PITTSBURGH — LumiShield Technologies, a spinoff company from Carnegie Mellon and the National Energy Technology Laboratory, has introduced a novel aluminum electroplating process called Lumidize™. When fully commercialized, with the support of the National Science Foundation’s SBIR program, it will be an effective replacement for common surface preparation technologies based on heavy metals and phosphates.
Today’s most effective anti-corrosion coatings are based on regulated materials such as chromium. They retard corrosion, but the costs — in compliance, workplace safety, disposal, environmental degradation, and liability — are high.
The quest for environmentally favorable alternatives has been lengthy and difficult, but development efforts have come to fruition with the introduction of Lumidize, a technology developed to comply with America’s strictest air and effluent regulations.
Lumidize is a proprietary aqueous process that plates aluminum oxide onto any conductive substrate. The resultant electroplate (0.1 mil or less) forms a hard, tenacious barrier layer, maximizing the adhesion of organic materials and improving corrosion resistance.
Lumidize binds to any conductive material and has a particular affinity for carbon steels. Once plated, those surfaces chemically bind to epoxy and urethane topcoats without the need for phosphate or primer.
Lumidize is a flexible electroplating process that is a simple addition to existing electroplating lines. It is compatible with pulse and DC systems, and the process can be optimized with temperature, pH, current density, and additive packages for fine control of coating properties. Its low toxicity, dye-able formula gives product designers significant freedom in tailoring finishes for performance and aesthetic effect.
Lumidize is a stand-alone coating. With the application of different seals, the finish can be hydrophilic, hydrophobic or provide 200 hours of ASTM B117 salt spray resistance. Lumidize is also a fully functional replacement for phosphates and primers when applied prior to painting or powder coating. Because it is relatively low cost, Lumidize has wide application in vehicle manufacturing, and in the construction, shipbuilding and consumer products industries.
LumiShield Technologies developed Lumidize. Based in Pittsburgh, LumiShield was established in 2014 with the exclusive purpose of developing and commercializing new options for improving the corrosion performance of metallic surfaces.