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Title: Assessment of wear resistance of tin and tin alloy coatings
Author: Lam, Wayne Pui-Wing
ISNI:       0000 0001 3604 1961
Awarding Body: Brunel University
Current Institution: Brunel University
Date of Award: 2007
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Tin alloy coatings have traditionally been used as corrosion resistant bamens due to their inert nature and comprehensive coverage, and have seldom been considered in physically demanding applications, such as wear resistant coatings owing to misconceptions associated with the soft nature of tin metal. The alloying of tin with copper has already been shown to significantly increase its mechanical properties, as demonstrated by the adoption of tin-copper alloys for use as bearing materials. Unfortunately, its cyanide plating technology makes tin-copper environmentally unsustainable, whilst the process requires constant regulation and monitoring, and there are disposal costs associated with the cyanide waste products. The tin-nickel alloy, however, can be produced with minimal supervision and its plating process uses less harmful precursors, making it an alternative consideration. The research documented in this thesis assesses this increase by quantifying the resistance of tin, tin-nickel and tin-copper coatings to removal from sliding wear. As tin is a soft material and behaves dissimilarly to conventional coatings in a sliding wear environment, traditional wear assessment techniques are not appropriate. A novel approach is therefore devised and implemented, and this involves the continually monitoring the effect of damage introduced to the surface of the tin and tin alloy coatings, from an abrading ceramic ball. Using an elemental detection tool, it is possible to analyse wear scars that exhibit progressively depleted coating material, by identifying the underlying substrate material as it becomes exposed. In this way, it is possible to quantify the improvements made to tin from alloying with nickel and copper. The large volume of data acquired from this research is presented in a matrix format to enable simultaneous depiction of multiple parameters, and to allow quick and easy interpretation. The tin-nickel coating is found to be comparable to tin-copper in terms of resistance to removal. Despite tin-copper being slightly superior over the range of test conditions used, tin-nickel as been shown to be an environmentally friendly and cost effective alternative coating alloy to tin-copper.
Supervisor: Mao, K. ; Stolarski, T. A. ; Kerr, C. Sponsor: ITRI Ltd
Qualification Name: Thesis (Ph.D.) Qualification Level: Doctoral
EThOS ID:  DOI: Not available