Research Projects

­Corrosion-resistant and resilient multicomponent coatings for electrochemical devices

Project leader: Per Eklund

Partners: Linköping University, Uppsala University, SWEREA KIMAB, Impact Coatings, Sandvik Materials Technology, DTI, SAFT

Multicomponent alloys, typically including 4 or more elements, exhibit unique chemical and physical properties and therefore attract growing interest in the materials science community. Multicomponent alloy thin films offer unprecedented opportunities for tailoring resilience and extreme corrosion resistance, enabling exceptionally corrosion-resistant steels and other metal alloys, while simultaneously retaining good electrical properties/conductivity. The outcomes of the project will enable implementation of multicomponent-alloy surface treatments in application such as bipolar contact plates for low-temperature PEM fuel cells, high-temperature SOFCs, and batteries.

In FunMat-II, the overall research question to be addressed is the development and fundamental understanding of the emerging class of multicomponent coating materials, with focus on metallic alloys and nitrides/carbides. The role of substrate roughness, macroscopic defects, and preparation methods on coating growth and phase composition will be investigated in detail to enable the development of multicomponent alloy coatings with unprecedented resistance to corrosion, cladding/adhesion, and/or mechanical resilience.

Data-driven design of novel hard coatings

Project leader: Igor Abrikosov

Partners: Linköping University, Sandvik Coromant, Seco Tools

We will explore the emerging concept of data-driven materials design, significantly enhancing its capability by disclosing fundamental structure-property relations and addressing the key challenge of the method, a definition of reliable search targets, so called descriptors. We will focus on new wear resistant multifunctional coatings, optimizing the coating’s thermal stability, chemical inertness, mechanical integrity, and thermal conductivity. Our interest is to predict properties expected to be important for hard coatings for metal cutting tools, such as hardness, toughness (especially at application relevant temperatures) and friction/interaction with the work piece materials to be cut.

High-temperature properties of nitrides for hard coating applications

Project leader: Igor Abrikosov

Partners: Linköping University, Sandvik Coromant, Seco Tools

At industrial machining the coating is subject to high working temperature (≈1000 °C) and pressure (≈2 GPa). The temperature dependent effective potential method (TDEP) was developed in our group and it revealed the significant effect of anharmonicity on the thermal stability of TiAlN hard coatings and was successfully used to predict the elastic constants and elasticity anisotropy at elevated temperatures. Within FunMat-II we will utilize the efficient TDEP technique and other advanced theoretical approaches to explore the dynamical properties of novel hard materials at high temperature. The obtained results will be used to advance the high-throughput search of novel hard coatings in the project Data-driven design of novel hard coatings.

Spatially-resolved diagnostics of highly-ionized plasmas

Project leader: Grzegorz Greczynski

Partners: Linköping University, CemeCon, DTI, Plansee, Ionbond, Sandvik Coromant, Seco Tools

In situ plasma diagnostics is essential for understanding the connection between basic process parameters and the resulting film nanostructure during film growth. We will set up a platform for evaluating the plasma properties based on optical and electrical probe techniques. The aim is to reach a detailed understanding of HiPIMS and cathodic arc plasmas and its relation to the target design and material.

Nucleation and growth on technologically-relevant substrates

Project leader: Grzegorz Greczynski

Partners: Linköping University, CemeCon, DTI, Plansee, Ionbond, Sandvik Coromant, Seco Tools

Ionized PVD-methods like HiPIMS and cathodic arc supply high fluxes of metal-ions to the growing film surface. The incident ion flux and the ion energy can be controlled to densify deposited layers through effective low-energy recoil generation and near-surface atomic mixing, thus substituting for thermal diffusion. This can enable film growth at reduced substrate temperatures, which can expand PVD process envelope to temperature-sensitive substrates. In FunMat-II we will study nucleation and growth from ionized sources (cathodic arc and HiPIMS) to improve the fundamental understanding and develop methods to grow dense coatings with good adhesion on technologically-relevant substrates.

Defects in industrial tool coatings

Project leader: Magnus Odén

Partners: Linköping University, Sandvik Coromant, Seco Tools

Defects such as point defects, stacking faults and grain boundaries have a large impact on the macroscopic properties of a material. The fundamental understanding of various defects present in hard nitride coatings is still very much incomplete. In FunMat-II we aim to understand the nature of defects and their relative importance in hard nitride coatings and to understand their influence on the mechanical properties. The approach is a combination of experimental and theoretical work.

Wear mechanisms of hard coatings

Project leader: Lina Rogström

Partners: Linköping University, Sandvik Coromant, Seco Tools

The industry is continuously striving to develop coating materials with an improved wear resistance for the design of next generation high performance cutting tools. To optimize the material properties, knowledge on the wear mechanisms on an atomistic scale during machining is crucial. Within FunMat-II, we use a combination of electron microscopy and high-energy x-ray diffraction techniques to target the behavior of the tool coatings during machining. We identify the wear mechanisms by studies in situ as well as ex situ cutting operations.

Measurement of elastic properties

Project leader: Lina Rogström

Partners: Linköping University, Sandvik Coromant, Seco Tools

Elastic properties for thin films are difficult to characterize, due to for example substrate influence, while experimental data is required to verify the theoretically predicted values. For many hard coating applications, the high temperature properties are important and high temperature measurements of elastic constants are even rarer and techniques still need to be developed. In FunMat-II we will use optical techniques to determine elastic properties of hard coatings as a function of temperature. The results will be used to verify theoretical calculations of elastic properties. An experimental setup for high temperature experiments will be designed and commissioned and used to determine elastic properties of hard coatings.

Educational seminars

Project leader: Emma Björk

Partners: Linköping University, Swerea KIMAB

The sum of knowledge and competence of the research and industrial organizations participating in FunMat-II is very high, and significant new knowledge will further be gained within the center. Spreading this information within the center, as well as sharing our expertise with external universities and industries, will strengthen the competitiveness in Swedish industries.

In FunMat-II we arrange 2-3 open seminars yearly with speakers both from the center as well as invited experts. The seminars can be directed towards a broader audience or focusing on cutting edge research for university staff and high technology industries.

Read more about our seminars under Activities.

Education

Project leader: Emma Björk

Partners: Linköping University, Oskarhamns kommun

Swedish industry is in continuous need of new employees with relevant education in materials science. The project addresses the question on how the ratio of high school students, especially females, continuing with science and technology studies at universities could be increased. Graduating more students with a materials science education requires both more students that enters the university education, and also study curriculums designed to ensure good knowledge in materials science. Thus, active work must be done to inspire more young people to proceed to the university, and to adapt educational methods to decrease the step between secondary high school and university. In addition, the course curriculum at university level can be adapted to the requirements of material science knowledge within Swedish industry.

In FunMat-II we have designed a program where high school students yearly interact with people from the university to raise the interest for higher education. Also, high school teachers are trained further in material science. In addition, the gap between industrial needs and course curriculum within material science is identified to develop new material science courses.