The total annual estimated direct cost of corrosion, not including wear damage, in the worlds is estimated at about 3.1% of the world’s Gross Domestic Product (GDP). Protective coatings serve to prevent wear and corrosion and thus reduce the total loss from corrosion and wear. Hard chromium plating is one of the most widely used techniques for production of such coatings. However, hard chromium faces many problems: EU restrictions due to use hexavalent chromium, health issues for the plating industry personnel due to cancers events, functional defects of the coatings and low current efficiency. Thus, there is an urgent need to substitute chrome plating with an alternative one that could provide the same or even enhanced benefits that chrome has, without causing the above problems.
The target of the project is to eliminate the use of hard chromium plating in European electroplating industry by delivering a suitable alternative, which will be the nano structured Ni-P and Ni-P composite coatings (with SiC or WC as reinforcing nanoparticles).
The successful outcome of the HardAlt project will lead to the restriction or even elimination of the use of hexavalent chromium in electrodeposition industry and will not be subjected in EU legislations. As HardAlt coatings will present equal or even enhanced functional properties compared to hard chrome, they will be adopted by the metal working industry in applications where wear and corrosion resistance is of crucial importance. Significant benefit will be the customization of the HardAlt coatings in the need of each application using the same bath leading to raw materials saving and minimization of wastes from electroplating industry.
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