Formation Of Nanocomposite For Ceramic Film Process Engineering Essay

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INTRODUCTION

We are Super Solar Sdn Bhd which is a ceramic based company that produces window solar films. In respond to your request to incorporate the elements of green engineering into the daily processes in the factory, we are submitting this proposal to upgrade our industry by implementing the concept of green engineering into the industry. Before we start allow us to give a brief explanation on nano ceramic films.

Nano ceramic films are special film layer used on hard materials to protect them from wear and tear. They play a big role in keeping the strength and quality of materials such as metals, plastic and many other products used in industrial and consumer applications. Ceramic coatings are typically made up of special compounds that possess stronger properties than regular coating. Compounds in ceramic coatings include carbides, borides, nitrides, and silicides that are hard enough to keep the material from accumulating residue and becoming prone to breakage while in use. There are two types of ceramic coatings, single-layer and multi-layer. Single-layer coatings are usually applied on already strong materials that are not always exposed to damage, such as PVC plastic and non-metallic products. Multi-layer coatings are used on more delicate products such as fiberglass, metals and other items used for special laboratory or industrial purposes.

The nano ceramic film that we produce in our factory is specifically tailored to serve as tint or coat for building windows and vehicles. Our film (Solar Tint) applied directly to the interior of windows in a home or commercial business to form a protective barrier against the sun's harmful infrared and ultraviolet radiation. As for automotive films, the coatings allow a certain amount of Visible Light Transmission, while blocking out of the sun's infrared heat. The technique we are applying to produce our nano ceramic particles is known as Thermal Plasma where the ceramic particles are heated to high temperature that causes evaporation of the small micrometer size particles. Then, to coat the nano ceramic particles onto Polyethylene Terephthalate or PET films, the thermal spraying method is used whereby the source of heat and energy is a high-temperature plasma. The nano ceramic films are now formed.

Currently there are many issues on natural resources depletion due to industrial processes. One of the methods to overcome this problem is by implementing the principles of green engineering in our industrial process. Green engineering is the process and design of products that conserve natural resources, and impact the natural environment as little as possible. The use of green technology also referred as clean technology is supposed to reduce the amount of waste and pollution that is created during production and consumption. There are many types of green technology such as energy, building, preferred purchasing, chemistry and also nanotechnology. Our focus is going to be mainly on nanotechnology, efficiency maximisation, energy conservation and durability.

Nanotechnology involves manipulating materials to the smallest nanometre therefore it can be best to implement green nanotechnology is the use of green principles in the field. Nanotechnology involves the manipulation of materials at the scale of the nanometre, one billionth of a meter. Based on this green engineering principle, we would like to introduce the nano ceramic coating. Nano ceramic coatings provide not only the usual protection of single-layer and multi-layer coatings, but also feature thermodynamic properties. Nano ceramic window films are fade and corrosion free, outlasting other conventional material (dyed and metals) based films by more than 50%. They are known with the term spectrally selective because they reject glare and block heat while providing visible light and optimum clarity. Their unique heat control properties can only be exhibited at nano scale and the precision of the manufacturing process results in a thin layer with even thickness to achieve a uniform, neutral colour tone and performance.

PROBLEM STATEMENT:

Currently, we have been producing nano ceramic films (Solar Tint) used as tint and coat for windows in buildings and automotives with the purpose of reducing heat and visible ray. We have been using the Thermal Plasma process to form nano ceramic particles of tin oxide from the bulk tin oxide particles. These particles are then used to coat the Polyethylene Terephthalate or PET films to form nano ceramic films. These processes use up tremendous amount of thermal energy and are very costly. There have been plans to reduce the energy consumption and cost without compromising the quality of the product. Apart from that, the competition in the ceramic film making industry is very high and we need to produce high quality nano ceramic films that can meet the demands and requirements of our customers. With the ongoing debate on the benefits of implementing green technology in our industrial processes and plans to improve our product quality as well as cost reduction, we are making a proposal to integrate green technology in the processing and production of our nano ceramic films and take necessary measures to make more efficient nano ceramic films.

