Category: Aerospace
13. August 2015   2:00 pm
Andy Stecher

Andy Stecher
Elgin, IL

airplane

 

I’ve been doing a lot of traveling lately (primarily for work, but some pleasure, too), so airplanes have been on my mind as I’ve been spending much of my time aloft!

Plasmatreat’s Openair technology plays a key role in the safe and stable adhesion of coatings and bondings on aircraft components made of carbon-fiber reinforced plastics, as well as metals and composites.

What’s great about this technology, in addition to its reliability, is the fact that it’s both environmentally friendly and cost-effective. It’s also suitable for treatment of airplane parts of all sizes, from the very smallest (including those with complex geometries) all the way up to huge wings and fuselage components.

How does it work? The process is threefold: Plasma activates a surface via selective oxidation processes, eliminates static charges, and cleans at a microfine level. Our laboratory trials have revealed that surface energy values of more than 72 dyne are achievable, leading to improved bonding and enabling adhesion of water-based adhesive or paint systems to traditionally adhesive-resistant surfaces.

If you’d like more details on the process, please check out our article in the June 2015 issue of Products Finishing magazine. We’re always happy to answer any questions you may have at our end, too.

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Category: Aerospace
16. April 2015   8:36 am
Andy Stecher

Andy Stecher
Elgin, IL

I’m thrilled to let you know about a new partnership between Plasmatreat North America and the Ronald E. McNAIR Center for Aerospace Innovation and Research at the University  of South Carolina.

The McNAIR Center focuses on the mission areas of education, research, total workforce development, STEM program support, and economic activities. Some of their initiatives include educating engineers and also creating new design and manufacturing technology for the next generations of aircraft.

Plasmatreat has two very technically advanced, high-powered plasma generators at the Center (the 5002S and the RD1004) that assist the McNAIR team with their research and educational initiatives. We will also be partnering with McNAIR on projects, and McNAIR will share relevant data with us from tests and experiments they conduct there.

We believe, in short, that it’s a mutually beneficial partnership, and one we’re delighted to be a part of. If you have any questions, or if you’ll be in the Columbia, South Carolina anytime soon and want to plan a visit, please let us know and we’ll be happy to set it up.

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14. April 2015   3:04 pm
Khoren Sahagian

Khoren Sahagian

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May the force be with you: Not just for Star Wars anymore.

Boeing, according to reports in Popular Science and other media outlets, has been granted a patent for a plasma-generated “force field” that protects combat vehicles from the impact of explosions.

The idea is that explosions in the vicinity of the sensor-equipped vehicle trigger the rapid formation of a superheated plasma layer around the vehicle. The plasma creates a buffer zone to reduce the impact of shock waves, protecting both the vehicle itself and the occupants within it.

Even better, it’s not just land vehicles that could benefit from this incredible technology. The patent filing notes that the “protected asset” could be a surface vessel, a submarine vessel, an offshore platform, a land structure, or even “a human.”

Personally, I love the idea of being surrounded by a protective plasma shield, though I am fortunate that I don’t usually need one in the course of my daily activities! I am continually amazed by the new applications for plasma and excited to be working at Plasmatreat, which is always at the forefront of this technology.

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Khoren Sahagian

Khoren Sahagian
Materials Scientist

Editorial February 2015

My colleague, Wally Hansen, and I have just released a new review paper that may be of interest to those of you in the aerospace industry.

As you know, aerospace has had decades of experience with metal bonding, sealing, and corrosion protection. However, many of these methods have not lent themselves well to automation, and they also generate environmental waste.

But new applications are emerging for atmospherically deposited nano coatings that can address these shortcomings. These nano coatings are formed by direct injection of select vapor chemistries into the plasma jet. Such molecular surface modifications yield long-term, environmentally stable interfaces for bonding.

Cleaning

Plasma surface treatment begins with a fine cleaning of the substrate to remove loosely bound organic contaminants (on metal oxide surfaces, the oxide layer is either removed or pre-conditioned for adhesion).

Atmospheric plasma jets provide a multi-faceted cleaning action. First, the charged species within the plasma neutralizes electrostatically bound particles. Next, a vortex of pressurized gas blows away unbound solids and oils. Finally, the substrate is bombarded by reactive gas plasma species.

Low molecule weight contaminants on the substrate surface are efficiently reduced into nascent compounds and removed from the material system. This final phase of cleaning takes place on the molecular scale.

Coating

After cleaning, a different plasma jet technology deposits a functional coating. The coating thickness is controlled by parameters such as distance to substrate and speed. Coatings have been developed that simultaneously provide adhesion promotion and corrosion protection of the bond line. Furthermore, some of these coatings act as reliable tie layers, effectively bridging contact between inorganic and organic systems. There is opportunity to replace liquid primers or otherwise laborious surface pre-treatments used in composite bonding.

So far, atmospherically deposited plasma coatings have demonstrated utility as a release layer, an adhesion promoter, or a corrosion barrier. In practice, the plasma-deposited nano coating combines with conventional protective top coats to amplify corrosion resistance and suppress ingress at damage sites.

The atmospherically deposited plasma coatings show substantial improvement in corrosion performance even at a thickness of less than 500 nm.

Conclusion

Atmospheric plasma cleaning and coating can offer significant advantages in surface preparation of metals and composite systems for bonding and sealing in the aerospace industry. The technology is scalable and amenable to automation as it enables high-throughput material processing.

Furthermore, some plasma implementations are able to combine multiple process steps into a single step while reducing waste and reducing operating costs – without compromising performance.

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