Surface Technologies (Surftec) industrial R&D group
Coatings are used primarily to protect underlying materials from temperature, wear and corrosion, as well as to enhance performance of materials such as reducing friction, improving electrical insulation or conduction, improving adhesion, wettability, magnetic performance, etc. Coating applications in gas turbine engines (industrial and aerospace), landing gears, automotive, and oil & gas, primarily, sometimes require very expensive or environmentally-unfriendly manufacturing processes such as vacuum vapour deposition or large environmentally-harmful chemical baths.
Despite the cost and/or manufacturing impacts, these coatings are used because of the enormous fuel savings and/or extension of service life they provide to engine parts, landing gears and pipeline components. Thermal spray technologies provide a low-cost alternative to these processes with the promise of similar or superior results in atmospheric conditions or without the need for a chemical bath.
In thermal spray, rod, wire or powdered coating materials are typically melted using a spray torch and applied over base materials, or substrates. Flame, arc, plasma, high-velocity oxygen-fuel (HVOF) and cold spray are the major types of thermal sprays present in the market.
The NRC Advanced Surface Technologies (Surftec) Industrial R&D Group provides a cost-sharing platform for game-changing surface technology development. Just as NRC was considered one of the pioneers in Suspension Plasma Spray (SPS) technology via Surftec work in the early 2000s, it expects to continue to hold NRC's spot as a world leader in new developments in this area in the future.
What is Surftec
Surftec, operating since 1995, consists of projects with R&D technical themes related to thermal spray coatings. It includes members from across the thermal spray value chain, from equipment and feedstock suppliers, to users and service providers, to original equipment manufacturers and maintenance organizations. The primary industries targeted by Surftec include aerospace, industrial gas turbines, automotive and oil & gas. Members from other industries are welcome as well.
The focus of the R&D themes is based on market-driven research and development for cost reduction, process optimization and commercialization of new thermal spray materials, equipment and processes related to surface coatings. The primary purposes of coatings produced by thermal spray are related, but not limited to:
- Thermal barriers for protecting parts from high temperature oxidation and corrosion, such as in gas turbine engines where higher temperatures translate to better fuel efficiency;
- Environmental barriers for protecting parts from corrosive or erosive materials/fluids, such as protecting ceramic matrix composites (CMCs) for next-generation gas turbines;
- Anti-wear coatings for applications including industrial gas turbines, oil and gas pipelines and fixtures, landing gears, automotive engines, etc.;
- Corrosion resistant coatings for gas turbines engines, automotive, and oil and gas industrial applications;
- Hard-chrome process replacement (for environmental protection reasons).
Why join Surftec
- Surftec provides a vehicle to de-risk R&D investment through cost-sharing among the members with significant additional leverage from NRC investment and sponsorship.
- Surftec provides an excellent opportunity to network with peers from across the entire value chain, as well as with competitors, but in a non-competitive environment (as opposed to, for example, trade shows).
- Members gain access to current and valuable thermal spray market analysis.
- Membership includes access to selected NRC background intellectual property and all NRC arising intellectual property (IP) as a result of the Surftec R&D projects.
- Surftec provides a way for members to prove their products against similar or benchmark products in an unbiased environment using the latest technologies.
- Membership provides increased insight into the NRC's capabilities in this field with the ability to launch "spin-off" projects one-on-one to explore the particular needs of any given member for developing an idea into a marketable product.
Specific benefits include, but are not limited to:
- Further cost reduction and improved performance of Thermal and Environmental Barrier Coatings (T/EBCs) for gas turbine engines;
- The development of low-cost processes for columnar microstructures of T/EBCs for turbine blades via SPS;
- The selection and development of torch(es) and processes for spraying Internal Diameters (IDs) via HVOF and other methods;
- Providing a non-biased test platform and team for validating processes, equipment, and feedstock;
- Market analysis, understanding and reporting for members;
- New material, feedstock, spray technologies formulation;
- New/improved surface preparation or activation of bond coat;
- New testing tools or methods.
How Surftec works
- Surftec members pay only a fraction of the R&D with co-funding from the NRC and other sponsoring organizations. The R&D projects are executed by the NRC.
- The R&D performed in Surftec is decided by the industrial members and members contribute to the R&D roadmap, ensuring continuous alignment with the needs of the industry.
- The results are presented in biannual meetings and the R&D objectives are proposed and discussed regularly with the members.
- Intellectual property developed within the R&D group is protected and managed by the NRC, allowing both flexibility for sharing third-party, unbiased results and process protection to maintain the competitive advantage of members.
Current Surftec projects
The roadmap of Surftec R&D projects is currently being expanded and developed in collaboration with members. Broad themes include:
- Aerospace & industrial gas turbines
- Internal Diameters via ID-HVOF and ID-HVAF
- General thermal spray development
- Thermal spray 4.0
- Technology watch & IP management
For more information about the current projects, please contact us below.
Polly-Lee Moore, Surftec Project Manager
Dr. Rogerio S. Lima, Senior Research Officer, Surftec Research Lead
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