(19)
(11)EP 2 302 096 B1

(12)EUROPEAN PATENT SPECIFICATION

(45)Mention of the grant of the patent:
26.06.2019 Bulletin 2019/26

(21)Application number: 10009092.7

(22)Date of filing:  01.09.2010
(51)International Patent Classification (IPC): 
C23C 22/00(2006.01)
C23C 22/83(2006.01)
B05D 7/14(2006.01)
C23C 22/78(2006.01)
B05D 7/00(2006.01)
C25D 5/34(2006.01)

(54)

Method for treatment of a metallic surface

Verfahren zur Behandlung einer metallischen Oberfläche

Procédé de traitement d'une surface métallique


(84)Designated Contracting States:
AL AT BE BG CH CY CZ DE DK EE ES FI FR GB GR HR HU IE IS IT LI LT LU LV MC MK MT NL NO PL PT RO SE SI SK SM TR

(30)Priority: 03.09.2009 JP 2009203999
26.10.2009 JP 2009245084

(43)Date of publication of application:
30.03.2011 Bulletin 2011/13

(73)Proprietor: Mazda Motor Corporation
Aki-gun Hiroshima 730-8670 (JP)

(72)Inventors:
  • Katsura, Daiji
    Aki-gun Hiroshima 730-8670 (JP)
  • Shigenaga, Tsutomu
    Aki-gun Hiroshima 730-8670 (JP)

(74)Representative: Müller-Boré & Partner Patentanwälte PartG mbB 
Friedenheimer Brücke 21
80639 München
80639 München (DE)


(56)References cited: : 
EP-A1- 2 100 986
WO-A2-2009/045845
GB-A- 2 174 719
JP-A- 2002 060 960
US-B1- 6 214 132
WO-A1-2007/117043
GB-A- 1 293 884
JP-A- 10 140 371
JP-A- 2007 039 765
  
      
    Note: Within nine months from the publication of the mention of the grant of the European patent, any person may give notice to the European Patent Office of opposition to the European patent granted. Notice of opposition shall be filed in a written reasoned statement. It shall not be deemed to have been filed until the opposition fee has been paid. (Art. 99(1) European Patent Convention).


    Description


    [0001] The present invention relates to a surface treatment method of a metal material which is used as a process before an electrodeposition coating process.

    [0002] In a coating process of automotive vehicles, a chemical conversion treatment is generally applied to a workpiece to be coated (metal material) before a cationic electrodeposition coating. In this chemical conversion treatment, a zinc phosphate-based treatment agent comprising a primary component of zinc phosphate is often used as a chemical conversion treatment agent. The workpiece subjected to the chemical conversion treatment using the zinc phosphate-based treatment agent can obtain excellent electrodeposition coatability (excellent film thickness characteristic of a coating film) in the cationic electrodeposition coating process. However, the zinc phosphate-based treatment agent has a problem in that phosphate ions thereof may cause eutrophication. Moreover, the chemical conversion treatment using the zinc phosphate-based treatment agent may cause a problem of production of sludge to be wasted. With a view to solving these problems, there has been proposed the chemical conversion treatment agent which comprises: at least one selected from the group consisting of zirconium, titanium and hafnium; fluorine; and a water-soluble resin, as disclosed in U.S. Patent No. 7,510,612, for example.

    [0003] However, in case a workpiece is subjected to a chemical conversion treatment using a chemical conversion agent comprising a primary component of zirconium (zirconium compound, a chemical conversion film (ZrO2), which has a relatively small number of local low-resistance areas i.e., a relatively low electrical conductivity, compared with a chemical conversion film formed using the zinc phosphate-based treatment agent, is formed on a surface of the workpiece. Accordingly, in an electrodeposition coating process, a relatively high voltage is applied between an anode and a portion of the workpiece adjacent to the anode (an outer panel of a vehicle body), whereas a relatively low voltage is applied between the anode and another portion of the workpiece far from the anode (an inner panel of the vehicle body), as a phenomenon specific to the electrodeposition coating process. Herein, the deposition amount of coating film may decrease in the portion of the workpiece far from the anode which belongs to a low voltage-applied region. Thus, in case the chemical conversion agent comprising the primary component of zirconium (zirconium compound) is used, the deposition amount of coating film may improperly decrease in the portion of the workpiece far from the anode (the inner panel of the vehicle body) which belongs to the low voltage-applied region, compared with a case of the zinc phosphate-based treatment agent being used (see FIG. 3).

    [0004] JP 10-140371 A discloses an aluminum sheet to be phosphated which is coated by electrodeposition between a degreasing stage and a phosphating stage, wherein a suspension of grains of a metallic inorganic compound having a specific diameter and being sparingly soluble in water at a pH of 5 to 10 is deposited on the aluminum sheet. JP 2002-060960 A discloses a method for producing a blackened galvanized steel sheet in which a galvanized steel sheet or a zinc-base alloy plating steel sheet is degreased, is water-washed, is thereafter treated with a TiOH grain-containing alkalescent surface conditioner treating solution and is sprayed with an Ni ion-containing zinc phosphate treating solution to form a zinc phosphate film having a specific film coating weight. WO 2007/117043 A1 discloses a surface conditioning composition for use in surface conditioning of a metal prior to being subjected to a phosphate-based chemical conversion treatment, in which the surface conditioning composition has a pH of 3 to 12 and which comprises at least one kind of zinc compound particles selected from a group consisting of zinc oxide particles, zinc hydroxide particles, and basic zinc carbonate particles; phosphoric acid and/or condensed phosphoric acid; and a specific amine compound, wherein the zinc compound particles are dispersed and stabilized by the phosphoric acid and/or condensed phosphoric acid, and the amine compound. GB 2 174 719 A discloses an aqueous solution suitable for conditioning a clean metal surface before formation of a phosphate conversion coating, which comprises at least 3 ppm metallic titanium, 60 to 360 ppm pyrophosphate ion, at least 150 ppm total phosphate as PO4, and 2 to 300 ppm water soluble anionic organic compound and having a pH of 8 to 9.5. US-patent 6,214,132 discloses a liquid pretreatment composition for conditioning metal surfaces by contact therewith prior to the phosphate conversion coating treatment thereof, which has a pH value within a range from 4 to 13 and comprises a dissolved component selected from the group consisting of alkali metal salts, ammonium salts, and mixtures thereof; and a dispersed component selected from phosphates of divalent and trivalent metals and mixtures of any two or more of said phosphates with a specific particle size.

    [0005] The present invention has been devised in view of the above circumstances, and an object of the present invention is to provide a surface treatment method of a metal material which can properly improve the electrodeposition coatability in a portion of a workpiece which belongs to a low voltage-applied region, even if any chemical conversion agent which forms a chemical conversion film having a relatively small number of local low-resistance areas is used.

    [0006] The object is solved by the surface treatment method of a metal material according to the present independent claim 1.

    [0007] Preferred embodiments of the present invention are subject of the dependent claims.

    [0008] According to the present invention, there is provided a surface treatment method of a metal material, comprising attaching an electron releasing-related substance onto a surface of a metal material in an adsorption process, and applying a chemical conversion treatment to the metal material having the electron releasing-related substance attached thereto, using a chemical conversion treatment agent, in a chemical conversion process which is provided before an electrodeposition coating process such that an energy band gap of a finally-formed chemical conversion film is smaller than that of a chemical conversion film formed by using only the chemical conversion treatment agent.

