Metallization of plastics
The metallization of plastic surfaces is an important technical process for manufacturing numerous products. The Fraunhofer IST offers competencies in the field of activating and modifying plastic surfaces using environmentally friendly plasma processes, both in a vacuum and under atmospheric pressure, and in the area of wet chemistry galvanic processes. Here the main focus is on the metallization of new plastics and novel, environmentally friendly processes. Replacing toxic hexavalent chromium compounds that frequently have to be used for the chemical pretreatment of plastics is the objective. The Fraunhofer IST has developed pretreatment methods in this context that eliminate wet chemistry treatment steps. Carbon fibre reinforced plastic (CFRP) is increasingly coming into focus in the field of new plastics. CFRP materials have tremendous strength notwithstanding their low weight. The Fraunhofer IST has developed processes for the metallization of CFRP components so they can be used, for example, as antennas in aviation and aerospace. Metallized plastics are also used in EMC shielding, to protect against electrostatic discharge (ESD) and for lightning protection.