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Innovnano, an expert manufacturer of high performance ceramic powders, has developed highly pure 4YSZ (4 mol% yttria stabilised zirconia) for use in suspension. This new breed of nanostructured material is ideally suited for suspension plasma spray (SPS), a powerful new method for the application of coatings, including thermal barrier coatings (TBCs) for turbine engines. Offering several key advantages over conventional coating technologies, including air plasma spray (APS) and electron beam physical vapour deposition (EB-PVD), the SPS process offers higher deposition efficiency to minimise waste and also reduces capital expenditure and process costs.
To complement this technique, Innovnano has developed its nanostructured 4YSZ powder as a stable ethanol-based suspension, which, when applied by SPS, produces coatings with unparalleled chemical homogeneity. This translates to improved mechanical and physical properties, including exceptional thermal insulation, high melting points and superior adhesion to the underlying components. Such properties ensure that the resulting coatings can withstand some of the most demanding conditions and extreme engine temperatures (up to 1400 °C). This has important economic implications, opening up the possibility of higher burn engines for enhanced fuel efficiency, while providing a more sustainable and environmentally friendly TBC solution, reducing overall carbon footprints.
As a more versatile approach, SPS can produce coatings with various morphologies, including columnar structures, enabling users to obtain specific coating properties that are optimally suited for the end-purpose. Despite this adaptability, SPS offers a substantially cheaper alternative to the conventional EB-PVD technique, not only in terms of reduced capital expenditure but also reduced running costs, enabled by the more efficient rate of deposition on the target. Furthermore, without any need for dispersants, Innovnano's 4YSZ nanostructured feedstock is a ready-to-use material for use in suspension, negating the need for complex chemistry, and ensuring that SPS can be an accessible, efficient and more economical technique for the coatings industry.
Innovnano - a subsidiary of CUF, one of the largest chemical companies in Europe - is a specialist manufacturer of industrial scale quantities of high quality nanostructured zirconia-based powders and aluminium zinc oxide sputter coating targets. With a new, purpose-built production centre, built on a modular design, Innovnano can scale-up production to 1000 tpa to meet the rapidly growing demands of industries taking advantage of high performance materials.
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