    [0009] According to the present invention, even if the chemical conversion treatment agent which forms the chemical conversion film having a small number of local low-resistance areas is used, the electron releasing-related substance is attached onto the surface of the metal material, and the chemical conversion treatment is applied to the metal material having the electron releasing-related substance attached thereto, using the chemical conversion treatment agent, before the electrodeposition coating process such that the energy band gap of the finally-formed chemical conversion film is smaller than that of the chemical conversion film formed by using only the chemical conversion treatment agent. Thereby, the number of electrons (free electrons) which can be supplied onto the surface of the chemical conversion film can be increased during a voltage application in the electrodeposition coating process, so that the number of local electrical-conductive areas can be increased in the chemical conversion film (i.e., promotion of reducing reaction of H2O). Accordingly, even if the chemical conversion treatment agent which forms the chemical conversion film having the small number of local low-resistance areas is used, deposition of a coating film is promoted, so that the electrodeposition coatability of a portion of a workpiece (metal material) to be coated which belongs to a low voltage-applied region can be improved. Further, since attaching the electron releasing-related substance onto the surface of the metal material is conducted before the treatment of forming the chemical conversion film, a process control of the treatment of forming the chemical conversion film (e.g., bathing stability, deposition speed of a film) can be further facilitated, compared with a case of using the electron releasing-related substance which is contained in the chemical conversion treatment agent.

    [0010] According to the present invention, an electron releasing substance to make the energy band gap of the finally-formed chemical conversion film be smaller than that of the chemical conversion film formed by using only the chemical conversion treatment agent is used as the electron releasing-related substance so that the finally-formed chemical conversion film can be the chemical conversion film formed by using only the chemical conversion treatment agent which contains the electron releasing substance. Thereby, the number of free electrons which can be supplied onto the surface of the chemical conversion film can be increased based on the electron releasing substance in the chemical conversion film during the voltage application in the electrodeposition coating process, so that the number of local electrical-conductive areas can be increased in the chemical conversion film. Accordingly, even if the chemical conversion treatment agent which forms the chemical conversion film having the small number of local low-resistance areas is used, the deposition of the coating film is promoted, so that the electrodeposition coatability of the portion of the workpiece to be coated which belongs to the low voltage-applied region can be improved.

    [0011] According to the present invention, at least one kind of metal fine particles, n-type semiconductor fine particles, intrinsic semiconductor fine particles, electrically conductive organic fine particles, and electrical insulator fine particles is used as the electron releasing substance, wherein the electrical insulator fine particle is an oxide compound selected from ZnO and TiO2.

    [0012] Thereby, increase of the number of free electrons can be achieved by using the above-described concrete electron releasing substance, so that the number of local electrical-conductive areas can be increased in the chemical conversion film (i.e., promotion of creating phosphate ions for deposition of a coating film).

    [0013] According to the present invention, a compound having at least one selected from a group consisting of Zr, Ti, Hf and Si as a primary component is used as the chemical conversion treatment agent so that the chemical conversion film can be an oxide compound having at least one selected from the group consisting of Zr, Ti, Hf and Si. Thereby, even if the chemical conversion treatment agent which forms the chemical conversion film having the small number of local low-resistance areas is used, the number of electrons (free electrons) which can be supplied onto the surface of the chemical conversion film can be increased during the voltage application in the electrodeposition coating process, so that the number of local electrical-conductive areas can be increased in the chemical conversion film (i.e., promotion of reducing reaction of H2O). Accordingly, decrease of the amount of deposition of the coating film can be suppressed in the portion of the workpiece to be coated which belongs to the low voltage-applied region. Further, eutrophication can be prevented, production of waste sludge associated can be suppressed, and corrosion resistance can be obtained based on the properties of the chemical conversion film.

    [0014] According to another embodiment of the present invention, the electron releasing substance is titanous oxide which excites an electron by applying an energy exceeding a specified energy band gap. Herein, there occurs not any problem in terms of the function of the chemical conversion film, and the increase of the number of free electrons can be achieved by using properties of the titanous oxide (i.e., having a smaller (lower) energy band gap than the chemical conversion film), so that the number of local electrical-conductive areas can be increased in the chemical conversion film (i.e., promotion of creating phosphate ions for deposition of a coating film).

    [0015] According to another embodiment of the present invention, titanous oxide which excites an electron by applying an energy exceeding a specified energy band gap is used as the electron releasing substance, a compound having at least one selected from a group consisting of Zr, Ti, Hf and Si as a primary component is used as the chemical conversion treatment agent so that the chemical conversion film can be an oxide compound having at least one selected from the group consisting of Zr, Ti, Hf and Si, and the metal material is immersed in a treatment solution in which fine particles of the titanous oxide are in a dispersed state with a concentration (density) of 10 to 500 ppm in case of attaching the titanous oxide onto the surface of the metal material. Thereby, the electrodeposition coatability of the portion of the workpiece to be coated which belongs to the low voltage-applied region can be improved based on the titanous oxide, and also deterioration of the corrosion resistance lowering below an allowable limit can be surely prevented based on containment of fine particles of the titanous oxide.

    [0016] According to another embodiment of the present invention, a protective colloid is used in case of making the fine particles of the titanous oxide in the dispersed state in the treatment solution. Thereby, the fine particles of the titanous oxide can be properly made in the dispersed state in the treatment solution.

    [0017] According to another embodiment, a doping treatment of the electron releasing-related substance is applied to the chemical conversion film formed by using only the chemical conversion treatment agent before the electrodeposition coating process so that the finally-formed chemical conversion film can be a n-type semiconductor having surplus electrons. Thereby, the number of free electrons which can be supplied onto the surface of the chemical conversion film can be increased during the voltage application in the electrodeposition coating process, so that the number of local electrical-conductive areas can be increased in the chemical conversion film (i.e., promotion of reducing reaction of H2O). Accordingly, even in this case, the deposition of the coating film can be promoted, and the electrodeposition coatability of the portion of the workpiece to be coated which belongs to the low voltage-applied region can be improved.

    [0018] According to another embodiment, a substance having a greater electric charge number than the chemical conversion film is used the electron releasing-related substance in case of applying the doping treatment, and a heating treatment is applied to the chemical conversion film formed by using only the chemical conversion treatment agent and the electron releasing-related substance in the chemical conversion film after the treatment of forming the chemical conversion film. Thereby, the n-type semiconductor of the chemical conversion film can be properly formed before the electrodeposition coating process, and effects according to the right above embodiment can be surely obtained.

    [0019] Other features, aspects, and advantages of the present invention will become apparent from the following description which refers to the accompanying drawings.

    FIG. 1 is a process diagram showing manufacturing processes according to a first embodiment of the present invention.

    FIG. 2 is an explanatory diagram showing an electrodeposition coating process.

    FIG. 3 is a graph showing a coating-film thickness characteristic of a ZrO2 film and a zinc phosphate film.

    FIG. 4 is an explanatory diagram conceptually showing low-resistance areas of the zinc phosphate film.

    FIG. 5 is an explanatory diagram conceptually showing deposition of a coating film on the low-resistance areas of the zinc phosphate film.

    FIG. 6 is a plan view conceptually showing an initial stage of the deposition of the coating film on the low-resistance areas of the zinc phosphate film.

    FIG. 7 is a plan view conceptually showing an intermediate stage of the deposition of the coating film on the low-resistance areas of the zinc phosphate film.

    FIG. 8 is a front view conceptually showing a last stage of the deposition of the coating film on the low-resistance areas of the zinc phosphate film.

    FIG. 9 is an explanatory diagram conceptually showing low-resistance areas of a ZrO2 film.

    FIG. 10 is an explanatory diagram conceptually showing deposition of a coating film on the low-resistance areas of the ZrO2 film.

    FIG. 11 is a plan view conceptually showing an initial stage of the deposition of the coating film on the low-resistance areas of the ZrO2 film.

    FIG. 12 is a plan view conceptually showing an intermediate stage of the deposition of the coating film on the low-resistance areas of the ZrO2 film.

    FIG. 13 is a front view conceptually showing a last stage of the deposition of the coating film on the low-resistance areas of the ZrO2 film.

    FIG. 14 is a graph showing a coating-film thickness characteristic of a ZrO2 film containing TiO2 fine particles, a ZrO2 film, and a zinc phosphate film.

