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Nanometal Coating Improves Durability of Composite Tooling
Tooling made from carbon fiber composites is used extensively in pre-production manufacturing but has had limited use in production environments because of surface durability issues. Hard metal surface coatings have been attempted in the past, but they tended to be porous, brittle, and of poor thickness uniformity. Applying a hard, ductile surface coating is now possible with Nanovar, a low thermal expansion, hard metal coating from Integran Technologies Inc.
Nanovar is nanostructured, meaning the metal grains are 1000× smaller than conventional metals, resulting in hardness similar to a tool steel. In contrast to other solutions that rely on brittle metal oxides to achieve hardness, Integran’s nanostructuring process results in a ductile material, which further enhances robustness. Adhesion through repeated thermal cycling is achieved by closely matching the thermal expansion of Nanovar to the carbon composite substrate.