For determined aeronautical systems that are subjected to stress, the use of Ultra High Strength Steels (UHSS) is required. When these steels they have additional friction associated, the plating of these zones with hard chrome is crucial.

Currently, hard chrome is electrolytically produced with a solution that contains hexavalent chrome, which has high toxicity and is included in annex XIV of the REACH regulation. To date, there is no alternative that can directly replace the current applications of hard chrome. The situation becomes even more complex in the case of the aeronautical sector, where the approval of new treatments needs 3-4 years starting from the development finish of the new treatment.

Following the trail of the project TRUE-REPLACE, the main objective of the SUSCROM project is based on the need to find an alternative that allows the replacement of hard chrome for more sustainable solutions. The strategy of the SUSCROM project has been conceived from the results obtained in the project TRUE-REPLACE and combines known electroless nickel-phosphorous processes and the development of chromium plating that contains trivalent chrome. The project proposes a holistic approach that considers the chemistry of the formulations and its monitoring, process conditions, the necessary auxiliary equipment for electrolyte regeneration and the validation of the alternatives in test bench, alongside the connectivity of the equipment in a virtual environment.

Consortium & funding: The project belongs to the Programa Tecnológico Aeronáutico (PTA), which is subsidised by CDTI within the “Plan de Recuperación, Transformación y Resiliencia” of the Spanish Ministry of Science and Innovation. The consortium to carry out this Project is made by 4 national SMEs which have complementary skills: CHEMPLATE, SURTECH, EGILE and ELHCO (Project’s leader), where each one of them provides their specific knowledge to the rest to get the best results.