Vapour Deposition and Thermal Spray

The Vapour Deposition and Thermal Spray Team has been working in the field of tribological and corrosion protective coatings to prolong the lifetime or enhance the surface function or performance of industrial tools and wear components. The team has established core competence and expertise in coating deposition processes and materials engineering pertaining to the application conditions and performance requirements for surface wear or corrosion protection, and other functions such as dry lubrication or anti-sticking. 


Research Relevance


Research activities have concentrated on coating development using high density plasma processes and hybrid composite materials. The team has established a portfolio of technologies from coating deposition processes to a full range of mechanical and tribological characterisation. Core competencies established in the team include (1) Coating design tailored for application conditions, (2) Physical vapour deposition (PVD), chemical vapour deposition (CVD) and thermal spray deposition (TSD) processes, (3) Materials engineering for super hard and multi-functional coatings, (4) Plasma surface modification and (5) Surface and coating characterisation. More than 10 series of high performance nitride based, carbon based and oxide based hard or dry-lubricating coatings have been established for industrial applications. 


Research Focus

The current research is focused on super tough nanocomposite coatings for high temperature and high pressure wear protection and portable thermal spray system for on-site coating applications.


  • High Temperature wear and corrosion/erosion protection coatings

    Research topics include plasma enhancement behaviour and their effect on coating hardness, toughness and residual stresses as well as their dependence on coating thickness, interface physics and substrate issues, thermal stability and oxidation resistance of coating materials, matched thermal coefficient of expansion with the substrate

  • Plasma enhanced PVD process for thick dry lubricating coating to reduce friction for energy efficient  surface wear and corrosion protection

    This topic aims to develop a plasma enhanced PVD process and system to achieve thick dry-lubricating hard coating (DLC-series, M-MoS2-series, and M-oxide series) at high deposition rate without compromising the coating properties and quality to meet the increasing demand on dry-machining/running, in particular for light-weight materials for which low friction between the wearing counterparts are essential for prolonging tools/parts lifetime and also for increasing energy efficiency 


  • Customisation of tribo-coatings for precision engineering (PE) tools/components- Stamping tools/coinage dies, Thread valves/shafts, Nickel superalloy tools and components

    The focus is to customize the coating specifications based on the application conditions and performance expectation, hence to establish the performance database of the hard coatings developed in the team for various industry sectors

    Research Staff

  • Dr Zeng Xianting (Team Lead)

  • Dr Hu Jiangfeng

  • Dr Ma Yansheng

  • Dr Shi Jianzhong

  • Dr Sha Zhou

  • Mr Aw Poh Koon

  • Mr Zhao Yue

  • Mr Anthony Yeo



  • Plasma Enhanced Physical Vapour Deposition System

  • Platit Cathodic Arc Deposition System

  • Unbalanced Magnetron Sputtering Physical Vapour Deposition System

  • CemeCon HIPIMS Physical Vapour Deposition System

  • E-beam Physical Vapour Deposition System

  • Ultra-high vacuum Physical Vapour Deposition System

  • Thermal Evaporation Vapour Deposition System

  • Plasma Enhanced Polymerisation system

  • Wet/dry Micro Sand Blasting System

  • Wear/Scratch Testing System  

Contact PersonZeng Xianting(