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Anticorrosion &transparent sol-gel coatings &application technologies for metallic surfaces in automotive &aerospace

Star-dip aims to research, develop and scale-up of an innovative dip-coatable multifunctional added-value sol-gel coating formulation and the corresponding dip-coating process to improve the corrosion resistance of different metal surface automotive and aeronautics components.

Metallic finishes are highly demanded in automotive and aeronautic sectors parts because they are aesthetically attractive and hard wearing. However, most of the new finishes available are not resistant against corrosion and need to be top-coated with a clear protective coating. Thus, protecting metallic surfaces such as black metallized ABS and Al alloys against corrosion is still a challenge for several industrial sectors like automotive or aerospace. Automotive sector uses organic coatings (mainly, polyurethane -PU-) to achieve this goal while anodising is the most widespread technology to avoid corrosion of aluminum in aerospace sector. However, they don’t meet the requirements of these sectors: • 2K PU based formulations don’t fulfil the actual needs of the industry in what concerns to corrosion protection at low thicknesses (their resistance is not enough) and curing temperature (they must be cured at temperatures above 100ºC). Moreover, they change the aesthetics of the substrates. • Main anodization treatments used on Al are based on chromic acid formulations or they are porous, so, they cannot be used for applications in harsh environments. In the spirit of H2020 program, where one the topics of interest is the prevention of corrosion, STAR-DIP project aim to the development of innovative surface treatments to break the market thanks to levels of wear-resistance, corrosion protection and aesthetic appearance that exceed the best standards available today. The objective of STAR-DIP project is to develop and exploit the use of novel environment-friendly hybrid silica-based sol-gel coatings containing a variety of non-toxic transition metal and isocyanate systems as coatings densifiers for the development of green and industrially compatible coatings. Such systems are expected to provide innovative and advanced properties against the current protective systems. The main novelty of STAR-DIP is the development of tailored nanostructured coatings that can be fully stabilized at temperatures below 80ºC, while preventing corrosion and wear damages and maintaining glossy/metallic finish with cold touch after thorough exposure to aggressive environmental conditions. In addition to this, the formulation will be applied using a robust and stable dip-coating process that will be develop at a industrial pilot scale. CREST-DIT will develop the new coatings at lab scale. MAIER will develop and up-scale the new dip-coating application process in order to achieve a new product and application process with high market potential. ENBIO will upscale the production of the formulation up to 300 L batches that will be tested on two different substrates that represent two important industrial sectors: • High added value black metallized ABS car parts (Automotive sector). The purpose of Maier with this new Sol-Gel coating is to achieve a new disruptive metallic aesthetic for the premium market that allows to obtain a new range of metallic colours and to pass the demanding requirements of the OEMs. According to the product needs, MAIER will design and develop a pilot plant that will cover the scaling-up of the entire process, including: correct positioning of the parts, surface preparation and application of the protective coating by dip-coating. Also, a series of tests will be designed to optimize the process conditions at 300 L scale ensuring a good quality of the applied protective coating. It is an ambitious goal for MAIER that involves a new dip-coating process development to applicate the new coating that has not been used to date in the automotive sector. • The new product will also be tested by ENBIO on Al surfaces used for heat sink systems (Automotive and Aerospace industry). The combination of ENBIO's existing SolarBlack thermal control coating (used in the Space sector) with a sol-gel top-coat will give the SolarBlack surface corrosion protection. The SolarBlack layer does not act as a barrier coating and while this is not an issue in the vacuum of Space, it limits to exploitation of the coating as a cooling solution on corrosion sensitive materials such as aluminium in terrestrial applications. The initial target will be for a corrosion inhibiting top-coat. The innovative approach followed in STAR-DIP is based on a perfect match between the expertise of Research and Development Centres specialised in the sol-gel coatings industry (CREST-DIT) and the experience of the industrial partners (MAIER/ENBIO), providing their respective facilities and knowledge for the development of the dip-coating process and scale-up as well as effective commercial exploitation of the developed technologies after the project. This will enable STAR-DIP to offer technological solutions that exceed the best standards available today with respect to the market lead requirements of wear-resistance, corrosion protection and aesthetic appearance.
Acronym: 
STAR-DIP
Project ID: 
12 211
Start date: 
01-12-2017
Project Duration: 
30months
Project costs: 
2 620 000.00€
Technological Area: 
Industrial Manufacture
Market Area: 

Raising the productivity and competitiveness of European businesses through technology. Boosting national economies on the international market, and strengthening the basis for sustainable prosperity and employment.