It is a well known fact that the environmental conditions of outer space are completely different from that of our planet. This is why durable materials such as steel are used to construct all tools and machinery that are used in outer space.
From space exploratory probes to the tiniest component of a space station, you will find steel everywhere. The reason behind this is that steel is capable of enduring high pressure and temperature and is least susceptible to corrosion as compared to other materials. It is thus, due to the utilization of steel and other metals, that space travel has become possible for humankind.
The Utilization of Steel in the Aerospace Industry
There are various components that are made out of steel in the aerospace industry. Steel is the choice of manufacturers in this regard since it is capable of withstanding very high temperatures and pressure changes which will melt other metals.
The following gives you a precise idea about the uses of steel in the aerospace industry.
Steel is used to create components such as jet engines which provide power to rockets and spacecrafts.
Given the durability of this metal, steel is also used to construct airframes.
Numerous alloys can be made with steel that enhance its properties.
The fuel tanks of space rockets are made out of steel. This is so because it does not react chemically with the fuel stored in the tanks.
The most crucial component that plays a pivotal role in maintaining the lifespan of the space rocket and also, the lives of the crew; is the heat shield. Made out of solid steel, this heat shield is responsible for tackling the aggressive thermal and pressure changes that the rocket experiences while traversing different layers of the atmosphere.
With so many uses, steel is the best material for vehicular construction in the aerospace industry. See the wikipedia article for more information regarding aerospace: https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Aerospace
To work with materials and unleash their true potential, almost every industry needs to activate their surface to make them more reactive. The increase in the material’s reactivity makes it easier to work with and allows it to be used more effectively. Plasma is the fourth state of matter and is used in almost all industries as plasma technology is one of the most economical methods of surface treatment.
How does plasma activate surfaces?
Plasma state is achieved when additional energy is added to gaseous ions. When plasma comes into contact with the surfaces of polymers, it alters the surface by attaching functional or polar groups to it. The addition of polar or functional groups makes the materials reactive as these groups easily combine and react with other chemical groups. Once the properties of the material are altered, they can be used for a variety of different purposes.
The activation process primarily uses oxygen as a catalyst; however, some materials can react with plasma in open air, without the need of providing additional oxygen for the reaction.
What are the common types of plasma driven surface treatments?
Plasma surface treatments can be used for the following industrial treatments of materials:
Plasma Driven Surface Activation: Plasma treatments used to activate surfaces
Plasma Cleaning: Plasma is used to clean and prepare surfaces for various manufacturing processes
Plasma Bonding: Plasma is used to lower the energy needed to bond two materials together.
Plasma Surface Modifications: Plasma treatments can be used to generate new properties of materials by activation, conditioning, and functionalization.
Plasma Ashing: Plasma ashing is the removal of carbon from products during manufacturing or cleaning processes.
Reactive Ion Etching: In this process, plasma treatments etch the surfaces which have already been treated.
Plasma Functionalization: This process improves the functions of materials, especially adhesiveness, bonding, and printing.
What makes plasma ideal for surface treatment?
There are several factors that make plasma ideal for surface treatments. For one, it works on a wide range of materials which means that it can be used on multiple materials for multiple purposes. It also works uniformly on all surfaces and efficiently gives high quality results.
Apart from that, it is cheaper to use, store and maintain and has a fast treatment time, so plasma driven surface treatments are useful in the sense that they work well, and save both time and money.
Materials with low surface energies like polymers and metals are not wettable by printing ink and adhesives. These materials require some treatment to match the surface tension of adhesives. The procedure of using chemicals, plasma or radiations for increasing the surface tension of non-polar materials is called as surface activation.
Although every method of activation has its own pros and cons, choice of the treatment method depends on the nature of the material being treated. For example, plasma treatment is commonly used to activate the polymer surfaces, while for metal surfaces UV radiations are used.
Although plastic can replace metals like aluminum and copper in many appliances due to its light weight, it cannot match the reliability of these metals. One way to improve the reliability of plastic is surface activation. Moreover, the technique can also be used to improve the physical properties of metals like conductivity, immunity to corrosion etc. Every industry relies on this technique for a number of purposes including metalizing, cleaning and improving adhesion.
What is Surface Activation?
Metal or plastic surfaces are treated with different chemicals, plasma or UV rays which energizes molecule and changes the atomic structure of the material up to the depth of few microns. It increases the polarity of the surface being treated thus increasing its wettability. On a commercial scale, surface activation is mostly used to enhance the surface tension of metals and plastics. In automobile, medical devices and aircraft industry, surface activation is used to make the material suitable for printing calibrations and adhesion.
Methods of Surface Activation
While there are a number of ways to treat metal surfaces, some of the most commonly used methods of polymer and metal activation are: Read more