Novel Coating Technologies for Neutrino Focusing Horns

Period of Performance: 06/12/2017 - 03/11/2018

$150K

Phase 1 SBIR

Recipient Firm

Faraday Technology, Inc.
315 Huls Drive Array
Englewood, OH 45315
Firm POC
Principal Investigator

Abstract

This technology addresses the need for a cost effective, simple and environmental benign process to replace the current electroless nickel coating on Neutrino Focusing Horns, which are commonly made of aluminum. One big challenge for depositing a coating on aluminum is that a special pretreatment is required owing to the highly reactive nature of aluminum. As a result, even though the electroless Ni coating has been the most successful coating thus far for Neutrino Focusing Horns, the complexity and environmental concerns regarding the large amounts of hazard chemical usage have triggered the need for a cost effective, simple, environmentally benign alternative process. This Phase I program will develop a cost effective, relatively simple, environmentally benign, electrochemical finishing approach to clean and texture the aluminum surface followed by direct electrodeposition of nickel on the aluminum horn surface. The proposed process will be a drop-in replacement for the current electroless deposition process at DOE facilities, requiring only a change in the power supply and electrolyte, and possibly some racking modifications. Phase I will demonstrate the feasibility of applying pulse reverse electric fields combined with an environmentally benign electrolyte to prepare a functionalized, smut free aluminum surface for subsequent electrodeposition of Ni. Coupons that have been electrofinished will be coated with nickel, and possibly nickel alloys, and subsequently qualified for thickness, corrosion resistance and adhesion, and compared with the required Department of Energy specifications for the Neutrino Focusing Horns. Finally, the economics and safety concerns of the process will be evaluated to ensure that it meet the needs of DOE. Phase I will facilitate a smooth transition to an alpha-scale demonstration during Phase II. Direct electroplating on aluminum or aluminum alloys is of critical importance in the plating industry nationally and worldwide. The proposed environmentally benign plating technique also has the potential to positively impact society by reducing the hazard chemical usage, and enhance the usage of the aluminum in various applications.