Tata Steel has filed a patent for a method of electrodeposition to create a functional or decorative chromium layer on a metallic substrate. The process uses a halide-ion free and boric acid free aqueous electrolyte solution, with specific concentrations of chromium compound, sodium or potassium sulphate, and a formate salt as a complexing agent. GlobalData’s report on Tata Steel gives a 360-degree view of the company including its patenting strategy. Buy the report here.

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According to GlobalData’s company profile on Tata Steel, Extraction by leaching was a key innovation area identified from patents. Tata Steel's grant share as of September 2023 was 54%. Grant share is based on the ratio of number of grants to total number of patents.

Method for electrodeposition of chromium layer onto metallic substrate

Source: United States Patent and Trademark Office (USPTO). Credit: Tata Steel Ltd

A recently filed patent (Publication Number: US20230243057A1) describes a method for electrodeposition of a functional or decorative chromium layer onto a metallic substrate. The method can be used in both batch and continuous electrodeposition processes and utilizes a halide-ion free and boric acid free aqueous electrolyte solution.

The electrolyte solution consists of a trivalent chromium compound provided by a water-soluble chromium(III) salt, with a concentration of Cr3+-ions ranging from 50 mM to 1000 mM. Additionally, the solution contains a total amount of sodium sulphate or potassium sulphate ranging from 25 mM to 2800 mM. A formate salt is used as a complexing agent to enhance the electrodeposition process.

The pH of the electrolyte solution is adjusted to a value of 2.00 or more. In the batch electrodeposition process, the pulse duration ranges from 0.5 to 2.5 seconds, with an interpulse period between 0.5 and 5 seconds. Similarly, in the continuous electrodeposition process, the pulse duration and interpulse time range from 0.5 to 2.5 seconds and 0.5 to 5 seconds, respectively. In a specific embodiment of the continuous process, the pulse duration is between 0.5 and 2 seconds, and the interpulse time is between 0.5 and 2 seconds.

The method allows for the deposition of at least 1 g/m2 of chromium onto the metallic substrate. The temperature of the electrolyte during electrodeposition is maintained at a minimum of 35°C and a maximum of 50°C. In the continuous electrodeposition process, the line speed of the electrodeposition line should be at least 50 m/min, preferably at least 100 m/min.

The metallic substrate can be an unalloyed or low-alloyed steel strip or sheet, with options for a nickel coated steel strip or sheet or a copper coated steel strip or sheet. The resulting chromium layer on the metallic substrate can have a gloss value of at least 800 when measured under an angle of 20° in accordance with ISO 2813:2014.

The method described in the patent can be used to produce a metallic substrate with a functional chromium layer for various applications, including photovoltaic devices such as solar cells. The chromium layer in these applications should have a thickness ranging from 75 to 1000 nm.

Overall, this patent presents a novel method for electrodeposition of a functional or decorative chromium layer onto metallic substrates, offering potential applications in various industries, particularly in the production of photovoltaic devices.

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GlobalData Patent Analytics tracks bibliographic data, legal events data, point in time patent ownerships, and backward and forward citations from global patenting offices. Textual analysis and official patent classifications are used to group patents into key thematic areas and link them to specific companies