September 11, 2012
7:30- Speaker: Dr. Ronghua Wei
Program Director, R&D
Southwest Research Institute
Plasma Surface Engineering and its Practical Applications
In this presentation, we will present an update on our recent research and development. In particular, we will focus on the discussions of (1) diamondlike carbon (DLC) coatings on various industrial components for increased wear resistance, erosion resistance and corrosion resistance, and for increased surface functionalities such as hydrophobicity and anti-fouling, (2) superhard (>40GPa), ultra thick (>500 µm), erosion/abrasion wear resistant nanocomposite coatings for components used in oil/gas exploration/production, (3) corrosion resistant alloy (CRA) coatings on low alloy steels for reducing the cost of CRA pipes, and (4) deposition of hard coatings on the inner surface of long tubes for increase corrosion resistance and other functionality. In the presentation, we will discuss the principle, application range and the status of each technology. We will present the performance of the coatings we have developed and their practical application particularly under severe environments.
Ronghua Wei, Ph.D. – Since joining SwRI in 2001, Dr. Wei takes the responsibility of leading a research group in conducting research on plasma surface engineering and developing new technologies for the US government and industries worldwide. His research is focused on plasma enhanced magnetron sputtering (PEMS) and plasma immersion ion implantation & deposition (PIII&D) and high intensity plasma ion nitriding (HIPIN). At SwRI he has developed a new PEMS technology, by which ultra thick (500µm), ultra hard (>40GPa) nanocomposite coatings been accomplished. These coatings exhibit very high erosion resistance, about 7-10 times better than the state-of-the-art nitride coatings against sand erosion. These coatings show a great potential for protecting aero engine blades, steam turbine blades and components for petroleum-natural gas exploration and production. The PEMS technology won the R&D100 Award in 2009. SwRI has already signed licensing agreements with a number of commercial companies. The technology can be used for various industries including the aerospace, oil/petroleum, power generation and automotive. Dr. Wei has also developed a diamond-like carbon coating technology to deposit erosion/corrosion/abrasion resistant and hydrophobic coatings on the inner surface of long tubes (40ft long, the longest pipe ever deposited). This technology has led to a series of successful projects from a few oil/gas companies.
Before he joined SwRI, Dr. Wei had worked for HRL Laboratories (formerly Hughes Research Laboratories) for eight years. Due to his contribution, he was promoted several times from Member of the Technical Staff to Senior Member of the Technical Staff and finally to Senior Research Scientist. He developed a number of new technologies for Hughes, GM, Boeing and Raytheon in numerous projects. He conducted research on plasma-enhanced magnetron sputtering of hard nitrides, plasma ion implantation, plasma electron heating, nitriding and carburizing, diamondlike carbon coating and other research related to materials engineering. Because his contribution, Dr. Wei received the Malcolm R. Currie Innovation Award, the highest award, from Hughes Electronic Corp. in 1997.