PECVD Coatings for Magnesium Casting Protection

  • E. Angelini
  • S. Grassini
  • S. Plano
  • E. Micucci
  • F. Fracassi
  • F. Palumbo


In this study SiO2-like films have been deposited by Plasma Enhanced Chemical Vapour Deposition
(PECVD) on Mg alloys employed in the automotive industry in different experimental conditions in order
to optimize the protective effectiveness of the deposited layers. The experimental apparatus used was a
capacitive coupled (CC) parallel-plate-reactor with an asymmetric electrode configuration, the
electromagnetic radiation was applied to a gas mixture containing tetraetoxysilane (TEOS), oxygen and
argon in different ratios. The deposition was performed at 100 mTorr of pressure, by varying the input
power, on as cast and polished samples submitted to a pre-treatment step in H2-containing plasma. A set
of Mg alloy specimens has been treated with a standard anodising process (AP).
From the overall experimental results, PECVD appears an attractive surface modification technique
which allows, through the deposition of SiO2-like films, to increase the corrosion resistance of Mg alloys,
usually protected with anodising treatment or with chromium-based coatings. The check of the
transferability of deposition process to a medium scale range is now running. Magnesium frames
representative of real automotive parts coated in a PECVD industrial chamber, assembled and painted
are submitted to accelerated corrosion test in order to verify the corrosion resistance of these painted
elements manufactured following the production steps of a real component.