A significant number industries in the Great Region have recourse to plasma surface treatments. These treatments are undergoing considerable development. Moreover, the Great Region is a first-rate area in Europe for its academic work on surface treatment processes. These processes are well adapted to the treatment of flat objects, and under certain conditions they can be used to treat complex three-dimensional shapes.
However, over the next ten years, these operators will have to adapt their surface treatment tools to coat 3D surface parts, such as those obtained by additive manufacturing, for the industrial, transport or energy sectors. To do this, they will have to use pulsed plasmas, which are complex to control due to the different time scales involved, the difficulties posed by the synthesis of materials and the specificities resulting from interactions with surfaces.
PULSATEC’s objective is to help cross-border operators already relying on such processes and those wishing to invest in them, and to provide them with systemic support on these advanced technologies in order to improve their performance, open up their product offerings, and optimize their production lines.
The consortium composed of university laboratories and public research centres is organised to cover actions from technological maturity levels of 2-4 on a scale of 9 to be carried out by the project operators; but also on technological maturity levels of 3-5 with a partnership of 5 methodological operators.
On the one hand, it is planned to launch 5 theses in co-supervision between the Universities of the Great Region on the fundamental aspects which concern the development of 3D surfaces, the growth of coatings by pulsed plasma, the in-situ control in real time of the process and the methods of study of surface properties.
On the other hand, the project also aims to treat concrete cases presented by industrialists using plasma surface treatments to modify parts with complex geometry and thus offer new opportunities on competitive markets.
Plasma processes are high industrial technologies that allow, among other things, the production of coatings from just a tens of nanometres to tens of microns with high performance and high added value on all types of materials: metals, plastics and elastomers, glass, ceramics, composites, textiles, etc.
Recent research work has focused on the possibilities of pulsing plasmas by studying more particularly the influence of the frequency and intensity of the pulses. The results are extremely interesting because they show that it is possible to have a better control of plasma chemistry and the effects of ion bombardment on the surface.
Within the framework of the PULSATEC project, this would improve the homogeneity of coating of complex surfaces.