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Towards Novel Multi-Functional Surfaces – <br/>Development of Innovative Plasma Surface Alloying Technologies

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Novel green treatment for functional surfaces

EU researchers have introduced a new plasma technique for thermochemical treatment that improves corrosion and wear resistance of surfaces. Medical implants, fuel cell plates, solar panels and tiny mechanical devices will be the recipients of some good fortune if the technology is exploited to create innovative products.

Industrial Technologies icon Industrial Technologies

Direct current (DC) plasma techniques for thermochemical surface treatment are widely used to improve surface hardness, corrosion resistance and fatigue life of steel components. These methods involve alloying steel surfaces with interstitial elements such as carbon or nitrogen. Despite the potential of these techniques, no plasma technology has so far been developed that can generate multifunctional surfaces by alloying with both interstitial and substitutional elements. Within the MULTI-SURF (Towards novel multi-functional surfaces – Development of innovative plasma surface alloying technologies) project, researchers successfully leveraged a new triple-glow plasma technology by synergising the double-glow plasma and active-screen plasma technologies, to create functional stainless steel surfaces. The surfaces combined both interstitial elements (carbon and nitrogen) and substitutional elements (silver, platinum and niobium). Using this new plasma technique, researchers successfully developed high-performance steel surfaces for two applications. These included antibacterial stainless surfaces for medical and food processing devices, and surfaces with low interfacial contact and high corrosion resistance for fuel cell bipolar plates. The team filed a patent application for this newly invented technology, which was dubbed triple-glow plasma. MULTI-SURF technology is expected to further improve the efficiency and cost effectiveness of plasma thermochemical surface treatment technologies, which are already widely recognised as environmentally friendly processes.


Functional surfaces, plasma, thermochemical, surface treatment, alloying, MULTI-SURF

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