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Surface Engineering and Protective Coating (SEPC)

Corrosion and degradation of metal alloys usually initiate and propagate from the surfaces, which bring up safety and economic issues in various areas, e.g., aerospace, oil & gas, marine & offshore, building and infrastructure, medical implant, etc. Surface engineering and protective coating (SEPC) can provide cost-effective solutions for mitigating alloy corrosions and degradations. Through materials design and engineering, corrosion simulation and characterization, process development and validation, etc., we aim to provide deep understanding for advancing SEPC of metal alloys.

Materials of interest:

  • Steel alloys
  • Ni- and Ti-based alloys
  • Al and Mg lightweight alloys
  • Eco-friendly hybrid coating materials


Thin Film Deposition

  •  Atomic layer deposition (ALD)
  • Physical vapour deposition (PVD)
  • Chemical vapour deposition (CVD)

Protective Coating

  • Cold-spray(CS)
  • Laser-cladding (LC)
  • Twin-wire arc spray (TWAS)
  • Atmospheric plasma spray (APS)
  • High velocity oxy-fuel spray (HVOF)

Surface Treatment

  • Cold-working
  • Laser treatment

Post-Deposition/Coating Treatment

  • Thermal annealing
  • Electrochemical processing

Corrosion Test and Simulation

  • Hot-corrosion under various gaseous and/or molten salt conditions
  • Fit-for-purpose testing design (e.g., H2, H2S, SO2, etc.)
  • Corrosion and hydrogen embrittlement
  • Electrochemical corrosion
  • Salt spray

Advanced Characterization and Analysis

  • XRD powder mode (line beam, sample rotation, and fast detector)
  • XRD micro-2D mode (point beam down to 50 m diameter and general area detector)
  • In-Situ XRD (heating up to 1200 C in vacuum or desired gaseous environments)
  • In-Situ XRD (electrochemical cell adaptable)
  • Rietveld crystal structure refinement and quantitative phase analysis
  • Residual stress, texture structures, crystallographic orientations
  • Indentation and Nano-indentation (automatic control and mapping)
  • Micro X-ray fluorescence (point, line, and mapping)
  • Raman scattering spectroscopy and mapping
  • Microscopy and microtopography

Highlights / Achievements (List of Selected Patents)

  • Systems and methods for fabricating longitudinally-shaped structures
  • Photo-darkening ultraviolet protective shield and the method of processing the films of the same
  • A low-cost surface method for hardness enhancement and corrosion protection of metal alloys