METHODOLOGY

Briefly, being a ceramic based company, we are producing nanoceramic particles, SnO2 from bulk ceramic particles using the thermal plasma method and utilise them to coat Polyethylene Terephthalate, PET films that we are buying from a PET manufacturer. The coating material that we are using is SnO2 using a thermal spraying method known as Vacuum Plasma Spraying (VPS). And the nano ceramic films are formed. This films functions as solar heat control window films for residentials and automotive. In detail,the processes involved are as follows:

In nanotechnology, a particle is defined as a small object that behaves as a whole unit in terms of its transport and properties. Particles are further classified according to size: in terms of diameter, fine particles cover a range between 100 and 2500 nanometers.On the other hand, ultrafine particles are sized between 1 and 100 nanometers. Similar to ultrafine particles, nanoparticles are sized between 1 and 100 nanometers. Nanoparticles may or may not exhibit size-related properties that differ significantly from those observed in fine particles or bulk materials.There are several methods for creating nanoparticles, and the method we are using currently is known as thermal plasma which deliver the energy necessary to cause evaporation of small micrometer size particles. The thermal plasma temperatures are in the order of 10,000 K, so that solid powder easily evaporates. Nanoparticles are formed upon cooling while exiting the plasma region. The types of the thermal plasma torch used to produce nanoparticles are (RF) induction plasmas. In RF induction plasma torches, energy coupling to the plasma is accomplished through the electromagnetic field generated by the induction coil. The plasma gas does not come in contact with electrodes, thus eliminating possible sources of contamination and allowing the operation of such plasma torches with a wide range of gases including inert, reducing, oxidizing and other corrosive atmospheres.

The nano particles that are formed in the earlier step will now be used as coating material .There are various thermal spraying methods for coating of nano ceramic particles on the PET film. One method is vacuum plasma spraying (VPS). As with all plasma spraying methods, the source of heat and energy in VPS is a high-temperature plasma. In plasma burner an arc is produced which heats an inert gas stream by ionization and recombination reactions to temperatures of up to 20,000 K. The material to be deposited, in this case SnO2 is fed in powder form into this high-energy plasma stream with the aid of a carrier gas. The powder particles are accelerated, heated to a molten state and projected at high speed onto the substrate, which causes them to flatten and form a lamellar coating. Depending on the duration of the spraying operation coating thicknesses from several μm to a few cm can be produced.

Bulk ceramic particles

Nano ceramic particles

Thermal Plasma

Vaccum Plasma Spraying

PET Films

Nano Ceramic Film

Figure 1: Diagram of processing of nano ceramic films

DISCUSSIONS

DESIGNING PROCESSES

Below is the suggested modification to the current processing of film that complies with the principles of Green Technology.

The implementation of green engineering in the process and production of nano ceramic films will give us a positive impact in the future, where we will list the following impacts at the next pages. The modified nano ceramic film is named as Green Solar Tint.

The modified process methodology:

Nano ceramic particles of Tin Oxide formed from the thermal plasma process initially is replaced by Wet Chemical Process.

The PET films are initially coated with nano Tin oxide particles using the Vacuum Plasma Spraying are now replaced by coating layer of TiN (titanium nitride) followed by a layer of Tin oxide using the PVD (Physical Vapor Deposition) Method.

FORMATION OF NANOCOMPOSITE FOR CERAMIC FILM PROCESS

Initially our company used thermal plasma as our process to produce nano particles. As our concern about green technology, we suggested to use Wet Chemical Process to produce nano particles. Wet chemical methods enable cheap, low-temperature, mass-scale manufacturing routes. They produce fine-grained porous and dense micro-structures that cannot be realized otherwise. In wet-chemical processing, clean nano particle dispersions are deposited on the substrate at, primarily, ambient conditions. The deposition is followed by a rapid thermal processing treatment to remove liquids and organic additives, to convert precursors to the target composition, and to establish the final porous and dense micro-structure. In the synthesis of precursor dispersions it is very important to obtain nano particles with a near-isometric shape and a fairly narrow particle size distribution, without the formation of secondary agglomerate structures. In particular the latter requires careful control of solution and interfacial chemistry to achieve proper colloidal stability, during and after the synthesis process.

