Our research on surface engineering seeks to develop the next generation of protective coatings by various technologies, including cold spray, physical vapor deposition and electrodeposition. We also have active research on ‘duplex’ coating that make use of more than one coating technology to provide a single surface modification. Our research ranges from fundamentals of the coating processes to develop new understanding and new, innovative coatings to research on state-of-the-art coatings currently being used in industry.
We study the degradation mechanisms of coatings, including various modes of wear and corrosion. A particular focus is placed on in situ methods used to directly observe wear. Coupled with ex situ characterization, we seek to describe in detail wear mechanisms, third body flows and velocity accommodation modes that control friction and wear. Detailed structure-property relationships are developed to fully understand coating performance. This knowledge helps us when we engineer new coatings.
We use nanomechanical and micromechanical testing for coatings, thin films and third bodies formed during wear testing. These techniques have also been applied to other projects, including: residual stress in electrical steels, mechanical properties of avian eggshells, natural reed materials and hydroxyapatite coatings.