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.
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:
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).
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.
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.