PROCESS OF FILM COATING USING TITANIUM NITRIDE

Previously in our ceramics film process, we applied thermal spraying for film coating. Our previous coating material was Tin oxide alone. Now as we are proposing our ceramic film industry based on green engineering, we suggest titanium nitride to be used as our coating material with a protective layer of tin oxide. There are few processes that can be carried out for film coating. Those are nitriding, thin coat technologies, thermal spraying and laser technology. Based on our findings regarding these processes, thin coat technologies is reasonable and more convenient to be applied for our ceramics film industry. Nitriding and thermal spraying need a very high pressure and temperature to perform the process, where the temperature is capable of exceeding till 20 000 K. Then for laser technology, it requires high tech equipment for coating which can be very costly. Hence, we are proposing the Thin Coat Technology or specifically Physical Vapor Deposition for coating process.

Thin coat technologies

1. The thin coating technologies used with titanium are PVD (Physical Vapor Deposition) these are chemical/physical vapor deposition methods used to manufacture protective coatings.

2. PVD processes are carried out under vacuum conditions. The process involved four steps: evaporation, transportation, reaction and deposition.

Evaporation-During this stage, a target, consisting of the material to be deposited is bombarded by a high energy source such as a beam of electrons or ions. This dislodges atoms from the surface of the target, 'vaporizing' them.

Transport-This process simply consists of the movement of 'vaporized' atoms from the target to the substrate to be coated and will generally be a straight line affair.

Reaction-In some cases coatings will consist of metal oxides, nitrides, carbides and other such materials. The atoms of metal will then react with the appropriate gas during the transport stage. For the above step, the reactive gases that can be used is nitrogen which is more abundant compared to methane and oxygen.

Deposition-This is the process of coating build up on the substrate surface. In our case, we are coating TiN onto the surface of PET films.

Why is our modified process better than the initial process?

Thermal plasma - initial process used to produce nano particles

Thermal plasmas have high temperatures up to15, 000 K because the plasmas are generated at relatively high pressures where close to atmospheric pressure; they have high densities and are considered to be at equilibrium. Since we need a high temperature, we need a higher enthalpy to produce the temperature. In this production method, problems arise from the residual coarse particles. When precursor powders are injected into thermal plasma in which temperature and flow distributions exist both radially and axially, some of the precursor particles are not evaporated completely. The non evaporated part, although small, necessitates an additional post separation process

Wet Chemical Process- modified process to produce nano particles

This is the range of techniques that are most applicable for characterization by light scattering techniques. These are fundamentally 'bottom-up' techniques, where they start with ions or molecules and build these up into larger structures. These wet chemistry techniques currently offer the best quality nano particles from a number of points of view. They produce nano particles that are already in the form of dispersion, hence high inter-particle forces can be designed in to prevent agglomeration. The formation of aggregates can be reduced or eliminated. The nano particles can be made to be very same size to within small tolerances. The chemical composition and morphology can be closely controlled.

Vacuum Plasma Spraying- initial process used to produce coating

This system, as the name implies, uses an electric arc as the heat source which is much hotter than the temperature produced by an oxy-acetylene flame. This means that higher melting point materials can be deposited at higher velocities (200-400 m/s) leading to high bonded strength in vacuum plasma praying. Hence higher energy consumption is needed for coating process. Other disadvantages are that the process requires more expensive equipment and that it is not suitable for manual operation in case of power interruption.

Physical Vapor Deposition. - modified process to produce coating

PVD coatings are deposited for numerous reasons. Some of the main ones are improved hardness and wear resistance, reduced friction and improved oxidation resistance. The use of such coatings is aimed at improving efficiency through improved performance and longer component life. They may also allow coated components to operate in environments that the uncoated component would not otherwise have been able to perform. Materials can be deposited with improved properties compared to the substrate material. Almost any type of inorganic material can be used as well as some kinds of organic materials. The process is more environmentally friendly than processes such as electroplating.

TiN

As mentioned above, the PET films are initially coated with nano Tin oxide particles alone are now replaced by coating layer of TiN (titanium nitride) followed by a layer of Tin oxide. Why TiN?

