The last 1st October was launched the GreenGELAIR Project, coordinated by the Metal Technology Institute AIMME. The project, approved in a 2013 call of the Clean Sky JU, from the 7º Framework Programme has as main objectives the formulation of a new and competitive sol-gel product as well as the development of an innovator and versatile system for its application in maintenance and repair operations (MRO), as in operations for original equipment manufacturer, OEM. The execution of the project will allow getting a more environmentally friendly alternative in the aircraft painting process.
AIMME has the support of the Universidad Carlos III de Madrid, UC3M, as technological partner with expertise in the development of sol-gel products that improve the paint adhesion on metal substrates. Also, counts on GALVATEC as an industrial partner with a huge experience in surface treatment related MRO and OEM in the aeronautical sector.
Currently, and according to the environmental regulations (REACH), chrome coatings must be substituted in most sectors –particularly in the aeronautical sector. The sol-gel technology is considered as a valid and greener alternative to chrome coatings.
The Project is structured in three main phases:
- formulation and kinetic study of the sol-gel product,
- design and construction of an application device and
- demonstration phase on complex samples.
During its 24 months will upscale the developed formulations of the sol-gel product and check their application process with and specially designed device. Standard adhesion and corrosion tests will be carried out on different scenarios: large surfaces (OEM), touch-ups (MRO), complex shapes and fasteners in the fuselage.
The sol-gel based system proposed must be versatile and competitive, minimizing maintenance operations and costs, without the environmental concerns of the current systems.
The Project results are primarily intended to be applied in aeronautical components but are also applicable in other sectors with similar surface treatment processes.
The research leading to these results has received funding from the European Union’s Seventh Framework Programme (FP7/2007-2013) for the Clean Sky Joint Technology Initiative under grant agreement n° 620136. The project promoter is the French company DASSAULT AVIATION.