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Details of Grant 

EPSRC Reference: GR/R15696/01
Title: Novel Plasma Electrolytic Treatment Processes To Improve the Wear & Corrosion Performance of Light-Alloys
Principal Investigator: Matthews, Professor A
Other Investigators:
Leyland, Dr A
Researcher Co-Investigators:
Project Partners:
BAE Systems ION Coat Ltd QCoat Ltd
Wallwork Heat Treatment (Birmingham) Ltd
Department: Engineering
Organisation: University of Hull
Scheme: Standard Research (Pre-FEC)
Starts: 01 April 2001 Ends: 31 January 2003 Value (£): 265,267
EPSRC Research Topic Classifications:
Materials Processing
EPSRC Industrial Sector Classifications:
Aerospace, Defence and Marine Manufacturing
Related Grants:
Panel History:  
Summary on Grant Application Form
Plasma electrolysis (PE) is a novel treatment process which is carried out in a liquid electrolyte. The relative lack of size and geometrical constraints compared to vacuum-plasma processes and the low-cost, environmentally-friendly precursor materials, constitute a very attractive and flexible technique for industrial use. However, although many of the phenomena intrinsic to plasma electrolysis methods have been known for some time, there remain uncertainties regarding process optimisation, control and consistency/repeatability. PE techniques offer step-changes in improved wear and corrosion performance for non-ferrous materials such as magnesium, aluminium and titanium, which certain industries, particularly those based in aircraft and automotive applications, are increasingly required to use for mechanical, load-bearing and tribological parts. This research project will investigate a range of PE treatment approaches. Magnesium alloys in particular (but also aluminium alloys) will be studied, whilst at the same time evaluating -and improving understanding (and thus control) of- the process phenomena occurring during plasma electrolytic surface treatment. Four main activities are proposed: a) A preliminary selection of the principal parameters that influence the stability of each type of discharge (e.g. for PES methods, parameters facilitating or impeding gas liberation on the electrode). b) Studies of the influence of the discharge conditions on the metal electrode (i.e. treated component) surface characteristics and performance. c) Development of hybrid/duplex techniques for optimising the surface wear and friction characteristics of Mg- and Al- alloys (e.g. two-stage AC + DC-pulse methods to incorporate low-friction materials (e.g. MoS2, h-BN) into the near-surface of an oxide treatment). d) Application of improved treatments to end-user components for initial in-field trials, to confirm the commercial viability of the process.
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Further Information:  
Organisation Website: http://www.hull.ac.uk