TiN bearing film is oxidation-resistant and has excellent abrasion resistance. It also has superior light attenuating characteristics, particularly reduced visible reflectivity and reduced color. Using TiN as a solar shield on architectural windows can reduce the solar heat gain during hot weather, titanium nitride coating is the most advantageous choice for most applications because of the relative ease with which gaseous precursors to the coating can be formed and handled on processing equipment. A solar tint bearing titanium nitride (TiN) as the principal barrier is coated with a thin layer of protective transparent film of tin oxide. Tin oxide is believed to have the most favorable combination of mechanical, optical and infra red emmisivity properties to complement solar shield applications.

DESIGN OF PRODUCT (Green Solar Tint)

Automotive

Generally, our improved nano ceramic films( Green Solar Tint) offer better heat rejection, low reflectivity and better durability as compared to the previous ceramic films (Solar Tint) that offer limited heat rejection :

By cutting down unbearable heat, our nano ceramic films cool the vehicle more efficiently and reduce fuel consumption.

Occupants are also protected from the harmful Ultra Violet rays that are damaging to the eyes and skin through the high Ultra Violet rejection exceeding 90% .

Improves the overall comfort of ride,offers fade control and protects the vehicle by extending the life of the vehicle's interior as well.

High Infra Red heat rejection up to 96% and car interior temperature reduced.

Reduces glare and driving fatigue thus enhancing driving comfort. Protects drivers/passengers from the sun's harmful radiation.

100% dye-free and no discolouration and estimated to have longer life cycle than the conventional dyed and metallic films.

Extends lifespan of vehicle interior with fade protection. Improves shatter-resistance of windscreens.

Significant heat reduction lowers cooling load of air-conditioning and fuel consumption

Prolongs lifespan of air-conditioning compressor and reduces replacement costs. Generally helps save energy and indirectly saves environment because reduction of fuel consumption means lesser harmful gases released into the air.

Buildings

Conventional ceramic films seem to filter out too much of the natural light leaving their homes too dark or they let in too much light and subject their furnishings and loved ones to the damaging effects of Ultra Violet rays. Whereas,our improved nano ceramic films (Green Solar Tint):

Reduce the Infra-Red heat build-up in the house and also cut off more than 90 % of the Ultraviolet rays that cause skin problems and fading of interiors.

While protecting valuable home furnishings and extending their lifespan, nano-ceramic films have the added feature of low reflection at night and the view is therefore not obscured.

The layer of film also provides an added level of safety by keeping glass fragments together in the event of accidental breakage.

Significant Infra-Red Heat rejection lowers cooling load of air-conditioning consumption

Enhances interior comfort and living environment with reduced glare

Cost Analysis for Nano Ceramic Films (Solar Tint vs Green Solar Tint).

Currently our company producing nano ceramic particles from bulk ceramic particles using the thermal plasma method and utilize them to coat Polyethylene Terephthalate, PET films by using thermal spray techniques. We are producing 150000 ft2 of nano ceramic film per batch. The duration which we took to complete 1 batch is 10 working days (2 weeks). The following is the cost analysis for one batch which involving production of nano ceramic particles and also coating process.

Solar Tint

Materials (RM/KG) (Tin oxide + PET films)

54,400

Water/Electricity (RM)

572,000

Labor (RM)

100,000

Maintenance (RM)

40,000

Rent (RM)

50,000

Total Cost (RM)

816400

The raw material which is used to produce nano ceramic particles is tin oxide and about 45000 kg of tin oxide is being used for a batch (market price 0.68 cents per Kg). 20000 KW/h are being used for a batch for creating nano particles and undergo coating process. Total Cost of the production are RM 816400 and our selling price is RM 8.50(1 ft2). The overall profits from the production per batch are RM 458600 which is about 36% from the overall revenue.

Estimated Cost Analysis for (Green Solar Tint)

The estimated duration to produce 150000 ft2 of Green Solar Tint is 10 working days (2 weeks). The following is the cost analysis for one batch.

