Introduction

Introduction PhotoHigh-voltage electrolysis of aqueous solutions featured by plasma-discharge phenomena occurring at the electrode-electrolyte interface is a dynamic and rapidly-evolving domain in modern Surface Engineering with significant scientific and commercial prospects. Plasma-assisted electrolytic processes underlie a group of novel electrochemical techniques for treatment of metal surfaces, e.g. Plasma Electrolytic Oxidation (PEO) and Electrolytic Plasma Processing (EPP) that provide simple yet effective solutions to many vital engineering problems inherent to both ferrous and non-ferrous alloys, e.g. Mg, Al, Ti and Zn.

Plasma electrolysis research activities at RCSE have been initiated in 1997 followed by the visit of Dr AL Yerokhin from Tula State University (Russia). A year later, the UK first experimental facility has been established and independent investigations launched, leading to the first PhD in PEO awarded early in 2000. The group’s pioneering research initiative was rewarded with financial support to further investigations provided by various UK based sponsors, both academic and commercial. Highly successful outcomes of these activities (for example, the overall results of our recent EPSRC project GR/R115696/02 were ranked ‘Outstanding’) promoted the group to the nationally leading position in this field and strengthened its international reputation.

The evolution of existing facilities into the Plasma Electrolysis Research Laboratory has occurred in 2003, during RCSE transfer from Hull to Sheffield University where it is now occupying a dedicated lab area (E1d) within the Centre’s new premises. The Lab hosts state of the art equipment operated by highly skilful and experienced personnel, providing excellent opportunities for top quality research in the field. Our research interests cover both fundamental and applied aspects of Plasma Electrolysis, thus addressing vital needs of our industrial partners and offering unique possibilities for student projects.

Research Group

Senior Academic and Research Staff

Prof Allan Matthews

Dr Aleksey Yerokhin

Dr Adrian Leyland

Prof Allan Matthews

Being a Director of the RCSE, Allan is both formal and informal group leader. As a Principal Investigator, he encourages, masterminds and steers our research activities.

For more information please visit Allan’s personal page at the Departmental web-site.

Dr Aleksey Yerokhin 

Aleksey spent his early research years at Tula State University, where he did his PhD in PEO (1995) and then worked as an Associate Professor. In the year 2000, he joined the RCSE to play a key role in Plasma Electrolysis research. He has around 90 published papers and holds 2 patents in this field.

Dr Adrian Leyland

Adrian is a Research Fellow at the RCSE. As far as Plasma Electrolysis research is concerned, his primarily interests lie in duplex and diffusion surface treatments that involve plasma-assisted electrolytic techniques.


 

Visiting Research Staff and Research Assistants

Prof Lyubov Snizhko

Dr Evgeny Parfenov

Tony Pilkington

Prof Lyubov Snizhko

Lyuba is a Professor of Electrochemistry at the Ukrainian State University for Chemical Engineering. She is a pioneer in modern PEO research, with over 25 years of experience in this field. She is a co-author of 2 books and over 100 journal papers. She also holds several patents in PEO.

Dr Evgeny Parfenov

Evgeny is an Associate Professor at the Ufa State University of Aviation Engineering (Russia), where he is focused on diagnostics and control of plasma assisted electrolytic processes. He has published over 30 papers and holds several patents in the field.

Tony Pilkington

Tony has joined a group in 2002 after having spent 15 years in the surface engineering sector of UK industry. His vast practical experience is priceless when solving many major engineering problems associated with our research activities. Tony is also doing a part-time PhD course on alumina coatings.

PhD Students

Raja Khan

Dinesh Patel

Dave Asquith

Raja Khan

Raja is a 3rd year PhD student, with his research focused on providing better insight into relationships between structure, composition and internal stresses in PEO coatings.

Dinesh Patel

Dinesh is a 2nd year student, involved into the project on development of new EPP treatments for cleaning and corrosion protection of steel substrates.

Dave Asquith

Dave is a 3rd year PhD student looking at the effects of combined surface plastic deformation and PEO on mechanical and corrosion performances of Al alloys.

Main Research Activities

Our research activities can be categorised onto the following main directions:

Physical & Chemical Fundamentals of Plasma Electrolysis

Characterisation of EPP treated surfaces

  • Electrochemistry of plasma electrolysis
  • Physics of plasma discharge with fluid electrodes
  • Pulsed plasma techniques
  • Process diagnostics, control and modelling
  • Surface structures and Phase transformations
  • Internal stresses
  • Mechanical properties and adhesion
  • Functional properties

Process Development

Performance Evaluation

  • Oxidation Treatments
  • Non-oxidising treatments
  • Diffusion treatments
  • Duplex treatments
  • Tribological performance
  • Corrosion behaviour
  • Evaluation of functional performances

Equipment and Techniques

The Laboratory hosts a set of unique equipment that allows a wide range of Electrolytic Plasma processes to be carried out, characterised and optimised. The group also benefits from unlimited access to surface characterisation and testing facilities within the RCSE as well as from the access to the major analytical equipment at the Department of Engineering Materials.

Processing Equipment

Process Characterisation

Testing

  • DC PEO/EPP units
  • Pulsed bipolar PEO unit
  • AC PEO unit
  • EPP rig
  • Residual Gas Analysis
  • Precision electrolyte pH/conductivity measurements
  • Digital Video Imaging and HS filming
  • Optical Emission Spectroscopy
  • High Voltage/High Current Probing
  • Oscilloscopic measurements
  • pH; Conductivity meters
  • Coating thickness gauge
  • ICP OES
  • FT-IR spectroscopy
  • Electrochemical interface/Impedance Gain Phase Analyser

Main Collaborators and Sponsors

BAE Systems

BAE Systems

CAP Technologies, Inc

CAP Technologies, Inc

EPSRC

EPSRC

Institute of Metallurgy RAS

Institute of Metallurgy RAS

Ioncoat, ltd.

ioncoat

KERONITE, Ltd

KERONITE, Ltd

Modern Metal Finishes, ltd

Modern Metal Finishes, ltd

Moscow Institute of Steels and Alloys

Moscow Institute of Steels and Alloys

Plasma Coatings, Ltd

Plasma Coatings, Ltd

SERDP (U.S.A.)

SERDP (U.S.A.)

The Royal Society

The Royal Society

Ufa State University for Aviation Engineering

Ufa State University for Aviation Engineering

Ukrainian State University for Chemical Engineering

Ukrainian State University for Chemical Engineering

University of Texas at Arlington

 

Contact Information

In you are interested in our research and want to make an enquiry please do not hesitate to contact:

Professor Allan Matthews

Tel: +44 1142225466

FAX: +44 1142225943

Email: A.Matthews@sheffield.ac.uk

or

Dr Aleksey Yerokhin

Tel: +44 1142225510

FAX: +44 1142225943

Email: A.Yerokhin@sheffield.ac.uk

Quick links