Configuration of the surface topography

Digital microscope for the analysis of surfaces.
© Fraunhofer IST
Digital microscope for the analysis of surfaces.

The Fraunhofer IST can customize your surfaces specifically for the application

Surfaces are in contact with counter bodies, and here even a single micron can make a difference. The topography thereby has a significant influence on the function of the surface. The machining processes are of particular relevance here. Typically, processes such as milling, turning and grinding are applied; these, however, do not fulfill the required functional properties. In order to enhance the functionalization of the surface for complex applications in tools and components, alternative smoothing methods such as blasting, polishing or electrochemical processes are often applied.

Functional does not have to be glossy

These technologies can also be used in combination. All materials behave differently to the mentioned processes, which increases the complexity involved in determining the suitable topography for the application. The Fraunhofer IST can provide substantial support in the selection of the appropriate process and the required topography. The surface topography has a significant influence on:

  • the coefficient of friction, 
  • the wear behavior (abrasion, adhesions, etc.),
  • the coating adhesion,
  • the corrosion behavior and
  • on the gloss and appearance of the surface.

Measurement technology for demanding surfaces

Confocal laser microscope: analysis of battery particles.
© Fraunhofer IST
Confocal laser microscope: analysis of battery particles.

At the Fraunhofer IST, a comprehensive range of measurement technology is available for describing the surface. This includes several tactile and optical measuring procedures as well as light microscopy and scanning electron microscopy (SEM). 

Blasting facilities

Manual blasting facility for a wide variety of blasting media.
© Fraunhofer IST
Manual blasting facility for a wide variety of blasting media.

By means of differing blasting processes, surfaces can be leveled and structured. At the Fraunhofer IST, a range of differing injector blasting facilities and pressure-fed blasting systems are available for this purpose. These can each be operated with different blasting media. A distinction can hereby be made between abrasive blasting media, such as silicon carbide, and gentle blasting media, such as glass beads. 

Microscope image of silicon carbide for application as blasting medium.
© Fraunhofer IST
Microscope image of silicon carbide for application as blasting medium.
Microscope image of ceramic beads for application as blasting medium.
© Fraunhofer IST
Microscope image of ceramic beads for application as blasting medium.
Microscope image of nutshells for application as blasting medium.
© Fraunhofer IST
Microscope image of nutshells for application as blasting medium.

Electropolishing

DryLyte facility for high-gloss polishing of complex geometries.
© Fraunhofer IST
DryLyte facility for high-gloss polishing of complex geometries.

The Fraunhofer IST has at its disposal a new technology for the surface finishing of metallic surfaces. The process is dry electropolishing, which creates uniformly polished surfaces. It is based on the DryLyte technology.

Further information

 

From research

Anti-adhesive systems for plastics molding