A new nanostructured coating will allow the US Navy to save money by extending the service life of machinery and other assets. The first use of the coating, developed under the Office of Naval Research Science and Technology Affordability Initiative and the DOD Dual Use S&T Program, will be as a replacement for hard chrome on a series of submarine components.
The new coating, a nanostructured version of a widely used conventional alumina-titania ceramic composite, is applied by a thermal spray process that is safe for the environment and is applied using existing commercial off-the-shelf equipment. Nanostructured materials contain particles or ‘grains’ that are smaller than 100 billionths of a metre in diameter, or 100 nanometers. Materials with this ultra-fine microstructure exhibit unprecedented mechanical properties.
The bond strength of this ceramic composite is double and the wear resistance is quadruple that of conventional alumina-titania. According to Dr Lawrence Kabacoff, the wear strength is so good that his team have had to come up with new tests to measure it!