Speciality coatings for metal surfaces in extreme environments

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Stepped section of titanium component coated with SolarBlack

Technology abstract

ENBIO, a Dublin-based SME, has developed thermo-optical coatings to withstand extreme temperatures and harsh radiation environments. Their patented application technique yields coatings of 2-150 microns in thickness, preserving fine surface details as well as substrate heat treatment properties. The coatings are suitable for complex or delicate structures, and are VOC-free and inorganic. ENBIO is seeking partners to exploit these high performance coatings in demanding applications.

Technology Description

Three thermo-optical coatings have been developed by ENBIO for space applications:
 
SolarBlack – selected as the baseline for the main heatshield on the Solar Orbiter

  • High solar absorptance: αs = BOL 0.93 – EOL 0.94 (Titanium)
  • High emittance, ε100 °C:  BOL 0.74 – EOL 0.76 (Ti at 100 °C)
  • High thermal stability (-150 °C to 550 °C)
  • Qualified EUV stability
  • Typical thickness 2 – 10 microns

 
SolarWhite – currently undergoing qualification for the Solar Orbiter mission

  • Low solar absorptance: αs = 0.17 (Ti)
  • High emittance: ε100 °C = 0.8 (Ti at 100 °C)
  • High thermal stability (-150 °C to 550 °C)
  • UV stability
  • Typical thickness 150 microns

 
SuperBlack – Designed to improve on SolarBlack’s capabilities, SuperBlack is a ceramic coating that is currently under development by ENBIO

  • High solar absorptance: αs = BOL 0.97 (Ti)
  • High emittance, ε100 °C: BOL 0.90 (Ti at 100 °C)
  • High thermal stability (-150 °C to 550 °C)
  • UV stability
  • Typical thickness 60 microns

 
The coatings, developed in collaboration with ESA and Astrium, are designed to withstand extreme temperatures and high radiation environments while maintaining their thermo-optical properties. The coatings are inorganic and VOC-free and are applied using ENBIO’s patented one-step CoBlast technique.
The CoBlast process is dry, non-toxic (REACH compliant), and is performed at ambient temperature and pressure. The technique achieves excellent coverage and adhesion while preserving complex heat treatment properties of the substrate. Both the coatings and the CoBlast technique can be tailored for specific applications.

Innovations & Advantages

Coatings:

  • Customisable
  • No heat-affected zone (HAZ)
  • Suitable for complex and delicate structures, with little mechanical or thermal effect
  • VOC-free
  • Robust to AIT activities
  • Wide thermal stability range
  • Maintain emissivity values in vacuum environments

Application technique:

  • One-step (high speed and efficiency)
  • Ambient temperatures and pressures 
  • ‘Green’ process (i.e. low environmental impact)
  • Customisable
  • Expanding range of eligible substrates
  • High level of coating/substrate integration
  • REACH-compliant with no export restrictions

Further Information

Current and Potential Domains of Application

ENBIO’s SolarBlack coating was developed to withstand the extreme conditions of space and will be used as the baseline for the Solar Orbiter main heatshield. The CoBlast process has been used to apply adhesive primers and fluoropolymers to metal substrates.
Potential domains of applications include:

  • Oil & gas
  • Energy
  • Chemical processing
  • Adhesive bonding
  • Hydrophobic coatings