Aluminum Electroplating Process Is Free of Phosphates, Heavy Metals

LumiShield Technologies’ Lumidize aluminum electroplating process is designed to serve as an effective replacement for common surface preparation technologies that are based on heavy metals and phosphates.

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LumiShield Technologies’ Lumidize aluminum electroplating process is designed to serve as an effective replacement for common surface preparation technologies that are based on heavy metals and phosphates. And unlike anti-corrosion coatings based on regulated materials such as chromium, this technology has been developed to comply with strict air and effluent regulations, the company says.

Lumidize, which can be added to existing electroplating lines, is an aqueous process that can plate aluminum oxide onto virtually any conductive substrate, particularly carbon steels. The resultant electroplate (0.1 mil or less) forms a hard barrier layer, maximizing the adhesion of organic materials and improving corrosion resistance, LumiShield says.  Once coated, those surfaces chemically bind to epoxy and urethane topcoats without the need for phosphate or primer.

The process also can be used as a standalone coating. With the application of different seals, the finish can be hydrophilic, hydrophobic or provide 200 hours of ASTM B117 salt spray resistance, the company says. It also is a fully functional replacement for phosphates and primers when applied prior to painting or powder coating. LumiShield is a spinoff company of Carnegie Mellon University and the National Energy Technology Laboratory. Plans call for Lumidize to be fully commercialized with the support of the National Science Foundation’s SBIR program.

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