Cost Analysis

NANO CERAMIC FILM

Materials (RM/KG) (Tin oxide+ TiN+ PET films)

107,000

Water/Electricity (RM)

410,000

Labor (RM)

100,000

Maintenance (RM)

40,000

Rent (RM)

50,000

Total Cost (RM)

707,000

The raw material which is used to produce ceramic films is tin oxide and about 45000 kg of tin oxide is estimated to be used for a batch (market price 0.68 cents per Kg).The estimated energy consumption will be 14600 KW/h. Estimated energy consumption will be lower for Green Solar Tint production compared to Solar Tint because it doesn't involve thermal processes which consume high energy. The estimated energy reduction will be 27% (5400KW/h). Total Estimated Cost of the production are RM 707,000 and our selling price is RM 9.00(1 ft2 ).The overall profits from the production per batch are RM 643000 which is about 47.63% from overall revenue.

Social and Environmental Impacts

Bulidings and homes

Social Impact:

The Green Solar Tint removes up to 90% of the sun's damaging UV rays, which cause fast fading of furnishings, rugs, pictures and other properties and sun damage. So this lengthens the life cycle of material and furniture at home. Besides that, Green Solar Tint offers window films that block essentially all harmful UV rays, the leading cause of skin cancer and other dangerous conditions that impact all ages. With this, we can protect our loved ones from hamful UV rays.Solar tint also offers added safety for everyone and anything in the house. In cases of theft or natural calamities like earthquakes and tornados, the solar tint film is competent at keeping the broken pieces of glass together. This can avoid or at the very least lessen physical harm to your pets and relatives and additional damage to your property. Additional benefits include an elegant appearance, reduced glare and improved comfort and the sun's heat that comes through the window being reflected away.

Environmental Impact:

Green Solar Tint's capability to reject significant amount of Infra Red heat lowers cooling load of air conditioning consumption. This means energy can be saved at home by using lesser air conditioning. And indirectly, we can help reduce the emision of harmful CFC to the environment.

Automotive

Social Impact

Green solar tint is also efficient in reducing sun glare which is very useful most especially to the driver (automotive application), since it is very helpful in preventing eye strain and fatigue. Aside from that, passengers will also notice the car seats get hot easily causing discomfort to sit on. Through Green Solar Tint , not only is the upholstery of the car protected, but the passengers are protected as well. Green Solar tint is capable of blocking up to 90% of UV rays so once installed on every car window you can be assured that you and your family are protected from its damaging effects. Aside from these reasons that are already given, solar tint also serves as an added shield that facilitates to your safety and security. The films will prevent broken pieces of glass from shattering in case of an accident. This will then minimize potential physical harm both from outside and inside the car.

Environmental Impact

Green solar tint is also very efficient in blocking heat from the sun. This is a very economical way of saving fuel because of reduced usage of air con. And less usage of air con means less fuel consumption. This way we get to save our natural resources (fuel) as well as reduce pollutant emitted by vehicles.

Conclusion

As a conclusion, the modified Green solar tint will provide good solar rejection and it is cheaper than Solar tint (initial product).

RECOMMENDATION

1. The raw materials that we going to use for ceramic process, should be maximized, so that the products also will be maximized. Hence, the dimension of the reactors should be design according to our company preference. Overall, we can reduce the usage of energy by not repeating the process again.

2. Firstly, the mixture of our raw materials in an organic solvent should be as pure as possible. This can be done, by having an additional process of separation and purification of our raw materials. As a result, we can prevent the wastage. The impurities from the separation, we can re-use it back as our side products.

3. Normally, it is impossible to gain 100% purity in our products. There should be some by- products produce. The by-products can be re-usable or can be re-cycling back to our feed. It is a good investment for our company.

WASTE PRODUCTS

Zinc oxide is one of the impurities from our raw materials. So, it is not necessary for us to separate the impurities as zinc oxide have a superior UV blocking properties compared to its bulk substitute. Actually, this impurity is often used in ties preparation of sunscreen lotions and it is completely photo stable.

Impurities or waste products like nanoscale particles that being produced in our industry can be used for biomedical application as drug carriers or imaging agents. We can make it as our side investments.

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