasma technology, to create metal surfaces with optimal performance.
- Eco-friendly means the use of organic solvent free systems based on health & environmentally friendly chemicals (chromium6+ and fluoride-free), and with reduced total energy cost. This we will achieve by exploring atmospheric plasma technology for the surface treatments using benign chemicals, including the possibility to deposit gradient coatings and co-deposition of an organic layer with metal oxide nano-particles for improved (self-healing) properties.
- Time efficient means reducing the number of separate processing steps. This we will also achieve by following the atmospheric plasma processing route, which can in one process set-up pre-clean and activate a metal surface, and deposit an in-situ polymerised layer.
We aim to develop an "all-in-one" atmospheric plasma polymerised hybrid (organic/ inorganic) surface treatment procedure for metals. This surface treatment combines and replaces the separate conventional wet pre-cleaning, activation, conversion and primer procedures.
We specifically aim at two types of coatings with dedicated functional properties:
- For outdoor metal exposure: a preconditioning coating with good adherence to the metal, good bonding with the overlying paint finish, durable barrier properties and a self-healing ability (inhibitor release) for long-term corrosion protection.
- For indoor metal applications: a surface finishing coating with tailored functional appearance (metallic look, colour, reflectivity etc) that can be predicted using optical modeling procedures.
Know-how: The screening of various atmospheric plasma polymerised coating chemistries with different functionalities, morphologies and resulting properties will create extensive know-how on the possibilities of plasma deposition for multifunctional surfaces. This know-how can be used for the development of other coatings with other properties and for other application fields such as automotive, aerospace, packaging, electrical engineering, household appliances etc.