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Method for producing tailored nanostructured metal coatings

Organization:Xtalic Corporation, MA, US
I.P. Brief:a highly reproducible electrodeposition method for producing precisely-tailored, ultra-hard ‘nanocrystalline’ metal coatings. The coating process is robust, allowing coatings to be deposited with uniform, controlled thicknesses ranging from micrometers to millimeters, and with microstructures tailored at the atomic level to allow easy customization of coating properties for specific applications
Summary of I.P.:Nanocrystalline metals present new physics that can result in superior materials that possess properties and combinations of properties not previously accessible. Thus the materials produced by our technology will find use in a wide range of applications, and particularly in those applications where a hard coating is required. One short term opportunity for our technology is in the replacement of hard chromium coatings. While the hard chromium process is currently the dominant hard metal coating technology, it has a number of important processing and performance shortcomings. Foremost among these are major environmental, health and safety concerns, which have led to progressively more severe regulation over the past decades, including new workplace regulations recently promulgated by OSHA. Xtalic’s coatings can be produced to have properties equal to or exceeding those of hard chromium, and our process offers significant advantages, including markedly decreased environmental hazards. We intend to leverage Xtalic’s technology’s performance and processing advantages to comprehensively replace hard chromium as the technology of choice for hard metal coatings.
Patent:
Keywords:Nanocrystalline, nanostructured, metals, alloys, coatings, electrodeposition, plating, electrochemical processes
Primary Industry:Materials
Specific Market:Hard metal coatings
Market Size:The dominant hard metal coating technology today is the ‘hard chromium’ process. The international market for functional hard chromium coatings is $3.2B annually, while the market for decorative coatings of this type is $15.9B
State of the Art:The current predominant technology is traditional electrochemical plating, and in particular the hard chromium process. No existing alternative can replicate the breadth of applications served by hard chromium.
Figures of Merit:This technology allows the user to tailor the metal properties to precisely fit the application, and gives the user new flexibility to create product functionality that has not previously existed. The manufacturing process also eliminates many of the current health, safety and environmental issues associated with hard chromium plating.
Tech.  Obstacles:The primary technical challenge is to scale the process to the industrial level. Also, to fully access the market it will be necessary to develop a simplified system operable by less sophisticated users.
Market Obstacles:The primary commercial challenges are to identify potential users and convince them to switch from hard chrome to this new, more robust technology. The milestones we need to reach to achieve these goals include (i) clearly articulate the value proposition of this technology for different market segments, (ii) identify the market leaders in each segment, (iii) form relationships with market leaders, including strategic partnerships, and (iv) leverage these relationships to access broader markets.
Publications:No relevant publications that are publicly available.
Research Team:Team has more than 40 years of research and industry experience. Prof. Christopher Schuh, Chief Science Officer, Associate Professor in the Department of Materials Science and Engineering at MIT. Dr. Alan Lund, Chief Technical Officer Glenn Sklar, Technical Director Andrew Detor, Technical Consultant, Co-developer of Xtalic’s technology

 

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