    FIG. 15 is an explanatory diagram showing an energy band gap of ZrO2 and an energy band gap of TiO2 fine particles.

    FIG. 16 is an explanatory diagram conceptually showing deposition of a coating film on the ZrO2 film containing TiO2 fine particles.

    FIG. 17 is a table showing influence of density (concentration) of TiO2 fine particles, (TiO2 colloid) in a treatment solution in an adsorption process on the coating-film thickness (electrodeposition characteristic) and the corrosion resistance.

    FIG. 18 is an explanatory graph showing a technique of determining an upper limit of the density of the TiO2 colloid (ppm) in view of corrosion resistance.

    FIG. 19 is a graph showing a coating-film thickness characteristic of a ZrO2 film containing n-type ZnO according to a second embodiment of the present invention, the ZrO2 film, and the zinc phosphate film.

    FIG. 20 is an explanatory diagram conceptually showing deposition of a coating film on the ZrO2 film containing n-type ZnO.

    FIG. 21 is a graph showing a current density distribution during non-voltage application, in each of the ZrO2 film and the ZrO2 film containing n-type ZnO.

    FIG. 22 is a graph showing a current density distribution during voltage (1 V) application, in the ZrO2 film.

    FIG. 23 is a graph showing a current density distribution during voltage (1 V) application, in the ZrO2 film containing n-type ZnO.

    FIG. 24 is a table showing influence of a content ratio of n-type ZnO (semiconductor fine particles) to the ZrO2 film containing n-type ZnO, on a coating-film thickness characteristic (electrodeposition coatability) and corrosion resistance.

    FIG. 25 is an explanatory graph showing a technique of determining an upper limit of the amount (mass %) of n-type ZnO in view of corrosion resistance.

    FIG. 26 is a process diagram showing manufacturing processes according to a third embodiment of the present invention.

    FIG. 27 is a process diagram showing manufacturing processes which is not within the scope of the present invention.

    FIG. 28 is an explanatory diagram conceptually showing an adsorption process.

    FIG. 29 is an explanatory diagram conceptually showing a chemical conversion process.

    FIG. 30 is an explanatory diagram conceptually showing an electrodeposition coating process.

    FIG. 31 is a graph showing a coating-film thickness characteristic of a ZrO2 film formed on Cu deposited in the adsorption processes, the ZrO2 film, and the zinc phosphate film.

    FIG. 32 is a table showing influence of density of Cu ion in a treatment solution contained in an adsorption treatment tank in the adsorption process on the coating-film thickness (electrodeposition characteristic) and the corrosion resistance.

    FIG. 33 is an explanatory graph showing a technique of determining an upper limit of the density of the Cu ion (ppm) in view of corrosion resistance.



    [0020] Hereinafter, preferred embodiments of the present invention will be described taking examples of a vehicle body (a workpiece to be coated) as a metal material, referring to the accompanying drawings.

    EMBODIMENT 1



    [0021] In a coating process of a vehicle body W of automotive vehicles, as shown in FIGS. 1 and 2, an electrodeposition coating process is applied as a final one. This electrodeposition coating process is a process of a cationic electrodeposition coating (undercoating) being applied to the vehicle body W, where the vehicle body W is immersed in a cationic electrodeposition coating material contained in a tank T (for the period of time 180 sec. for example), and then a voltage is applied between the tank T and the vehicle body W under a condition that the tank T and the workpiece W are set as an anode and a cathode, respectively. As a result, a coating film (not illustrated in FIG. 1) is deposited on the surface of the workpiece W.

    [0022] A chemical conversion film forming treatment (hereinafter, referred to as "chemical conversion process") is applied before the above-described electrodeposition coating process in the coating of the vehicle body W as shown in FIG. 1. This is because the electrodeposition coating film can be improved in terms of electrodeposition coatability, adhesion, corrosion resistance by a chemical conversion film formed through the chemical conversion film forming treatment. Thus, in the chemical conversion process, a tank 33 for chemical conversion treatment which is filled with a chemical conversion treatment agent 32 is prepared, and the vehicle body W is immersed in the chemical conversion treatment agent 32.

    [0023] The chemical conversion treatment agent 32 contains a compound having at least one selected from the group consisting of Zr, Ti, Hf and Si, as a primary component, and further contains fluorine (an etching agent) and a water-soluble resin, as a secondary component. This is because a chemical conversion film 21 which contains an oxide compound having at least one selected from the group consisting of Zr, Ti, Hf and Si as the primary component is formed on the surface of the vehicle body W immersed in the chemical conversion treatment agent 32, so that eutrophication can be prevented and production of waste sludge associated with the chemical conversion treatment can be suppressed as well as the corrosion resistance can be ensured. More specifically, there has heretofore been known a zinc phosphate film formed using a zinc phosphate-based treatment agent, as a chemical conversion film excellent in the corrosion resistance and the adhesion of a coating film. However, the use of the zinc phosphate-based treatment agent to form the zinc phosphate film involves problems that phosphate ions of the zinc phosphate-based treatment agent cause the eutrophication, and the waste sludge is produced along with the chemical conversion treatment. Therefore, the above-described chemical conversion treatment agent 32 is used to avoid the above-described problems.

    [0024] In the present embodiment, H2ZrF6 of a zirconium compound is used as the primary component of the chemical conversion treatment agent 32, and the vehicle body W is immersed in the chemical conversion treatment agent 32 for the period of time 180 sec., so that the chemical conversion film (hereinafter, referred to as "ZrO2 film") 21 comprising a primary component of a zirconium oxide (hereinafter, expressed as "ZrO2") is formed on the surface of the vehicle body W. More specifically about forming this ZrO2 film, the chemical conversion treatment agent contains HF as the primary component and H2ZrF6 as the secondary component, and these are in a chemically-balanced state as expressed in the following reaction formulas (1) and (2).

            (Reaction formula 1)     HF ⇄ H+ + F-

            (Reaction formula 2)     H2ZrF6 + 2H2O ⇄ ZrO2+ 6HF



    [0025] In case the vehicle body W is immersed in the chemical conversion treatment agent 32 in this state, an anode reaction expressed in the following reaction formula (3) occurs, so that electrons are released in accordance with ionization of Fe (vehicle body). This release of electrons causes a cathode reaction expressed in the flowing reaction formula (4), so that the density of HF in the chemical conversion treatment agent decreases. Accordingly, a chemical reaction in a direction of promoting generation of HF progresses as expressed in the following reaction formula (5). Therefore, the generation of ZrO2 is promoted and thereby the ZrO2 film is formed.

            (Reaction formula 3)     Fe → Fe2+ + 2e-

            (Reaction formula 4)     2HF + 2e- → H2 + 2F-

            (Reaction formula 5)     H2ZrF6 + 2H2O →- ZrO2 + 6HF



    [0026] Meanwhile, in case the chemical conversion film 21, such as the above-described ZrO2, film is used, the chemical conversion film 21 may have a relatively small number of local low-resistance areas (areas with the volume resistivity less than 1000 (Ω·cm)), compared with a chemical conversion film formed using the zinc phosphate-based treatment agent. Accordingly, in the voltage application of the electrodeposition coating process, the number of electrons (free electrons) which can be supplied onto the surface of the chemical conversion film 21 may be relatively small (the number of local electrical-conductive areas may be decreased). Consequently, the deposition amount of coating film may decrease.

