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Super-Hard Coating Could Make the Cut

Thursday, May 29, 2014

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Chinese material scientists have reportedly developed a new coating so resistant to wear that it keeps knives sharp 100 times longer than current models.

The coating has the potential for use in automobile and other manufacturing, aviation, and other industrial applications, says the team headed by Huang Feng, a professor at the Chinese Academy of Sciences' Ningbo Institute of Material Technology and Engineering.

Huang Feng
Ningbo Institute of Material Technology and Engineering

Dr. Huang Feng says his new coating could create knives that stay sharp 00 times longer than current products.

In fact, the team says the innovation could help Chinese manufacturing compete aginst Western technology.

1,000 Grindings

It takes 1,000 grindings, under the force of 10,000 times the atmospheric pressure, to wear off one layer of atoms of the anti-wear coating, the team told the South China Morning Post.

"If applied to a kitchen knife, the lifespan of the knife may be extended beyond the life of its user," Huang told the newspaper.

The coating is a few micrometers thin and is made of various nitrogenized metals such as chrome and vanadium. The coating can be applied to the surface of almost any machine, Huang said.

Advanced Hard Coatings

Advanced hard coatings and other coating technologies are a key research focus of the Ningbo Institute. Researchers there are working to develop coatings that combine high hardness and other properties, such as high toughness, lubricity, resilience, transparency, or electrical conductivity.

CCK Cutlery
Chan Chi Kee Cutlery

Researchers hope the coating will help Chinese manufacturers, such as Chan Chi Kee (CCK) Cutlery, become more competitive by improving the durability of their products.

Applications for such coatings include cutting (hard + lubricious), erosion resistance (hard + tough), forming (hard + tough), sealing (hard + superelastic), and scratch resistance (hard + transparent), the institute says.

The institute is also pursuing advanced vapor deposition technologies for electronic devices, large surface areas and other applications.

'Worth Following Up'

The reports drew cautious optimism from Yang Kai, an expert in the field of anti-corrosive materials at the Shanghai Institute of Ceramics under the Chinese Academy of Sciences.

Temperature, stress and other variables could affect the performance of anti-corrosive material, and these factors cannot all be replicated in a laboratory setting, said Yang, who has developed coatings for China's aerospace industry.

"But the reported result is impressive indeed," he said. "Their work is worth following up."

Huang's product has not yet been tested in a factory, reports said.


Tagged categories: Abrasion resistance; Research

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