Surface Engineering
& Materials Chemistry

image of SwRI's pilot-scale vacuum web-coating system for treating a variety of flexible materials in roll form

SwRI has established a pilot-scale vacuum web-coating system for treating a variety of flexible materials in roll form.


Altering Material Surfaces to Prolong Service Life


Surface Engineering Video

Surface Engineering Video

Solving client materials problems is the focus of the Surface Engineering and Materials Chemistry Section at Southwest Research Institute (SwRI). Our capabilities include:

  • Bulk and surface modification
  • Process enhancement
  • New material development
  • Specialized testing and characterization

Surface Engineering and Materials Chemistry Facilities

Combined laboratories of more than 5,000 square feet of facilities are dedicated to:

  • Vacuum surface modification
  • Atmospheric modification
  • Wet chemistry-based surface modification
  • Coating of advanced materials

SwRI has a full complement of PVD and CVD technologies including 10 vacuum coating chambers with some that are 3 cubic meters in size. SwRI is able to satisfy client coating needs and controlled engineering of surface properties.

With the largest ion beam facility in the U.S., SwRI provides ion beam assisted coatings and ion implantation research and services.

Specialized facilities are available for evaluations that utilize state-of-the-art materials characterization such as:

  • Atomic force microscopy (AFM)
  • Fiber optic probes
  • Raman spectrometers
  • IR spectrometers
SwRI has state-of-the-art equipment in place and technical personnel dedicated to facilitating access to research, development, and demonstration of PIII and PIIP technologies.

SwRI has state-of-the-art equipment in place and technical personnel dedicated to facilitating access to research, development, and demonstration of PIII and PIIP technologies.

Surface Engineering and Materials Chemistry Expertise

The Surface Engineering and Materials Chemistry Section employs 14 technical staff members with a variety of expertise in:

  • Polymeric materials
  • Ceramics
  • Metallic materials
  • Developing and characterizing advanced materials
  • Incorporating new materials into industrially viable applications and environments

SwRI offers services to the aerospace, chemical, defense, biomedical, and petroleum commercial industries, as well as government clients. Industrial clients range from start-up companies and small manufacturers to blue chip corporations in the U.S. and abroad. SwRI initiates contracts with clients based on initial consultations. A research proposal outlines the scope of work and establishes a cost estimate. Programs remain confidential, subject to client wishes.

Learn more about Surface Engineering.

Learn more about Materials Chemistry.

Related Terminology

surface engineering  •  ion surface engineering  •  ions  •  ion beam assisted deposition  •  IBAD  •  diamond-like carbon  •  DLC  •  coatings  •  ceramics  •  plasma immersion ion processing  •  energetic ion beams  •  ion implantation  •  gaseous ions

Benefiting government, industry and the public through innovative science and technology
Southwest Research Institute® (SwRI®), headquartered in San Antonio, Texas, is a multidisciplinary, independent, nonprofit, applied engineering and physical sciences research and development organization with 11 technical divisions.
04/22/14