    [0027] Hereinafter, the present invention will be more specifically taking an example of the ZrO2 film 21. In the electrodeposition coating process, as one characteristic thereof, a relatively high voltage is applied between the anode (in FIG. 2, the tank T) and a portion of an outer panel of the vehicle body W adjacent to the anode, whereas a relatively low voltage is applied between the anode and a portion of an inner panel of the vehicle body W far from the anode, as shown in FIG. 2. Thus, deposition of an electrodeposition coating film is initiated from the portion of the vehicle body W adjacent to the anode. The deposited coating film has electrical insulation properties, and therefore the electrical resistance of the deposited coating film becomes higher as the amount (thickness) of the deposited coating film is increased along with progress of the deposition of the coating film. Consequently, the deposition of the coating film onto the portion having the deposited coating film is gradually reduced, and instead deposition of the coating film onto a portion having no deposited coating film is initiated. During a course of the electrodeposition coating process, as shown in FIG. 3, if the ZrO2 film (film not containing TiO2 fine particles described below) is formed on the surface of the vehicle body (e.g., cold-rolled steel sheet), the film thickness of the electrodeposition coating film is liable to become excessively small in a low voltage (about zero to 70 V)-applied region, and to become excessively large in a high voltage (70 V or more)-applied region, compared with a case of the zinc phosphate film. Thus, the coating-film thickness at the outer panel of the vehicle body W adjacent to the anode which belongs to the high voltage-applied region becomes considerably larger, compared with the case of the zinc phosphate film. Meanwhile, the coating-film thickness at the inner panel of the vehicle body W far from the anode which belongs to the low voltage-applied region becomes considerably smaller, compared with the case of the zinc phosphate film. Thus, the ZrO2 film is inferior in throwing power of an electrodeposition coating film to the case of the zinc phosphate film.

    [0028] Through various researches on the above-described controversial phenomenon, the inventors of the present invention have obtained the following results.
    1. (1) When the surface of a steel sheet S (a surface of the vehicle body W) is treated with the zinc phosphate-based treatment agent, a crystalline zinc phosphate film 1 having a large number of pointed-shaped portions lying side-by-side is formed to define a large number of low-resistance areas (lower regions of boundary spaces between respective adjacent ones of the pointed portions (areas with the volume resistivity less than 1000 (Ω·cm))) 2, as shown in FIG. 4. Thus, electrons transfer to each of the low-resistance areas 2, so that electrolysis occurs on the surface of the steel sheet S to generate hydroxide ions, and acid giving water solubility to a coating material is neutralized by the hydroxide ions. Based on the neutralization of the acid, a coating film F is deposited on the surface of the steel sheet S, as shown in FIG. 5. Thus, formation of the coating film F on the surface of the steel sheet S is promoted even in a portion of the vehicle body far from the anode which belongs to the low voltage-applied region. In contrast, when the steel sheet S is subjected to the chemical conversion treatment using the chemical conversion treatment agent, the ZrO2 film 21 is formed as a flat continuous noncrystalline film, as shown in FIG. 9. Although a local low-resistance area 22 (area with the volume resistivity less than 1000 (Ω·cm)) is formed in the conventional ZrO2 film 21, the number of the local low-resistance areas 22 is extremely small. Thus, the conventional ZrO2 film 21 has a relatively low electrical conductivity, and thereby the amount of coating film to be deposited on a portion of the vehicle body W far from the anode which belongs to the low voltage-applied region becomes smaller.
    2. (2) The resistance in each of the few local low-resistance areas of the conventional ZrO2 film 21 is greater than that in each of the low-resistance areas 2 of the zinc phosphate film 1. Therefore, no current flows through the ZrO2 film 21 unless a certain level or more of voltage is applied thereto. Thus, as shown in FIG. 10 (see FIG. 5 for comparison), the coating film F is unlikely to be deposited compared with the case of the zinc phosphate film 1.
    3. (3) Further, the resistance in a maximum-resistance area (an area having a maximum film thickness of about 50 nm: see FIG. 9) 23 of the conventional ZrO2 film 21 is less than that in a maximum-resistance area (a pointed area having a maximum film thickness of about 1 to 2 µm: see FIG. 4) 3. Therefore, in the high voltage-applied region, the coating film F is more widely deposited on the ZrO2 film 21 than on the zinc phosphate film 1. Thus, in a portion of the outer panel of the vehicle body W adjacent to the anode which belongs to the high voltage-applied region, the film thickness of the coating film F becomes considerably greater than that of the case of the zinc phosphate film 1. FIGS. 6, 7, 11 and 12 conceptually show the above-described content. Specifically, FIG. 6 is an explanatory diagram conceptually showing an initial stage of deposition of the coating film of the zinc phosphate film 1 in the high voltage-applied region, and FIG. 7 is an explanatory diagram conceptually showing an intermediate stage of the deposition of the coating film of the zinc phosphate film 1 in the high voltage-applied region. FIG. 11 is an explanatory diagram conceptually showing an initial stage of deposition of the coating film of the conventional ZrO2 film 21 in the high voltage-applied region, and FIG. 12 is an explanatory diagram conceptually showing an intermediate stage of the deposition of the coating film of the conventional ZrO2 film 21 in the high voltage-applied region.
    4. (4) The size (spatial size) of each of the low-resistance areas 2 of the zinc phosphate film 1 is relatively small. Thus, electrolysis occurs in each of the low-resistance areas 2 to generate hydroxide ions, and acid giving water solubility to paint is neutralized by the hydroxide ions. Then, when the coating film F is deposited, (the space of) each of the low-resistance areas 2 is easily filled with the coating film F, as shown in FIG. 8. In contrast, each of the few low-resistance areas 22 of the conventional ZrO2 film 21 is thinner and larger (wider) than the low-resistance area 2 of the zinc phosphate film 1. Thus, although a coating film F is deposited through concentration of electric charges in the large low-resistance area 22 and neutralization of acid giving water solubility to paint by the hydroxide ions, the large low-resistance area 22 is not easily filled with the coating film F, as shown in FIG. 13. Therefore, the resistance is not increased along with the deposition of the coating film on the steel sheet S to allow the coating film F to be continuously deposited, so that the film thickness of the coating film F at the outer panel of the vehicle body W adjacent to the anode becomes fairly greater than that of the case of the zinc phosphate film 1. This makes it difficult to allow electrons to transfer to the inner panel of the vehicle body W far from the anode to which electrons essentially hardly transfer, and thereby no coating film F is deposited thereon.


    [0029] Based on the above-described results, as shown in FIG. 1, an adsorption process is provided after a grease removal process (where the vehicle body W is immersed in a grease removing solution 38 contained in a grease removal tank 37 for a period of time 180 sec., for example, to remove grease and dust which are attached onto the vehicle body W) and before the above-described chemical conversion process. In this adsorption process, an electron releasing substance 34 is adsorbed in (attached onto) the vehicle body W, which makes an energy band gap (hereinafter, referred to as "band gap") of a finally-formed chemical conversion film be smaller than that of the chemical conversion film 21 formed by using only the chemical conversion treatment agent 32. The reason for this is to prevent the above-described problems (inferiority in throwing power of the coating film etc.) by making the band gap of the finally-formed chemical conversion film (containing the electron releasing substance 34) be smaller than that of the chemical conversion film 21, such as the ZrO2 film, which is formed by using only the chemical conversion treatment agent 32 in the subsequent process. Specifically, the basic functions, such as the corrosion resistance, are ensured by the properties of the chemical conversion film 21 occupying its most part (with an extremely small amount of electron releasing substance 34), an excessive deposition of the coating film F onto the outer panel of the vehicle body W adjacent to the anode is suppressed by a relative decrease of the ratio of the chemical conversion component based on containment of the electron releasing substance 34 in the chemical conversion film 21, and the deposition of the coating film F on the inner panel of the vehicle body W far from the anode is promoted by an increase of the free electrons directed to the surface of the chemical conversion film 21 on the vehicle body W (i.e., an increase of the number of electrical-conductive areas) based on containment of the electron releasing substance 34 (with the small band gap) in the chemical conversion film 21 (in the voltage application of the electrodeposition coating process). Thus, the improvement of the electrodeposition coatability on the inner panel of the vehicle body W far from the anode in the low voltage-applied region is aimed.

