CAPCOAT is the Brussels based centre of expertise of ULB-VUB on plasma coatings and functionalisation of material surfaces. It unites the expertise of three research groups:

  • The atmospheric plasma technology expertise of the plasma group CHANI of ULB
  • The surface & electrochemical characterisation expertise of the group SURF of VUB
  • The thermal characterisation expertise of the physical chemistry and polymer science group FYSC of VUB





The use of atmospheric plasma to functionalise a material surface is of extreme interest to create multifunctional surfaces. By limiting the use of wet chemistry and allowing various process steps to be performed in one reactor setup it allows for an eco friendly and energy and time efficient processing.

Through the control of materials at the nanometer scale, new innovative structures can be tailored with the improvement or the creation of specific or multi-functional properties

  • appearance, colour, reflectivity, smart colour systems, ...
  • corrosion protection and durability: barrier properties against water uptake, self-healing properties, ...
  • mechanical and durability: wear resistance, hardness, flexibility, ...
  • adherence and durability: paint adhesion, resistance against underfilm delamination, ...
  • Hydrophilic/hydrophobic properties
  • UV resistance

We aim at creating a worldwide renowned competence centre in atmospheric plasma coatings. The Surface Technology industry is expected to undergo drastic changes on the short term due to the REACH regulations. A lot of companies are running into trouble as they need to introduce new and ‘greener’ surface treatment procedures and are not at all ready for this. At the moment SURF has several contacts with aerospace, transport and architecture to discuss possible alternative surface treatment routes. In industry, atmospheric plasma technology, having some clear advantages, will increase in importance in comparison to the traditional surface pretreatments. The graphs below show the number of publications in the ISI web of knowledge for the combined words in topics "atmospheric plasma" and "deposition" or "coatings" from 1990-2011, as recorded in December 2011. The trend clearly indicates the mounting scientific interest in and relevance of the research into atmospheric plasma coating technology.

At the moment there is a growing need to provide industry with objective trustworthy information about the “Surface Treatment Processes”. 
Another domain, in which atmospheric plasma technology is more and more considered, is the treatment and cleaning of cultural heritage material. In this light, SURF has contacts with the Artesis Hogeschool Antwerpen – Koninklijke Academie voor Schone Kunsten – division Restoration of Metals (Patrick Storme), who are involved in a European project on atmospheric plasma technology for Cultural Heritage.
We are convinced that we can play an important role in the fundamental and applied research in atmospheric plasma deposition and multifunctional plasma coatings.
A knowledge centre in this future oriented domain will increase the image of the Brussels Region as a Science & Technology hot spot in green & environmentally friendly technology with industrial relevance and commercial viability. 
The scope of this knowledge centre will initially be built upon the scientific developments of the first GREENCOAT project and the future GREENCOAT II project, supported by INNOVIRIS.

A large number of end industries can benefit from the green coating concepts developed within GREENCOAT, ranging from transport (aerospace, automotive,…), construction & architecture, packaging, … Also metal producing and metal processing companies as well as chemical & coating component suppliers are impacted by these innovative developments. The vast industrial network of the existing GREENCOAT partners will enhance the valorisation activities.