Surface Engineering

Improving wear and corrosion resistance

 

Surface engineering for extreme environments

When referring to "Surface Engineering" we are looking at all those technologies designed to modify the surface properties of metallic and non-metallic components for specific and sometimes unique engineering purposes. Consequently the term "Surface Engineering" can be applied to virtually all manufactured items ranging from videotape to furniture. They have all had their surfaces "engineered" in one way or another. These surface modifications can be broadly classified into processes which:

  • Improve corrosion resistance to extend useful component life;
  • Improve wear resistance to extend useful component life;
  • Enhance the appearance of components to make them more visually attractive;
  • Impart special properties such as lubricity enhancement, non-stick surfaces etc;
  • Apply adhesives that secure threaded fasteners in safety critical applications;
  • Improve electrical conductivity;
  • Improve solderability;
  • Metallise plastic component surfaces;
  • Provide shielding for electromagnetic and radio frequency radiation;

Eco-friendly

The contribution that surface engineering processes make to improving the environment and satisfying the consumers need for better and lower cost components should not be overlooked. By improving the useful life of components, surface engineering avoids society's more frequent need to exhaust natural resources or consume energy.

For example, motor vehicles are critically dependent on surface engineered components for their extended warranties and emission controls. A painted garden seat is usually more appealing and lasts much longer than an unpainted one, a gold plated electronic switch outperforms an unplated one and a hardened engine valve will last a minimum of five years without replacement.

 

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