    [0030] Therefore, a tank for adsorption treatment 36 which is filled with a treatment solution 35 which contains the electron releasing substance 34 in a dispersed state is provided to adsorb the electron releasing substance 34 onto the vehicle body W in the adsorption process. The vehicle body W is immersed in the treatment solution 35. At least one kind of the metal fine particles, n-type semiconductor fine particles, intrinsic semiconductor fine particles, electrically conductive organic fine particles, and electrical insulator fine particles is used as the above-described electron releasing substance 34. Each band gap of these fine particles is smaller than that (ZrO2: about 5 to 8 eV) of the chemical conversion film 21. Specifically, Mg, Al, Ca, Co, Ni, Cu, Zn (the band gap: zero eV) is preferably used as the metal fine particles, and the n-type ZnO (the band gap: about 2 eV or less) is preferably used as the n-type semiconductor fine particles. Further, fine particles which protect polyaniline, metal where the surface is covered with organic molecules to secure dispersability of metal fine particles in liquid (the band gap: almost zero eV) is preferably used as the electrically conductive organic fine particles, and an oxide compound selected from ZnO or TiO2, (the band gap: 2 to 3 eV) is used as the electrical insulator fine particles. Herein, the average particle size of these fine particles of 100nm or less is preferable, and especially the average particle size of 20 to 50 nm is more preferable. The average particle can be measured by JISR1622 (General test material adjusting rule for measuring radius distribution of fine ceramics base material particles), JISR1629 (Method for measuring particle radius distribution of fine ceramics base material by laser-defraction or -scattering method) and JISZ8819-2 (Part 2 of displaying particle radius measuring results: calculating average particle radius or average particle diameter or moment from the particle radius distribution), respectively.

    [0031] In the present embodiment, the fine particles of titanous oxide (TiO2) as the electrical insulator fine particles are used as the above-described electron releasing substance 34. This is because even if the TiO2 fine particles adsorbed into the vehicle body W in the adsorption process are used, there occurs not any problem in the chemical conversion film 21 formed in the subsequent chemical conversion process in terms of the corrosion resistance of the chemical film. Further, in the voltage application in the electrodeposition coating process, the electrons are positively excited based on the properties of the TiO2 fine particles having the band gap (3.0 to 3.2 eV) which is smaller than that (about 5 eV) of the ZrO2 film 21, so that the number of the free electrons can be increased (i.e., the number of the local low-resistance areas in the chemical conversion film can be increased). Thus, promotion of the hydroxide ions for the coating-film deposition can be achieved. Therefore, the treatment solution 35 contained in the adsorption treatment tank 36 is set to have pH 6 to 10, the temperature of 10 to 40°C, and the TiO2 fine particles are immersed in this treatment solution 35 with the concentration of 10 to 500 ppm (i.e., TiO2 colloid concentration which will be described below). Herein, the protective colloid (i.e., hydrophile colloid) is used in order to maintain the dispersed state of the TiO2 fine particles in the treatment solution 35, and hydroxyethyl methacrylate is used as the protective colloid in the present embodiment. A mass ratio of this protective colloid to the TiO2 fine particles is set to be that the protective colloid: the TiO2 fine particles = 1: 9. Even though the protective colloid is used for the dispersion of the TiO2 fine particles (hereinafter, the TiO2 fine particles with the protective colloid attached thereto will be referred to as "TiO2 colloid"), the density of that (hereinafter, referred to as "TiO2 colloid density") substantially shows the density of the TiO2 fine particles.

    [0032] Further, it is set that the vehicle body W is immersed in the treatment solution 35 of the adsorption treatment tank 36 for a period of time of 10 to 600 sec. (30 sec. in the present embodiment) in the adsorption process, so that a specified amount of TiO2 fine particles is adsorbed into the vehicle body W. A covalent bond is utilized between the TiO2 fine particles and the vehicle body W for this adsorption, and therefore the TiO2 fine particles may not be released off the vehicle body W when the vehicle body W is immersed in the chemical conversion treatment tank 33 in the subsequent chemical conversion process.

    [0033] Thereby, the ZrO2 film 21 containing the TiO2 fine particles is formed on the surface of the vehicle body W as a final chemical conversion film in the chemical conversion process following the above-described adsorption process. Thus, the coating-film thickness characteristic (electrodeposition characteristic) of that becomes similar to that of the crystalline zinc phosphate film 1. As a result, the eutrophication can be prevented and the production of waste sludge associated can be suppressed, and also the excellent corrosion resistance and electrodeposition coatability can be obtained.

    [0034] Herein, in terms of the above-described problem (the film thickness of the coating film at the portion of the workpiece adjacent to the anode which belongs to the high voltage-applied region becomes fairly greater than that of the case of the zinc phosphate film, whereas the film thickness of the coating film at the portion of the workpiece far from the anode which belongs to the low voltage-applied region becomes considerably smaller than that of the case of the zinc phosphate film), it may be considered that the respective low-resistance areas 22 at the ZrO2 film (not containing the metal fine particles, n-type semiconductor fine particles, intrinsic semiconductor fine particles, electrically conductive organic fine particles, and electrical insulator fine particles) are so decreased by some method that the electric charges do not concentrate in the respective low-resistance areas 22. In this case, however, the thickness of the film may increase, so that the deposition of the coating film may not occur unless a voltage to initiate the deposition of the coating film is increased further. In contrast, in case at least one kind of the metal fine particles, n-type semiconductor fine particles, intrinsic semiconductor fine particles, electrically conductive organic fine particles, and electrical insulator fine particles is contained in the ZrO2 film 21, the supplied electrons increase during the voltage application (the number of electrical-conductive areas increase) regardless of the increase of the respective low-resistance areas 22. Consequently, the concentration of the electric charges in the respective low-resistance areas 22 can be avoided. Thus, the above-described problem (the coating-film thickness characteristic of the ZrO2 film 21 becomes similar to that of the crystalline zinc phosphate film 1) can be avoided.

    [0035] FIG. 14 shows a coating-film thickness characteristic of the ZrO2 film containing the TiO2 fine particles, as chemical conversion film, for the purpose of supporting the above-described contents. Herein, a test sample used a vehicle body which was immersed in the treatment solution 35 containing the Ti colloid in the adsorption process, and then it was immersed in the chemical treatment agent in the chemical conversion process. The specific test conditions were as follows:
    1. (1) Adsorption Process

      TiO2 colloid density (TiO2: protective colloid = 9: 1 (mass ratio): 50ppm [measured by JISK0133]

      pH of the treatment solution: 9

      Temperature of the treatment solution: 30°C

      Immersion period of time of the test vehicle body: 30 sec.

      Properties of TiO2

      Volume resistivity: 20 to 200 (Ω·cm) [measured by JISB9915)]

      Specific surface area: 30 to 50 (m2/g) [measured by JISR1626]

      Average particle size (primary particle size): 30 to 50 (nm)

    2. (2) Chemical conversion process

      Composition of the chemical treatment agent: zirconium acid H2ZrF6, fluoric acid (HF), water-soluble resin

      pH of the chemical conversion treatment agent: 4

      Immersion period of time of the test vehicle body: 180 sec.

      Temperature of the chemical conversion treatment agent (bath tempt.): 30°C



    [0036] According to the results of FIG. 14, the coating-film thickness characteristic (electrodeposition coatability) of the ZrO2 film 21 containing the TiO2 fine particles (developed film) became similar to that of the zinc phosphate film 1. This is because it can be considered that in case the ZrO2 film 21 containing the TiO2 fine particles was used as a final chemical conversion film, the electrons were excited in the TiO2 fine particles during the voltage application, and thereby the number of free electrons (local electrical-conductive areas) was increased to promote the deposition of the coating film (resin) F onto the surface of the steel sheet S, as shown in an explanatory diagram of the band gap of FIG. 15 and a conceptual diagram of FIG. 16. In this case, an applied voltage to increase the number of free electrons is preferably set at a value greater than a corrosion potential (e.g., about 1 V). In FIG. 16, reference character P denotes a coating material having water solubility given by acid.

