Nanostructured PVD Smart Wear Resistant Coatings for In-Situ Health Prognostics

Period of Performance: 06/24/2009 - 06/24/2011


Phase 2 SBIR

Recipient Firm

Tribologix Inc.
80 Compark Road
Dayton, OH 45459
Principal Investigator


Having successfully demonstrated the concept of a smart wear resistant coating during our phase I project we shall design and fabricate a smart wear resistant PVD coating and sensor package for 3 distinct commercial applications: (1) jet engines, (2) cutting & forming tools and (3) friction and wear test devices. Modern PVD wear coatings can protect parts from wear induced failure, however, it is difficult to determine the remaining extent of coating life. This scenario leads to early part replacement on arbitrary schedules with unnecessary cost. A smart wear coating, in gradient or layered composition, can be monitored as its property varies predictably with the remaining coating thickness. Film life monitoring can be accomplished by observing the spectral response of the coating with a low cost light/photodiode package sensor. BENEFITS: One-third of all usable, device-produced energy is lost to friction and wear and reactive maintenance costs three times that of planned maintenance, costing industry and consumers billions each year. Energy waste, friction and wear greatly affect product reliability, maintainability, safety, service, life and environmental factors. An ASME study indicated that energy savings through tribology research and development including turbomachinery, and industrial machinery and processes could well exceed $51,000,000,000 per year. Turbomachinery is the primary energy producing device for the Air Force warfighter and depots spend billions of dollars each year on both planned and unplanned maintenance. A more aggressive deployment of wear resistant coatings in jet engines can reduce both planned and unplanned maintenance. Smart coatings can reduce unplanned maintenance by providing real time health condition monitoring as well as give design engineers the confidence to add more wear resistant coatings to critical components.