Themes

Electrochemical Process

The Electrochemical Process Team works on the development and application of various aqueous solution-based electrochemical processes, including electroplating, electroless plating, anodising, and high precision electroforming. The areas that the team can effectively engage with the local industry are electrochemical processes for coatings, waste treatment, as well as micro/nano-structuring. 

 

 


Research Relevance

The Electrochemical Process Team concentrates on traditional surface finishing techniques, such as electroplating, electroless plating, metal etching and anodising. Expertise within the team provides assistance to companies requiring support in these areas as they look to expand into new industry sectors including aerospace, automotive, electronics, medical and health care, Oil and Gas and marine. 

More efforts have been put to bridge the technology gaps arising from the demands for sustainable manufacturing, such as lead-free coatings, chrome-free pre- and post- treatments, hard chrome replacement, metal replacement with metallised polymer composites, and non-conventional ultra-precision manufacturing. 

Advanced coating technologies have been developed to meet the industry needs for solutions of corrosion and wear. In particular, plasma electrolytic oxidation (PEO) of light metals and metal matrix composite coatings have been successfully applied for anti-corrosion, anti-friction and anti-wear. 

With increasing emphasis on sustainability and better utilisation of natural resources, one major area of activity is in usage reduction, recovery and recycling of energy and resources. Particularly, we have noticed that treatment of organic wastewater is increasingly becoming a challenging issue to many companies due to lack of low cost and high efficiency technology. Electrochemistry-based oxidation processes can make major contributions in this area. To enhance the efficiencies of the electrochemical processes, recent R&D work has been focused on advanced photo-electro catalysts by collaborations with universities.

 

Research Focus

  • Micro/nano fabrication processes: -

      • UV photolithographic patterning

      • Nano imprinting

      • Micro electrodes/sensors on polymer

      • Micro/nano features on metal

      • Metallic and ceramic micro/nano-sieves

  • Deposition processes: -

      • Metallic glass and nano-crystalline coatings

      • Anodic synthesis of oxide based catalysts for wastewater treatment

      • Rapid deposition of metal alloys

      • Low stress electroforming

      • Brush plating and applications for remanufacturing

      • Nickel based composite coating for anti-corrosion, anti-wear and anti-friction

      • Metallisation of high performance polymer and polymer composites

  • Surface modification and protection: -

      • Self-assembled-monolayer (SAM) for surface protection from corrosion

      • Surface passivation by conversion coating for decorative and protective applications

      • Electrophoretic coatings for anti-corrosion

      • Anti-static surface coating and treatment

      • PEO coatings for protection of light metals

 

 Research Staff

  • Dr Huang Zhaohong (Team lead)

  • Dr Qi Guojun

  • Dr Dong Xuecheng

  • Dr He Wei

  • Dr Tan Yong Teck

  • Dr Yan Wenjin

  • Dr Saw Eng Toon

  • Dr Wu Weiyi

  • Dr Veluru Jagadeesh Babu

  • Dr Huang Yinsong

  • Mr Liu Fengmin

  • Ms Zhou Yujie

  • Ms Lu Haijing

  • Ms Michelle Nguyen

  • Mr Lee Xiaohua

  • Mr Ang Kun Liang

  • Mr Chio Qi Xun

  • Mr Kat Li Heng

     

    Facilities

  • Nickel electroforming system

  • Magnesium and aluminium anodising process lines

  • Electroless nickel plating line

  • Brush plating system

  • Chemical etching system

  • Plasma cleaning and dry etching systems

  • Dry film laminator

  • UV exposure system

  • UV/Aligner system

  • Nano-patterning and alignment systems

  • High speed jet plating system

  • E-AOP system for wastewater treatment

  • Pervaporation testing line with 3 module slots

  • Total Organic Carbon (TOC) Analyser

  • Chemical Oxygen Demand (COD) Analyser

  • Biological Oxygen Demand (BOD) Analyser

  • High accuracy particle counter

  • SpectroDirect water quality analyzer

  • eXact Micro 20 Photometer

  • Solartron SI 1287 Electrochemical Interface

 

Contact PersonHuang Zhaohong(zhhuang@SIMTech.a-star.edu.sg)
Approach

The research team carries out collaborative research and development projects with academic institutions and industry partners, both locally and internationally. It co-develops various metal and metal oxide coatings, processes and products with companies, and promotes technology transfer for the manufacturing industry through seminars and training courses. 

 

Research Directions

  • Micro/nano fabrication of high precision components

  • Polymer surface modification and activation for adhesion enhancement of electroless plated metal coatings

  • Device design, bath formulation and process control for rapid electrolytic deposition of metal alloy coatings

  • Simulation of electrochemical processes for uniform coatings on complicated surfaces

  • Molecular design and coatings for metal surface protections

  • Advanced manufacturing technologies for environmental engineering

  • Galvanic corrosion protection of dissimilar-metal structures by multi-layered coating

Expertise

The research team has been working on electrochemical processes for more than 10 years, with a portfolio of technologies and well established capabilities ranging from device design, formulation of chemical baths, process simulation and control to coating and surface characterisations.

  • Failure analysis of coatings on various base materials

  • Photo-chemical and photo-electrochemical fabrication for high precision components

  • Design, simulation and fabrication of high speed electrodeposition system

  • Design and fabrication of electrochemical treatment systems of industrial wastewaters

  • Metal matrix composite dry lubricant coating for thread joints

  • Metal matrix composite super-hard coatings for Oil and Gas applications

  • Low stress electroforming for micro/nano surface texturing

  • Metallisation of ceramics and polymer based composites

  • Plasma electrolytic oxidation (PEO) of light metals for anti-corrosion

  • Anti-static coatings of aluminum alloys

  • Solid-liquid separation and wastewater treatments

  • Valuable materials recovery from solid and liquid wastes