    [0037] FIG. 17 is a table showing an influence of a content ratio of the TiO2 fine particles in the ZrO2 film 21 containing the TiO2 fine particles on the coating-film thickness (electrodeposition coatability) and the corrosion resistance. As seen in FIG. 17, the coating-film thickness becomes greater (thicker) along with an increase in the density of the TiO2 colloid (i.e., the substantial TiO2 fine particle concentration (ppm)) in the treatment solution in the adsorption process, and a problem about the corrosion resistance occurs when the density (ppm) of the TiO2 colloid is increased up to a specified value or more although the corrosion resistance is in an allowable range when the amount is less than the specified value. Herein, it was set in any case of the respective treatment solutions 35 in the adsorption process that the immersion period of time of the vehicle body W in the adsorption treatment tank 36 was 30 sec., the temperature of the treatment agent in the adsorption treatment tank (bath tempt.) was 30°C, and pH of the treatment solution was 9. Further, the corrosion resistance was evaluated based on measurement of a swelling rate (%) of the coating film F after 60 cycles of cyclic corrosion tests (CCTs) (1 cycle of the CCT is approximately equal to 3 cycles of JIS K5600-7-9 cycle A).

    [0038] FIG. 18 shows a technique of determining an upper limit of the density of the TiO2 colloid (ppm) in view of the corrosion resistance. That is, the relationship between the TiO2 colloid density (ppm) and the coating-film F swelling rate (%) after 60 cycles of the CCTs in FIG. 17 is plotted in FIG. 18, and the upper limit of the TiO2 colloid density (ppm) is determined based on a coating-film swelling rate of 30 (%) which is used as an allowable limit (reference value) of the corrosion resistance. In this case, the coating-film swelling rate of 30 (%) is used as the allowable limit (reference value) of the corrosion resistance. This is based on the following reason. A 12-year warranty against a rust hole of the outer panel of the vehicle body becomes mainstream, and it has been confirmed by past records that the warranty is satisfied when the coating-film swelling rate is less than 30 (%). Herein, 1 cycle of the CCT is approximately equal to 3 cycles of JIS K5600-7-9 cycle A. According to FIG. 18, the density of the TiO2 colloid in the solution in the adsorption process at the allowable limit of corrosion resistance is 500 ppm. That is, it is necessary to set the TiO2 colloid density at 500 ppm or less in order to ensure the corrosion resistance. Meanwhile, with respect to a lower limit, it is necessary to set that at 10 ppm or more in order to ensure the coating-film thickness.

    EMBODIMENT 2



    [0039] FIGS. 19 through 25 show a second embodiment of the present invention. Herein, the n-type ZnO as n-type semiconductor fine particles was used as the electron releasing substance to be adsorbed in the adsorption process, and it was contained in the ZrO2 film 21 through the chemical conversion process to make a developed film of the present embodiment. In this example, the content ratio of the n-type ZnO to the ZrO2 film 21 was 5.6 mass %, and the n-type ZnO had the following composition and characteristics:

    Composition: Ga-Doped ZnO

    Volume resistivity: 20 to 100 (Ω·cm)

    Specific surface area: 30 to 50 (m2/g)

    Average particle size (primary particle size): 20 to 40 (nm)



    [0040] According to the results of FIG. 19, the coating-film thickness characteristic (electrodeposition coatability) of the ZrO2 film containing the n-type ZnO (semiconductor fine particles) became similar to that of the zinc phosphate film 1. This is because it can be considered that in case the ZrO2 film 21 containing the n-type ZnO was used as a chemical conversion film, the number of free electrons (local electrical-conductive areas) was increased during the voltage application to promote the deposition of the coating film (resin) F onto the surface of the steel sheet S, as shown in a conceptual diagram of FIG. 20. In this case, an applied voltage to increase the number of free electrons is preferably set at a value greater than a corrosion potential (e.g., about 1 V). In FIG. 20, reference character P denotes a coating material having water solubility given by acid.

    [0041] FIGS. 21 through 23 show results of measurement of a current density distribution on a surface of each of the ZrO2 film 21 (not containing the n-type ZnO) and the ZrO2 film 21 containing the above-described n-type ZnO by using a scanning vibrating electrode technique (SVET). FIG. 21 is a graph showing the current density distribution during non-voltage application, in each of the conventional ZrO2 film and the ZrO2 film containing the n-type ZnO. In this case, no current was detected in either measurement. FIG. 22 is a graph showing the current density distribution during voltage (1 V) application, in the ZrO2 film. In this case, no current was detected, either. FIG. 23 is a graph showing the current density distribution during voltage (1 V) application, in the ZrO2 film 21 containing the n-type ZnO. In this case, a current was detected as shown in FIG. 23. This verified that the n-type ZnO contributes to an increase in the number of free electrons (local electrical-conductive areas), so as to promote deposition of a coating film F.

    [0042] FIG. 24 is a table showing an influence of a content ratio of the n-type ZnO (semiconductor fine particles) to the ZrO2 film containing the n-type ZnO, on the film thickness (electrodeposition coatability) of the coating film and the corrosion resistance. As seen in FIG. 24, the film thickness (electrodeposition coatability) of the coating film becomes greater (thicker) along with an increase in amount (mass %) of the n-type ZnO, and a problem about the corrosion resistance occurs when the amount (mass %) of the n-type ZnO is increased up to a specified value or more although the corrosion resistance is in an allowable range when the amount is less than the specified value. The corrosion resistance was evaluated based on measurement of the swelling rate (%) of the coating film F after 60 cycles of cyclic corrosion tests (CCTs) (1 cycle of the CCT is approximately equal to 3 cycles of JIS K5600-7-9 cycle A).

    [0043] FIG. 25 shows a technique of determining an upper limit of the amount (mass %) of the n-type ZnO in view of the corrosion resistance. Specifically, the relationship between the amount (mass %) of the n-type ZnO and the coating-film swelling rate (%) of the coating film F after 60 cycles of the CCTs in FIG. 24 is plotted in FIG. 25, and an upper limit of the amount (mass %) of the n-type ZnO is determined based on a coating-film swelling rate of 30 (%) which is used as an allowable limit (reference value) of the corrosion resistance. In this case, a coating-film swelling rate of 30 (%) is used as an allowable limit (reference value) of the corrosion resistance. This is based on the following reason. A 12-year warranty against a rust hole of an outer panel of a vehicle body becomes mainstream, and it has been confirmed by past records that the warranty is satisfied when the coating-film swelling rate is less than 30 (%). As seen in FIG. 25, the amount (mass %) of the n-type ZnO at the allowable limit of the corrosion resistance is 8.2 mass %. That is, it is necessary to set the amount of the n-type ZnO at 8.2 mass % or less in order to ensure the corrosion resistance.

    EMBODIMENT 3



    [0044] A third embodiment, which is shown in FIG. 26, shows manufacturing processes, in which a doping treatment of an electron releasing-related substance which is adsorbed in the adsorption process is applied to a chemical conversion film before the electrodeposition coating process and thereby the chemical conversion film is formed on the n-type semiconductor. In the third embodiment, an electron releasing-related substance which has a greater electric charge number than the chemical conversion film (Zr) was used and it was adsorbed into the vehicle body W in the adsorption process. Then, the vehicle body W was heated (anneal treatment) in a heating process which is before the electrodeposition coating process and after the chemical conversion process, so that a doping treatment of the electron releasing substance was applied to the chemical conversion film. Specific manufacturing conditions were as follows:
    1. (i) Electron releasing substance: Ti, Zn as a metal, an oxide of which becomes semiconductor; halogen, such as F or Cl, which becomes a n-type through replacement with oxygen; a group of 5, such as P or As, which becomes a n-type through replacement with Zr In case of Fig.26, the adsorbed material is fine particles of Ti. By a heating process, the metal adsorbed in the adsorption process is spreaded/diffused in the film. As a result, the film itself can be given semiconductor characteristic. Also, by completely oxidizing the film, the shielding characteristic rises, and an increase in corrosion resistance is expected. In case of Fig. 26, it is possible that the TiOx portion in the film shows n-type semiconductor characteristic behaviour. If elements with high valence are used for doping, ones with high charge number would be P or As. Also, for actual adsorbing, Ti fine particles might be advantageous when also considering the environmental aspect.
    2. (ii) Conditions of heating (anneal treatment) process: 400 to 800°C


    [0045] Thereby, the number of free electrons can be increased in the chemical conversion film during the voltage application in the electrodeposition coating process, so that the electrodeposition coatability can be improved as well.

