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Ion Beam Surface Treatment: A New Technique for Thermally Modifying Surfaces Using Intense, Pulsed Ion Beams

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The emerging capability to produce high average power 10-300 kW pulsed ion beams at 0.2-2 MeV energies is enabling us to develop a new, commercial-scale thermal surface treatment technology called Ion Beam Surface Treatment IBEST. This new technique uses high energy, pulsed - 500 ns ion beams to directly deposit energy in the top 1-20 micrometers of the surface of any material. The depth of treatment is controllable by varying the ion energy and species. Deposition of the energy in a thin surface layer allows melting of the layer with relatively small energies 1-10 Jcm2 and allows rapid cooling of the melted layer by thermal conduction into the underlying substrate. Typical cooling rates of this process 109 Ksec are sufficient to cause amorphous layer formation and the production of non-equilibrium microstructures nanocrystalline and metastable phases. Results from initial experiments confirm surface hardening, amorphous layer and nanocrystalline grain size formation, corrosion resistance in stainless steel and aluminum, metal surface polishing, controlled melt of ceramic surfaces, and surface cleaning and oxide layer removal as well as surface ablation and redeposition. These results follow other encouraging results obtained previously in Russia using single pulse ion beam systems. Potential commercialization of this surface treatment capability is made possible by the combination of two new technologies, a new repetitive high energy pulsed power capability 0.2- 2 MV, 25-50 kA, 60 ns, 120Hz developed at SNL, and a new repetitive ion beam system developed at Cornell University.

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  • Fabrication Metallurgy
  • Manufacturing and Industrial Engineering and Control of Production Systems
  • Particle Accelerators

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