Research Projects

Powdertech Surface Science has partnered with various companies and OEMs to undertake several private, EU & UK funded projects. Our expertise in surface science, pre-treatments and finishing techniques gives us the ability to test, research and advise all aspects of these key areas from conception to full production. 


Powderbond™ - Introduced in the Ariel Hipercar project 2017.
 

Powdertech has demonstrated an innovative process for bonding polypropylene glass fibre composite to aluminium. No adhesives are used at all. The process, called Powderbond™, is single stage, placing powder coated aluminium into a mold together with polypropylene and using the standard composite curing cycle. Powdertech’s development work was part of SOLMAC, an Innovate UK funded project.
 

Benefits include:
- No adhesive
- Quick, single step process
- Increased productivity
- Design freedom - You can use the best material for the job
- Over three times adhesive bond strength
- Reduced number of parts (for example, the number of parts in the Hipercar chassis is reduced by over seventy five percent).
 

We would be delighted to discuss the wide-ranging implications of adhesive-free Powderbond™ with anyone who is joining lightweight metals to composite materials.


SOLMAC stands for Structural Optimisation Using Light Metals and Affordable Composites. The project intends to take several materials and processes proven at a system level and in non-primary structure, and apply them to the production of the primary body structure of a niche automotive OEM. Specifically, novel combined pre-and post-assembly surface treatment of aluminium sheet and extruded beam sections will be integrated with affordable thermoplastic panels. By creating hybrid material sub-assemblies that are then joined using cold-cure adhesive and mechanical fasteners, it is anticipated that a lightweight solution can be delivered that exhibits significant performance, cost and environmental benefits.
 
Project Partners:
POWDERTECH SURFACE SCIENCE, ARIEL SPORTS CARS, MACNEILLE & SONS, STALCOM AUTOMOTIVE


Project OPTIMA builds on previous work by Powdertech Surface Science (Chrome-free pre-treatment technology) and the Non-Destructive Test (NDT) capability of TWI. The project will concentrate on the following developments: (i) Development of an in-line NDT method to characterise the surface metallurgy & improve consistency of the etched surface (ii) Development of an in-line NDT method for assessment, quantification and improvement of a pre-treatment coating in order to maximise performance of the overall pre-treatment process. This will enable the optimisation of process control & in future provide quality assurance for Powdertech’s cost effective chrome-free pre-treatment process for lightweight alloys that can achieve the level of performance required by Powdertech’s vehicle OEM customers.
 
We are a business-led consortium, focusing upon surface engineering & coating technologies for high value manufacturing to substantially increase bonding performance of lightweight components.

 
Project partners:
POWDERTECH LTD, EMERALD AUTOMOTIVE, TWI

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