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Aluminum electroplating on steel from a fused bromide electrolyte

Idaho National Laboratory

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PDF Document PublicationTechnology Fact Sheet (870 KB)

Complex shape Al coating
Complex shape Al coating

SEM image of the annealed aluminum coating on the SS316 Plate [1] SS316 Substrate, [2] AlFe alloy layer, [3] Al-O Layer, [4] Epoxy (sample preparation).
SEM image of the annealed aluminum coating on the SS316 Plate [1] SS316 Substrate, [2] AlFe alloy layer, [3] Al-O Layer, [4] Epoxy (sample preparation).

Technology Marketing Summary

High temperature molten salt based electrolytes can provide a cost-effective technological solution to the manufacture of aluminum-coated metallic substrates for a variety of engineering applications, particularly in corrosive/marine environments. BEA has developed methods and systems for applying metallic coatings with a quaternary bromide containing electroplating bath and aluminum anode primarily to develop corrosive tolerant compositions. The process may also be used in a broad range of applications providing high quality aluminum coatings on both ferrous and non-ferrous metals and divergent surfaces and geometries. 


Currently, chloride based plating baths are being widely used to electroplate aluminum on steel, brass, copper and other substrate materials but have multiple drawbacks including lack of ability to form a diffused aluminum layer between the metal surface and aluminum coating due to the relatively low plating temperature. In addition traditional approaches do not prevent the loss of functional electrolyte thereby often producing non-ideal downstream product characteristics. 


The novel BEA quaternary alkali bromide electrolyte plating system produces superior quality aluminum plated metallic surfaces, with better corrosion mitigation properties due to the formation of a diffused aluminum layer in between the substrate metal surface and the aluminum coating. Also, the bromide plating bath can efficiently prevent the loss of the functional electrolyte that results in the formation of controlled product characteristics such as: smoothness, thickness, and adhesion of coatings on various metallic substrates.


More Information

Development Status

This technology has been tested and validated at the bench scale.  Additional development will be required to demonstrate a  pilot scale process.  BEA may be in a position to support additional research and development of this technology under a mutually acceptable Cooperative Research & Development Agreement (CRADA), Strategic Partnership Projects (SPP), or other similar agreement subject to prior approval by DOE. 

A publication further describing this technology can be accessed via the following URL:

This invention has associated intellectual property filing Patent Application No.  62/193,376, "Methods and Systems for Aluminum Electroplating" which was submitted to the USPTO by BEA on July 16, 2015 and currently unpublished.

A potential licensing opportunity exists with Battelle Energy Alliance, LLC (BEA), P.O. Box 1625, Idaho Falls, ID 83415-3805, the Management and Operating Contractor for the Department of Energy (DOE) at the Idaho National Laboratory (INL).  BEA is seeking parties interested in potentially entering into a license agreement for the purpose of commercializing the technology described below.  BEA does not make any representations, provide any warranties, or otherwise endorse or guarantee the suitability of this patent to a licensee's specific needs. 



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To: Ryan Bills<>