    EMBODIMENT 4 (not part of the invention)



    [0046] A fourth embodiment which is not within the scope of the present invention will be described referring to FIGS.

    [0047] 27 through 33. FIG. 27 is a process diagram showing manufacturing processes according to the fourth embodiment. In this figure, the same portions as those in the above-described manufacturing processes of the first embodiment which is shown in FIG. 1 are denoted by the same reference characters, and detailed description of those are omitted here.

    [0048] As shown in FIG. 27, an adsorption (attachment) process is provided after the grease removal process (where the vehicle body W is immersed in the grease removing solution 38 contained in the grease removal tank 37 for a period of time 180 sec., for example, to remove grease, dust and the like which are attached onto the vehicle body W) and before the chemical conversion process. In this adsorption process, an electrically conductive substance 34' is adsorbed in (attached onto) the vehicle body W. The reason for this is to form an uneven surface of the vehicle body W through the adsorption treatment of the electrically conductive substance 34' so that the chemical conversion film 21 formed on the vehicle body W in the subsequent chemical conversion process can have a large number of local low-resistance areas (i.e., thin film portions (superior electrical-conductive areas).

    [0049] Specifically, a metal of Cu (i.e., copper) is used as the electrically conductive substance 34' according to the present embodiment, and the metal Cu exists in an ion state in a treatment solution 35' contained in the adsorption treatment tank 36 (e.g., a copper sulfate solution is used as the treatment solution). In this case, the density of Cu ion of the treatment solution 35' is set at 5 to 500 ppm, having pH 2 to 5 and a solution temperature (bath tempt.) of 10 to 40°C, in view of the coating-film thickness (electrodeposition characteristic) and corrosion resistance.

    [0050] In this adsorption process, the vehicle body W is immersed in the treatment solution 35' as the attachment treatment. Thereby, as shown in FIG. 28, Fe as a component of the vehicle body W is ionized to release electrons, and the released electrons are combined with Cu2+ in the treatment solution 35', resulting in deposition of Cu on the surface of the vehicle body W, which is expressed by the following reaction formula 6. Herein, an immersion period of time is set at about 10 to 600 sec. (30 sec. in the present embodiment) in view of the deposition (adsorption) of Cu.
    (Reaction formula 6)

            Fe → Fe2+ + 2e-

            Cu2+ + 2e- → Cu



    [0051] Accordingly, the surface of the vehicle body W becomes uneven by the deposition of Cu as shown in FIG. 28 (conceptual diagram) (the height from a bottom face of a concave portion 41 (the surface of the vehicle body W) to a top face of a convex portion 40 is about some nm). This uneven state of the surface of the vehicle body W is caused by local difference in an etching reaction (deposition reaction) due to differences in a degree of surface oxidization and a state of electrons. Herein, the differences in the degree of surface oxidization and the state of electrons are caused by the unevenness (Ra = some µm) of the surface of the vehicle body (steel plate) W, local composition, and difference in a direction of crystal face. Accordingly, Cu is deposited mainly at regions of the surface of the vehicle body W where the etching reaction occurs easily, thereby forming the convex portions 40 at the regions. The convex portions 40 comprised of the deposited Cu may have a circular shape, an oval shape, or their combined shape. Between the convex portions 40 are formed the concave portions 41, where the surface of the vehicle body W (bottom face of the concave portions 41) is exposed to the outside. Herein, a metal connection (adsorption) occurs between each of the deposited Cu or the deposited Cu and Fe (the component of the vehicle body W), so that the deposited Cu may not come off the vehicle body W even if the vehicle body W is immersed in the tank 33 in the chemical conversion process.

    [0052] Accordingly, in case the vehicle body W which has been treated in the adsorption process is immersed in the tank 33 in the subsequent chemical conversion process, according to the above-described reaction formulas 1 to 5, the electrons from the ionization of the component (Fe) of the vehicle body W move to the convex portions 40 with Cu having a higher electrical potential, and ZrO2 is deposited positively on the convex portions 40 based on the above-described electrons. Meanwhile, the component (Fe) of the vehicle body W is exposed at the concave portions 41 between the adjacent convex portions 40, where ZrO2 are not deposited very much (the electrical potential of Fe is smaller than that of Cu). Therefore, the film thickness of ZrO2 of the concave portions 41 is smaller than (thinner) than that of the other portion (convex portions 40), and thin film portions 42 are formed. As a result, in the electrodeposition coating process after the chemical conversion process, as shown in FIG. 30, the thin film portions 42 of the chemical conversion film 21 become the local low-resistance areas, so that the deposition of the coating film can be promoted by these thin film portions 42 as electrical-conductive areas during the voltage application in the electrodeposition coating process. Accordingly, the electrodeposition coatability at the low voltage-applied regions can be improved.

    [0053] Thus, the coating-film thickness characteristic (electrodeposition characteristic) of the chemical conversion film (ZrO2 film which is formed on Cu deposited on the surface of the vehicle body W), which has been finally formed through the adsorption process and the chemical conversion process, becomes similar to that of the crystalline zinc phosphate film 1. As a result, the eutrophication can be prevented and the production of waste sludge associated can be suppressed, and also the excellent corrosion resistance and electrodeposition coatability can be obtained.

    [0054] More specifically, the basic functions, such as the corrosion resistance, are ensured by the properties of the chemical conversion film 21 occupying its most part (with an extremely small amount of deposited component 34'), and an excessive deposition of the coating film F onto the outer panel of the vehicle body W adjacent to the anode is suppressed by a relative decrease of the ratio of the chemical conversion component based on containment of Cu in the chemical conversion film 21. Further, a large number of local low-resistance areas (i.e., thin film portions 42, superior electrical-conductive portions) are formed at the chemical conversion film 21 in the chemical conversion process based on the shape of the concave portions 41 between the adjacent convex portions 40 of Cu deposited in the adsorption process. Thus, the electrodeposition coatability on the inner panel of the vehicle body W far from the anode in the low voltage-applied region can be improved.

    [0055] Herein, in terms of the above-described problem (the film thickness of the coating film at the portion of the workpiece adjacent to the anode which belongs to the high voltage-applied region becomes fairly greater than that of the case of the zinc phosphate film, whereas the film thickness of the coating film at the portion of the workpiece far from the anode which belongs to the low voltage-applied region becomes considerably smaller than that of the case of the zinc phosphate film), it may be considered that the respective low-resistance areas 22 at the ZrO2 film (Cu is not deposited in the adsorption process) are so decreased by some method that the electric charges do not concentrate in the respective low-resistance areas 22. In this case, however, the thickness of the film may increase, so that the deposition of the coating film may not occur unless a voltage to initiate the deposition of the coating film is increased further. In contrast, in case Cu is deposited in the adsorption process and the ZrO2 film 21 is formed on that, the supplied electrons increase during the voltage application (the number of electrical-conductive areas increase) at the thin film portions 42. Consequently, the concentration of the electric charges in the respective low-resistance areas 22 can be avoided. Thus, the above-described problem (the coating-film thickness characteristic of the ZrO2 film 21 becomes similar to that of the crystalline zinc phosphate film 1) can be avoided.

