Metal Coating of Hydrophobic Polymer Surfaces


Executive Summary


As the plastics industry has begun to reach the limits of mechanical properties, specialized applications are beginning to turn to composites instead. Metallic plating of materials offers many benefits such as increased abrasion resistance and improved mechanical properties, but is time consuming, costly, and manufacturing is potentially hazardous with many current techniques. This invention allows for the metallic coating of neutral surfaces such as plastic in a time efficient manner with minimal specialized equipment.


Description of Technology


The manufacturing process for metallic coating of polymers developed at MSU offers the same benefits of a metallic coated composite while minimizing hazardous chemicals, specialized equipment, and processing time.  This technology uses a simple three-step ‘dip & rinse’ method, allowing for coating complex and intricate geometries without altering or complicating the process. This process can be done with many different plastics, including but not limited to high-density polyethylene (HDPE), low-density polyethylene (LDPE), polystyrene (PS), and polypropylene (PP). When compared to plastics alone, the metallic coating results in superior wear and abrasion resistance, friction reduction, improved thermal and electrical conduction, and increased mechanical hardening.


Key Benefits

  • Safer Method: this technology eliminates harsh and/or toxic chemical treatments before metallic deposition
  • Less Expensive: this method reduces required maintenance and service costs associated with the sophisticated equipment used for surface conditioning and treatment
  • Simple Implementation: The ‘rinse & dip’ method reduces manufacturing steps and time



  • Pipes
  • Packaging material
  • RFID transponders
  • RFI shielding
  • Computer hardware components
  • Decorative


Patent Status: 


Patent Issued 9,617,643


Licensing Rights Available


Full licensing rights available


Inventors: Dr. Ilsoon Lee, Mr. Wei Wang, Mr. Ankush Gokhale


Tech ID: TEC2013-0046


Patent Information:

For Information, Contact:

Raymond Devito
Technology Manager
Michigan State University