Keronite coating makes light metals tougher
Cambridge, England— New
surface treatment technology developed by Keronite Ltd, the Cambridge-based
technology company, is set to make a significant contribution
to efforts to reduce the impact of cars on the environment. The
Keronite process enables car manufacturers to use lighter metals
in their vehicles and so cut fuel consumption and emissions.
The automotive industry is currently
under increasing pressure from governments and public opinion
to improve fuel economy and reduce CO2 emissions. According to
U.S. Government sources, every 10% reduction in vehicle weight
represents a 7% reduction in fuel consumption and associated emissions.
The obvious solution to produce lighter vehicles is countermanded
by customer demands for more on-board features and heavier vehicles
such as SUVs.
For the automotive industry,
Keronite Ltd believes that the only way to improve environmental
performance without compromising on other consumer requirements,
is an extensive program of materials substitution. The Keronite
process makes it possible to use magnesium and aluminum alloys
in place of steel - with significant attendant environmental benefits.
USCAR (US Council for Automotive Research) figures indicate that
each time 10kg of steel is replaced by 4kg of magnesium; there
is a savings of at least 100kg of greenhouse gas emissions over
the lifetime of the vehicle. This would mean a savings of 4 million
tons if every passenger car produced worldwide made such a substitution.
Keronite surface treatment technology
uses plasma electrolytic oxidation (PEO) to convert the surface
of light metals such as aluminum, magnesium and titanium into
an extremely hard, dense ceramic with outstanding properties in
terms of resistance to corrosion and wear. An immersion process,
Keronite is used to treat the inner as well as the outer surface
of the most complex shapes and is being used successfully across
a range of industries.
The Keronite process has other
environmental benefits beyond allowing material substitution.
Unlike conventional treatments, the Keronite electrolyte solutions
contain no chrome or other heavy metals, no ammonia, no acids
and the process generates no hazardous waste. Initial tests carried
out for a leading automotive manufacturer also indicate that magnesium
components coated with Keronite appear to present no problems
when it comes to recycling.