Coating engine components with hard carbon reduces friction to almost zero – a development that could save billions of liters of fuel worldwide every year. Now researchers have developed a new laser method to apply the coating on the production line. Scientists already know how to coat components with diamond-like carbon to minimize friction. But now researchers of the Fraunhofer Institute for Material and Beam Technology IWS in Dresden have developed a laser arc method with which layers of carbon almost as hard as diamond can be applied on an industrial scale at high coating rates and with high thicknesses. By applying carbon coatings to engine components such as piston rings and pins, fuel consumption can be reduced.
Prof. Andreas Leson, Dr. Hans-Joachim Scheibe and Dr. Volker Weihnacht received the 2015 Joseph von Fraunhofer Prize for the development of the laser arc method and the application of ta-C coatings in volume production.