Final Report: Combustion CVD: A Clean Alternative to Chromium Electroplating

EPA Contract Number: 68D99058
Title: Combustion CVD: A Clean Alternative to Chromium Electroplating
Investigators: Hendrick, Michelle
Small Business: MicroCoating Technologies Inc.
EPA Contact:
Phase: I
Project Period: September 1, 1999 through March 1, 2000
Project Amount: $70,000
RFA: Small Business Innovation Research (SBIR) - Phase I (1999) RFA Text |  Recipients Lists
Research Category: Nanotechnology , SBIR - Pollution Prevention , Pollution Prevention/Sustainable Development , Small Business Innovation Research (SBIR)


The goal of this work was to develop a coating that can replace chrome plating in one or more specific applications. The project was organized such that most of the development revolved around real world applications, wherein a collaborating company has an interest in replacing chrome in a particular application. Since chrome is used in so many different applications, developing a ?generic? replacement is not possible. Consequently the only feasible way to approach this project was to work with identified, real applications in close collaboration with our customers.

The coating deposition technique used was Combustion Chemical Vapor Deposition (CCVD). The CCVD process is able to deposit thin films in the open atmosphere using inexpensive precursor chemicals in solution. The process does not use furnaces, vacuum equipment or reaction chambers. In the process, precursors are dissolved in a solvent which typically also acts as the combustible fuel. All of this solution is atomized to form submicron droplets by means of a proprietary Nanomiser?. These droplets are then carried to a flame where they are combusted. A substrate is coated by drawing it over the flame plasma.

Summary/Accomplishments (Outputs/Outcomes):

An identified chrome replacement application was the focus of this research. The name of the company involved or the details of the work performed cannot be divulged here. The coating of interest was a single layer oxide coating less than 0.5 im thick. The coating was developed to provide specific surface properties to a ferrous substrate. The combination of the coating and the substrate effectively replaced another substrate material traditionally chrome plated. The coating functioned as desired and has been in testing and performing well for multiple months.

An additional focus of this project investigated the wear resistance of thin film Cr2O3 coatings compared to traditional chrome plating. The results of these experiments indicated that the Cr2O3 coatings must be crystalline, as expected, and possibly thicker than many coatings classified as ?thin films?


Coatings developed using the CCVD process can be used in chrome plating replacement applications. At this point in the process development, thin films are the most common coatings produced, so the plating application targeted is important. Applications that require certain surface properties provided by the chrome are the most viable. More research must be done to identify the proper material/thickness combinations in applications that require extreme wear resistance.

Journal Articles:

No journal articles submitted with this report: View all 1 publications for this project

Supplemental Keywords:

Strategic Alliance, Real Options Theory., RFA, Economic, Social, & Behavioral Science Research Program, Scientific Discipline, Toxics, Waste, Water, Sustainable Industry/Business, hexavalent chromium, National Recommended Water Quality, Chemical Engineering, cleaner production/pollution prevention, Chemistry, Technology for Sustainable Environment, New/Innovative technologies, Incineration/Combustion, Engineering, Hazardous, 33/50, Engineering, Chemistry, & Physics, Market mechanisms, Economics & Decision Making, cost reduction, chromium & chromium compounds, clean technologies, plating bath chemistry, environmentally benign coating, combustion chemical vapor depostion (CCVD), combustion chemical vapor deposition (CCVD), Chromium, clean technology, electroplating, coating processes, electroless plating, pollution reduction, cost effective, pollution prevention, alternative coatings, coatings, cost effectiveness, green technology