The right surface treatment or coating improves the efficiency of process installations. This is a field in which TNO has substantial experience and specific technologies in house. TNO can advise you on improvements in your situation or undertake application-geared contract research.
Interaction with the environment occurs on the surface of a material whose properties, like the chemical composition and the structure, will affect this interaction and determine the friction coefficient or micro-organism fouling, among other things. These surface properties can be adjusted by modifying the surface or by applying a coating.
Coatings and surface treatment methods can help reduce friction. Applications are the inner wall of pipelines to reduce the drop of pressure and the reduction of the frictional resistance in ball bearings. TNO is currently working on an ultra-thin coating that can be applied from the gas phase in existing pipelines, thereby enabling a pipeline to be coated from the inside very efficiently to reduce the pressure drop.
Soiling and micro-organism fouling in process installations (heat exchangers, pipelines, etc.) create a loss of energy, result in less heat transfer and increase the chance of corrosion. A new approach is to nanostructure surfaces. TNO has developed a sol-gel based coating that produces a nanostructured surface. This effect limits the accretion of algae and barnacles without producing any harmful chemicals. And any material that does manage to attach itself can much more easily be removed by surface flow. The coating forms a vitreous, wear-resistant surface that boost durability in process installations.