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Ion implantation

Benefits Application & materials Process details

Bodycote’s Implantec process can be used to improve the friction coefficient, adhesive wear and surface hardness of polymers and metals by bombarding surfaces with a high energy ion beam.


Ion implantation has a number of benefits, including:

  • Surface hardening of the material, thus making it very resistant to wear, particularly adhesive wear;
  • Reduction of friction coefficient, which reduces seizure;
  • Increased fatigue limit by up to 30%;
  • Surface treatment with no rise in temperature (cold metallurgy);
  • No geometric distortion;
  • Preservation of the state of the surface (e.g., super finishing) and its mechanical characteristics (e.g., low temperature tempered steel);
  • No peeling (it is not a coating); and
  • Greatly improved resistance to corrosion.

The process is carried out locally and on pieces that are already fully machined, and can be applied to metals, polymers or elastomers.

Application & materials

High added value mechanical plastic and metallic parts.

  • Medical devices: rings
  • Medical prostheses: artificial cartilage
  • Medical prostheses: knees, shoulders, fingers, dental implants
  • Mechanical parts: rings, friction parts
  • Polymers: silicones, polyethylene, etc.
  • Metals: titanium alloys, aluminium alloys, steels, precious metals such as gold, etc.

Process details

Ion implantation is the process of bombarding selected ions in a vacuum chamber (< 10-4 mbar) onto the surface of a material with an energy ranging industrially from 50 to 200 KeV. Ions penetrate the surface of the material violently and then stop and lose their energy, following cascades of collisions with atoms.

Conducted at low temperature (< 100°C/210°F) in a vacuum chamber, this treatment modifies the structure of the material at a depth of a some microns, without adding an extra layer (it is not a coating process).

Bodycote has two types of ion implantation of gaseous ions (azote, argon, helium…):

  • Implantec® process using a mono beam technology and well adapted to high value applications (implants, medical devices).
  • I2P process using a new and unique technology well adapted for mass production and for polymer products, rubbers.