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SwRI develops convenient, cost-effective coating technique

For immediate release

SAN ANTONIO — Nov. 27, 2017 — Southwest Research Institute has developed High Power Impulse Plasma Source (HiPIPS) technology that efficiently generates coatings using high-density, high-flux plasmas at low temperatures and atmospheric pressures. R&D Magazine recently recognized HiPIPS as one of the 100 most significant innovations of 2017.

These coatings extend the life, enhance the properties and prevent damage and corrosion of materials and components. HiPIPS, first developed under a Defense Advanced Research Projects Agency (DARPA) program, is a convenient, cost-effective alternative to surface engineering techniques that typically require thermal processes or vacuum chambers. HiPIPS’ unique abilities open the door for new coating chemistries and unprecedented coating/substrate combinations. Potential applications include coatings on plastics, textiles and biologically sensitive materials as well as depositing protective metallic and ceramic coatings as an environmentally friendly alternative to electroplating.

“HiPIPS has already had groundbreaking successes in developing coatings for defense applications,” said Dr. Vicky Poenitzsch, a principal scientist in SwRI’s Mechanical Engineering Division, who led the development of the technology. “Because HiPIPS outperforms other ambient pressure plasmas and rivals vacuum plasma systems, the technology could revolutionize the surface engineering industry.”

SwRI-developed HiPIPS technology has also proven useful for surface cleaning, activation of polymer surfaces and improving interfacial adhesion in layered composite materials. It also deposits conductive coatings on plastics and durable, super-hydrophobic coatings for self-cleaning and drag reduction applications.

“HiPIPS is portable and scalable with a nearly inexhaustible range of applications,” Poenitzsch said.

“Since 1971, SwRI has won 43 R&D 100 Awards, which, in our business, are considered the ‘Oscars of Invention,’” said SwRI President and CEO Adam L. Hamilton, P.E. “We’re pleased our work has been recognized in such a well-respected forum.” R&D 100 Awards are selected by an independent panel of judges and editors of R&D Magazine to honor the top technology products of the year.

See movie about HiPIPs.

For more information, contact Deb Schmid, (210) 522-2254, Communications Department, Southwest Research Institute, PO Drawer 28510, San Antonio, TX 78228-0510.