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Novel Coating Technologies for Neutrino Focusing Horns

Award Information
Agency: Department of Energy
Branch: N/A
Contract: DE-SC0017751
Agency Tracking Number: 0000261131
Amount: $1,146,330.00
Phase: Phase II
Program: SBIR
Solicitation Topic Code: 23c
Solicitation Number: N/A
Solicitation Year: 2021
Award Year: 2021
Award Start Date (Proposal Award Date): 2021-08-27
Award End Date (Contract End Date): 2023-08-26
Small Business Information
315 Huls Drive
Englewood, OH 45315-8983
United States
DUNS: 793274747
HUBZone Owned: No
Woman Owned: No
Socially and Economically Disadvantaged: No
Principal Investigator
 Rajeswaran Radhakrishnan
 (937) 836-7749
Business Contact
 Maria Inman
Phone: (937) 836-7749
Research Institution

This technology addresses the need for a cost effective, simple, environmentally benign process to replace the current electroless nickel coating on Neutrino Focusing Horns, which are made of aluminum. One big challenge for depositing a coating on aluminum is that special pretreatment is required owing to aluminum’s highly reactive nature. Even though electroless nickel coatings have been successful thus far for Neutrino Focusing Horns, the complexity and environmental concerns regarding the large amounts of hazard pretreatment chemical usage have triggered the need for a different process. This program is developing a simple and scalable electrochemical approach that consists of sequential pretreatment and electrodeposition process steps to clean and prepare the aluminum surface and subsequently directly electrodeposit a hard nickel alloy coating on the aluminum horn surface. The coating process is more cost effective, less complex and uses a smaller volume of chemicals than the electroless nickel coating for aluminum Neutrino Focusing Horns. Phase II demonstrated and validated the scalability of pulse reverse electrochemical pretreatment followed by direct electrodeposition of nickel phosphorous onto prototype Neutrino Focusing Horn segments. The entire process comprised 4 steps in comparison to 16 steps required for electroless nickel deposition. The potential was shown to meet the required properties for adhesion, radiation and erosion resistance. Preliminary estimates show the potential for at least 50% cost saving compared to electroless nickel for subscale components, with more significant savings anticipated for full size parts. Critical transition pathway was identified to commercialize the technology. Phase IIB will be directed towards transition and commercialization of the technology to electrodeposit nickel with similar or better performance than the current electroless nickel coating on a fullscale Neutrino Focusing Horn. Transition the technology to strategic commercialization partners by designing and building the required tooling and electrochemical cells, validate by processing the fullscale horn with the desired coating uniformity across the part. Economics and commercialization plan of the lowcost, scalable electrochemical approach will be finalized for market entry. Direct electroplating on aluminum is of critical importance to industry. The proposed technology has the potential to positively impact society by reducing hazard chemical usage, and enhance the usage of the aluminum across applications. The technology is adaptable to applications that require electrodeposited coatings on passive metals such as aluminum, titanium and stainless steels.

* Information listed above is at the time of submission. *

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