Within the remit of WP7 three real components have been coated with the newly developed HardAlt coatings. The three components are a rod for a shock absorber, drill bit and piston arm. The coated components are shown below. At present tests are being conducted to investigate how these components perform in their respective working environments.
Within WP2 and WP3 pure Ni-P and composite Ni-P coatings reinforced by SiC nanoparticles and MWCNTs were produced applying direct current (DC) electrodeposition technique. The effect of the electrodeposition parameters such as the applied current density, bath composition, bath pH and reinforcing particle content on the microstructural characteristics of the composite coatings has been investigated. The optimum electrolysis conditions based on the enhanced mechanical and tribological character of Ni-P nano-composite electro-coatings have been determined.
Structural, mechanical and tribological characterisation of Ni-P based coatings is in progress. The first set of coatings, pure Ni-P and Ni-P doped with SiC nanoparticles or carbon nanotubes, has been completely evaluated and data provided to all partners. Based on the results, the second set of coatings was prepared: identical coatings but post-annealed at different temperatures. This second set has undergone mechanical and tribological testing; special attention was paid to tribological mechanism and the effect of annealing temperature on structure and mechanical properties, namely hardness and elastic modulus. Again, the results have been used by project partners to further optimize deposition process and prepare third coating series, which is being tested. It is obvious now that optimum combination of post-treatment (annealing) and dopant can lead to excellent functional properties, which clearly outperform present Ni-P coatings.