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The objective of the BONACO project is to develop and test various sol-gel based nanocomposites enabling corrosion inhibition that assures a useful life of electronic boards above 10 years. The aim is to evaluate the effect of various nanocomposite films on the performance and endurance of white goods electronic control boards, especially of washers, exposed to various environmental loads (salt water, humidity, temperature, insects attacks, detergents, etc).

Electronic control boards in white good appliances, especially in washers, face harsh temperature and humidity conditions, contaminants and water-detergent mixtures, and even attacks of insects (cockroach) in some regions. They may get corroded, which leads to malfunction or complete stoppage of the machine. Some manufacturers accept the rate of errors related with these risks and do not take any preventive action, simply replace the boards. However, electronic boards replaced for this reason also generate waste, which is already today a problem for the electronics industry, and is expected to increase in future. Relevant unions, working groups and sub-committees of international associations and countries are developing strategies to overcome this. One solution to the problem is the application of conformal paint coatings (such as urethane, acrylic or silicon) to the boards in order to obtain some degree of protection.  Nevertheless, these coatings are expensive and in general do not offer satisfactory corrosion protection (<10 years). Moreover, their application takes time and reworking is generally a problem. Nanocoatings are a better alternative for the level protection, protection duration and other manufacturing issues (cost, rework, cure etc).

Nanotechnology is an emerging general purpose technology with great potential for many different areas of application, supported by extensive research performed in different scientific laboratories worldwide. Despite its great potential, nanotechnology is at present still limited to certain industries and specific products. For wider use of nanotechnology and the fabrication of the corresponding products, the development of new nanomaterials is urgently needed.

Efficient corrosion protection should be achieved without any harmful effects on the functioning of the board by applying thin films of multifunctional materials, which simultaneously exhibit various properties: adequate adhesion onto the various materials used in electronic boards, low permeability for water and oxygen and, in addition, they should also be water repellent. Silicon based nanocomposites with a organic-inorganic hybrid structure prepared via sol-gel processing (Partner 2), as proposed in this project, are realistic and feasible target materials for achieving corrosion protection of electronic boards used in washers (produced by Partner 1). Randomly connected siloxane networks (T-resin) (i), ladder polysilsesquioxanes (ii) and polyhedral oligomeric silsesquioxanes (PSS) (iii), the last-named representing the most ordered product of condensation, will be tested and tried in the form of thin nanometric films and coatings for achieving corrosion protection of electronic boards. These materials, i.e. PSS, are the core materials intended to be developed within the frame of this project. PSS are promising nanocomposites, which have not yet been exploited for corrosion protection of various metals and alloys, and their potential as materials for industrial application will be determined in this project.