Coating Applications for Aerospace

High Temperature, Robust, Inert and Fouling Resistant Coatings  

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Improve Engine and Analytical System Performance With Inert Coatings

SilcoTek® coatings act as an inert barrier, preventing catalytic or chemical interaction with the underlying surface.  SilcoTek's CVD silicon coatings like SilcoNert®SilcoKlean® or Dursan® bond to the surface and change the surface energy and inertness, preventing chemical adhesion and adsorption of the substrate and improving fouling resistance.  The coating's low energy surface prevents the attachment of flow path chemicals to the surface.

The benefits of an inert and fouling resistant barrier coating include:                                          

  • Improve engine up-time, reduce maintenance  
  • Increase service intervals                                      
  • Less contamination                                                 
  • Resilience and reliability for longer component life
  • Better fuel efficiency
  • Improve test reliability


Get all the information about the benefits of SilcoTek coated flow paths.


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Coating Applications for Aerospace.

SilcoTek coatings have both the inertness and durability to withstand harsh aerospace applications.  Our coatings act as an inert barrier, preventing catalytic coking and fouling and assuring samples taken don't react with the instrument flow path.   Applications include:

  •   Fuel line and fuel nozzle coking prevention
  •   Analytical instrumentation
  •   In situ analysis 
  •   Heat exchanger and heat transfer
  •   Prevent surface reactivity 


Aerospace Application Data


Modern fuels (be it jet, diesel, or gasoline) can decompose and foul under extreme heat.  With the advent of direct injection and modern turbine nozzles, exposure to combustion conditions result in increased carbon fouling, poor fuel spray and inefficient flame propagation during combustion.  SilcoTek® coatings reduce carbon buildup on critical injection and fuel delivery flow paths, preventing fuel injector fouling and improving combustion efficiency and maintaining peak engine performance.  (Data Credit: Oltin, Venkataraman, Eser; Pennsylvania State University; "Analysis Of Solid Deposits From Thermal Stressing Of JP-8 Fuel On Different Surfaces On A Flow Reactor", University Park, PA.)

Turbine lubrication and fuel lines can experience extreme heat during shutdown.  Temperatures of 300c or more can cause fuel and lubrication lines to develop carbon deposits which over time can build up, causing fuel starvation or lubrication failures.  SilcoTek® CVD coatings, like SilcoKlean®, prevent carbon deposit formation, significantly extending maintenance cycles.  Testing shows carbon deposition can be reduced by orders of magnitude when used with common fuel additives. (Data & image credit: "High Heat Sink Fuels Program" Patricia Pearce, Wright Patterson AFB)

Turbochargers and exhaust intercoolers are exposed to extreme heat and exhaust particulates which can cause lubrication failures and exhaust EGR intercooler fouling.  SilcoTek coatings reduce carbon fouling by preventing carbon formation and bonding to stainless steel and alloy surfaces.  SilcoTek coatings prevent accumulation of carbon even under extreme combustion conditions found in IC engine pistons. (Image Credit; Perez, Boehman, Pennsylvania State University; "Penn State Multi-Discipline Tribology Group And Energy Institute Studies", University Park, PA)

The coated piston (left) shows little to no fouling.  The uncoated piston (right) shows significant carbon fouling.


NASA Glenn Research Center has demonstrated that Hall-effect thrusters operating with iodine as the propellant can perform at the same thrust and efficiency compared to state-of-the-art xenon thrusters.  Because iodine is a halogen, it can react with and oxidize surfaces, causing damage to process systems and in NASA's case may react with iodine Hall-effect thruster propulsion system materials.  NASA has developed an experiment to study the interaction between iodine and a variety of common spacecraft materials. In their tests, they have included protective coatings like corrosion resistant Silcolloy® and high durability Dursan® coated coupons for evaluation.

The iodine exposure test was conducted in a tubular furnace that was held at 300°C and flushed with 145 ml/min of argon gas along with 1 mg/min of iodine vapor. The testing exposed the coupons in triplicate for 5, 15, and 30 days. The coupons were monitored via weight measurements, XRD, and SEM. Weight change can be broken into three distinct groups: the steels which gained weight, the aluminum alloys which lost weight, and the coated coupons that had no weight loss or gain except for Silcolloy on 304 stainless steel which gained weight past the 15-day measurement period (Figure below).  (Read a summary of the study.)

iodine exposure dursan silcolloy.jpg

The authors concluded that Silcolloy® and Dursan® were effective in protecting the coupons that were studied. 

SilcoTek coatings like Dursan® beat other industry deactivation technologies and inert surfaces.  The chart below compares the breakdown/loss rate of various deactivations.  The Dursan coating minimized sample breakdown, improving MS sampling results while offering a high temperature stable, high durability surface.  Get our ultimate guide to inert sampling and learn more about how SilcoTek coatings improve sampling performance.



The European Space Agency successfully completed a 6.4 billion kilometer space flight and landed their Rosetta Philae craft on the surface of comet 67P/Churyumov-Gerasimenko for in situ analysis of the comet.  In order to precisely measure the comet's chemical composition, ESA needed an inert surface capable of withstanding the hostile environment of space.  They chose SilcoNert® 1000 (Silcosteel®) for the job.

Robert Sternberg, leader of the space gas chromatography team at Laboratoire Interuniversitaire des Systèmes Atmosphériques (LISA) of the University of Paris XII noted:

” I would like to mention that all the columns selected for space mission are Silcosteel®-treated metallic capillary columns, and they have all been submitted successfully to space qualification tests such as vibration, radiation, and thermal cycles, which demonstrated their robustness for space application."




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To get the most out of your process and product, coat all flow path components and systems.  This includes:

Calibration and spec gas delivery systems

  • Gas regulators
  • Tubing
  • Valves

Critical Flow Paths

  • Fuel injectors and nozzles
  • Canisters and reactors
  • Analytical & sampling components including columns and mass spec components for in situ analysis
  • Fuel delivery systems
  • Separators and filters
  • Heat exchangers and EGR coolers
  • Tubing, valves and fittings
  • Probes 
  • Turbochargers and intercoolers
  • Pistons
  • Bearing lubrication lines
  • Thruster components


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