Medical implants (primary interest): - Bone to metal joining in the orthopaedic implants sector (benefits in initial bone regrowth/ keying and longer term load transfer through the joint).
Heat exchange (both electronics and process plant) (primary interest): - To promote efficient transfer in both passive and active environments; of special interest in fluid cold plate applications (where heat transfer and pressure-drop characteristics are important).
Transport structures (secondary interest): - Joining of metallic to composite materials, metallic-polymer and dissimilar metallic combinations for aerospace and road vehicle applications.
The Electron Beam Section has established a world lead in the design of electron beam (EB) equipment and materials processing techniques. The ability to use the beam as a surface modification tool opens many prospects for beneficial use but is under exploited. The surfaces created are novel and visually interesting with some published supporting data but their properties and functional performance characteristics are largely undetermined.
Many feasibility studies have been completed for a range of small and large companies over the decade since the technology was invented and patented by TWI. This project will result in an improved understanding of the Surfi-Sculpt® process, how it is best applied and the properties of the resulting functional surfaces (metallographic and mechanical) with significant focus given to relevant industrial needs. In part the project will determine the most suitable fields of application and the properties data which is required by those sectors, and as far as practical, generate that properties data to allow improved justification of prospective use.
TWI has seen early stage, and more advanced, interest in Surfi-Sculpt® process evaluation from customers across a range of sectors, prominent amongst these are:
- Medical implants:
- Bone to metal joining in the orthopaedic implants sector (benefits in initial bone re-growth/keying and longer term load transfer through the joint)
- Heat exchange (both electronics and process plant):
- To promote efficient transfer in both passive and active environments; of special interest in fluid cold plate applications where heat transfer and pressure-drop characteristics are important)
- Transport structures:
- Joining of metallic to composite materials, metallic-polymer and dissimilar metallic combinations for aerospace and road vehicle applications
- Coating adhesion:
- Local and widespread change to surface texture characteristics to promote polymer coating adhesion to, for instance line pipe surfaces to ensure long term surface protection
The main applications for the evaluation of Surfi-Sculpt® feasibility are:
- Medial implant surface improvement
- Electronics thermal management heat exchange
- Process plant thermal management heat exchange
- Aerospace dissimilar materials joining
- Automotive dissimilar materials joining
- Pipeline coatings adhesion improvement
The project objectives are as follows:
Review of application possibilities, competing technology characteristics and industry requirements to be met.
Develop data base of surface generation processing routines using the EB (and possibly laser) technology for common engineering materials to produce surfaces with defined, and industry relevant geometries.
Characterise and test surface feature performance for the above, and other appropriate applications, using industrial relevant techniques to define the required industry data for a number of test cases.
Investigate application of the technique to larger (>2,500mm2) surface areas and curvi-linear surfaces to extend bounds of capability using available equipment.
Increase licensing income from Surfi-Sculpt®.
Relevant Industry Sectors