CORDIS - EU research results

Ionic liquids as a novel electrochemical medium for radically innovative, cost effective, and environmentally friendly surface treatment technologies

Final Report Summary - IOLISURF (Ionic Liquids as a novel electrochemical medium for radically innovative, cost effective, and environmentally friendly surface treatment technologies)

IOLISURF, a Sixth framework project of the European Union, was successfully concluded in March 2009. After three years of work, the project generated substantial progress in electrodeposition; the use of non aqueous solvents as media for the deposition of aluminium and other metal coatings. IOLISURF partners dedicated most of their efforts to the use of a specific kind of solvents: ionic liquids which are organic or inorganic salts which maintain their liquid state at room temperature. With this approach, they developed processes for the electrodeposition of aluminium that was not possible up to then, solving a major stumbling block in the technology of electrodeposition. The partners also developed ionic liquid based deposition processes for silver and chromium, which could improve on the conventional aqueous bath deposition.

IOLISURF has not only developed methods for electroplating metals with aluminium, but also post-treatment methods that improve its properties and permit to use it as high temperature anti-corrosion applications.

To achieve its ambitious objectives, apart the management tasks, the IOLISURF work programme was split down into 5 work packages:
- 2 work packages were dedicated to define materials, standards, procedures and to synthesize and quality assess the ionic liquids needed for electrodeposition (WP1 and WP2).
- 1 work package (WP3) was dedicated to the development and improvement of deposition methods, to understanding the atomic level processes involved, and to the definition of the composition structure and properties of the coatings deposited.
- 1 work package (WP4) was dedicated to the set up of a small electrodeposition plant for batch processing, taking into account the need of operating in dry conditions.
- 1 work package (WP5) tested the coatings obtained in relation to standard industrial requirements.
- 1 work package (WP6) was dedicated to the management of knowledge (intellectual property rights, dissemination activities and exploitation plan).

The objectives of the work packages are described below.

WP0 -Project Management
To ensure an efficient technical, administrative, financial and strategic coordination of the project, in order to reach the goals planned within the Description of Work document.

WP1 - Preliminary activities.
a) Preliminary selection of suitable ionic liquids in function of their physico-chemical properties (conductivity, viscosity, aluminium salt solubility) with the aim to chose the moist suitable for Al-electrodeposition.
b) Materials and alloy selection, with the aim of down selecting the most promising material systems for research and study in the project work packages WP3-WP5.
c) Definition of specific coating performance tests that are to be investigated to determine how well the ionic liquid plated coatings perform.

WP2 - Synthesis and QSAR of new generation and ionic liquids for AL, Cr, alloys deposition
The goals of WP2 were threefold. The first was to develop processes and procedures for the study, synthesis, and characterisation of ILs suitable as electrolytes for the deposition of metals and alloys. The second was to understand the electrochemical behaviour and QSPR of ILs. The third was to develop procedures for the manufacture and the distribution of the ILs between the partnership.

WP3 - Electrodeposition from ionic liquids
The objective of the IOLISURF project was a decisive advance in the quality of the coatings obtainable from ionic liquids, with a specific aim towards diffuse aluminium coatings for high temperature protection of superalloys. Other applications were also examined, such as decorative coatings and black coatings for applications in the solar or heat exchanging industry.

WP4 - Post-processing and electrodeposition batch processing test device development
a) To determine whether aluminium electroplated from ionic liquids could be utilised to form adherent bondcoats as part of a TBC system for high temperature applications. A secondary aim was to assess the performance of this new coating against the classical CVD aluminised design.
b) To determine if the electroplating process of aluminium from ionic liquids could be scaled up for industrialisation.
c) To determine whether aluminium could be plated onto AlLi alloys therefore providing corrosion resistance to this class of alloy.

WP5 - Tests and industrial validation
a) To determine whether the bondcoats produced within WP4 could be a viable alternative to those produced using traditional techniques.
b) To determine whether a ceramic topcoat coating could be applied to the bond coat to make a desirable high temperature thermal barrier coating system.
c) To determine whether turbine blades could be electroplated with aluminium.

WP6-Knowledge management
- Management of knowledge and intellectual property.
- Establishment of exploitation and dissemination strategies.