Tough coating for aircraft

'Hardide is corrosion and wear resistant and extremely hard wearing,' said Hardide's Neill Ricketts. 'Its main use is in the oil and gas industry, where there are some of the harshest environments you can imagine.'

The coating, which consists of nanoparticles of tungsten carbide integrated into a dense and pore-free alloyed tungsten matrix, is produced using a low-temperature chemical vapour deposition process, which has a processing temperature of 500ºC.

This means the materials that can be coated are limited to metals suchas stainless steel and nickel, cobalt and copper-based alloys.

Hardideis now being used on the canopy of the Eurofighter Typhoon, but thecompany hopes to work towards commercial applications in aerospace,essentially using it as a chrome-replacement product.

'Airbus islooking to characterise the coating and assess the performance. Itcould be used to replace chrome, which is used extensively on engines,landing gear and avionics. It has also been used in applications ofinternal coating, where high velocity oxygen-fuelled spray (HVOF)cannot reach.' said Ricketts.

Source: 4 July 2008