    [0056] FIG. 31 shows a coating-film thickness characteristic of the ZrO2 film formed on the vehicle body W through the deposition of Cu in the adsorption process for the purpose of supporting the above-described contents. Herein, a test sample used a vehicle body which was immersed in the treatment solution 35' containing the Cu ion in the adsorption process, and then it was immersed in the chemical treatment agent 32 in the chemical conversion process. The specific test conditions were as follows:
    1. (1) Adsorption Process

      Composition of the treatment solution: Cu (NO3)2 50 ppm, NaOH (for pH adjustment)

      pH of the treatment solution: 3

      Temperature of the treatment solution: 30°C

      Immersion period of time of the test vehicle body: 30 sec.

    2. (2) Chemical conversion process

      Composition of the chemical treatment agent: zirconium acid H2ZrF6, fluoric acid (HF), water-soluble resin

      pH of the chemical conversion treatment agent: 4

      Immersion period of time of the test vehicle body: 180 sec.

      Temperature of the chemical conversion treatment agent (bath tempt.): 30°C



    [0057] According to the results of FIG. 31, the coating-film thickness characteristic (electrodeposition coatability) of the ZrO2 film 21 formed on the vehicle body W through the deposition of Cu in the adsorption process became similar to that of the zinc phosphate film 1. This is because it can be considered that the chemical conversion film 21 forms the thin film portions 42 with the concave portions 41 formed between the adjacent convex portions 40 of Cu, and these thin film portions 42 become the local low-resistance areas (superior electrical-conductive areas), thereby promoting the deposition of the coating film (resin) F, as shown in a conceptual diagram of FIG. 30. In this case, an applied voltage to increase the number of electrical-conductive areas is preferably set at a value greater than a corrosion potential (e.g., about 1 V). In FIG. 30, reference character P denotes a coating material having water solubility given by acid.

    [0058] FIG. 32 is a table showing an influence of the density of the Cu ion in the treatment solution 35' in the adsorption process on the coating-film thickness (electrodeposition coatability) and the corrosion resistance. As seen in FIG. 32, the coating-film thickness becomes greater (thicker) along with an increase in the density of the Cu ion and then turns to decrease when reaching a specified value, and a problem about the corrosion resistance occurs when the density (ppm) of the Cu ion is increased up to a specified value or more although the corrosion resistance is in an allowable range when the amount is less than the specified value. Herein, it was set in any case of the respective treatment solutions 35' in the adsorption process that the immersion period of time of the vehicle body W in the adsorption treatment tank 36 was 30 sec., the temperature of the treatment agent in the adsorption treatment tank (bath tempt.) was 30°C, and pH of the treatment solution was 3, and the conditions used in the test shown in FIG. 31 were used as the conditions of the chemical conversion process. Further, the corrosion resistance was evaluated based on measurement of a swelling rate (%) of the coating film F after 60 cycles of cyclic corrosion tests (CCTs) (1 cycle of the CCT is approximately equal to 3 cycles of JIS K5600-7-9 cycle A).

    [0059] FIG. 33 shows a technique of determining an upper limit of the density of the Cu ion (ppm) in the treatment solution 35' in view of the corrosion resistance. That is, the relationship between the Cu ion density (ppm) and the coating-film F swelling rate (%) after 60 cycles of the CCTs in FIG. 32 is plotted in FIG. 33, and the upper limit of the Cu ion density (ppm) in the treatment solution is determined based on a coating-film swelling rate of 30 (%) which is used as an allowable limit (reference value) of the corrosion resistance. In this case, the coating-film swelling rate of 30 (%) is used as the allowable limit (reference value) of the corrosion resistance. This is based on the following reason. A 12-year warranty against a rust hole of the outer panel of the vehicle body becomes mainstream, and it has been confirmed by past records that the warranty is satisfied when the coating-film swelling rate is less than 30 (%). Herein, 1 cycle of the CCT is approximately equal to 3 cycles of JIS K5600-7-9 cycle A. According to FIG. 33, the density of the Cu ion in the treatment solution in the adsorption process at the allowable limit of corrosion resistance is 500 ppm. That is, it is necessary to set the Cu ion density in the treatment solution at 500 ppm or less in order to ensure the corrosion resistance. Meanwhile, with respect to a lower limit, is necessary to set that at 5ppm or more in order to ensure the coating-film thickness.

    [0060] For example, the electron releasing-related substance may be attached onto the vehicle body (workpiece to be coated) through any other treatment using spray deposition or thermal spraying instead of the immersion treatment.


    Claims

    1. A surface treatment method of a metal material (W), comprising:

    attaching an electron releasing-related substance (34) onto a surface of the metal material (W) in an adsorption process; and

    applying a chemical conversion treatment to the metal material (W) having the electron releasing-related substance (34) attached thereto, using a chemical conversion treatment agent (32), in a chemical conversion process which is provided before an electrodeposition coating process such that an energy band gap of a finally-formed chemical conversion film (21) is smaller than that of a chemical conversion film (21) formed by using only the chemical conversion treatment agent (32),

    wherein an electron releasing substance (34) to make the energy band gap of the finally-formed chemical conversion film (21) be smaller than that of the chemical conversion film (21) formed by using only the chemical conversion treatment agent (32) is used as said electron releasing-related substance so that said finally-formed chemical conversion film (21) can be the chemical conversion film (21) formed by using only the chemical conversion treatment agent (32) which contains said electron releasing substance (34),

    wherein at least one kind of metal fine particles, n-type semiconductor fine particles, preferably n-type ZnO, intrinsic semiconductor fine particles, electrically conductive organic fine particles, and electrical insulator fine particles is used as said electron releasing substance (34), wherein the electrical insulator fine particle is an oxide compound selected from ZnO and TiO2, and

    wherein a compound having at least one selected from a group consisting of Zr, Ti, Hf and Si as a primary component is used as said chemical conversion treatment agent (32) so that the chemical conversion film (21) is formed by an oxide compound having at least one selected from the group consisting of Zr, Ti, Hf and Si.


     
    2. The surface treatment method of a metal material (W) of claim 1, wherein said electron releasing substance (34) is titanous oxide which excites an electron by applying an energy exceeding a specified energy band gap.
     
    3. The surface treatment method of a metal material (W) of claim 1 or 2, wherein titanous oxide which excites an electron by applying an energy exceeding a specified energy band gap is used as said electron releasing substance (34), a compound having at least one selected from a group consisting of Zr, Ti, Hf and Si as a primary component is used as said chemical conversion treatment agent (32) so that the chemical conversion film (21) is formed by an oxide compound having at least one selected from the group consisting of Zr, Ti, Hf and Si, and the metal material (W) is immersed in a treatment solution (35) in which fine particles of the titanous oxide are in a dispersed state with a concentration of 10 to 500 ppm in case of attaching the titanous oxide onto the surface of the metal material (W).
     
    4. The surface treatment method of a metal material (W) of claim 3, wherein a protective colloid is used in case of making said fine particles of the titanous oxide in the dispersed state in said treatment solution.
     
    5. The surface treatment method of a metal material (W) of claim 4, wherein the protective colloid is hydroxyethyl methacrylate.
     


    Ansprüche

    1. Oberflächenbehandlungsverfahren bezüglich eines Metallmaterials (W), umfassend:

    Anbringen einer Elektronen-abgebenden Substanz (34) auf eine Oberfläche des Metallmaterials (W) in einem Adsorptionsverfahren, und

    Anwenden einer chemischen Umwandlungsbehandlung auf das Metallmaterial (W) mit der Elektronen-abgebenden Substanz (34) angebracht daran unter Verwendung eines chemischen Umwandlungsbehandlungsmittels (32) in einem chemischen Umwandlungsverfahren, welches vor einem Elektroabscheidungsbeschichtungsverfahren derart bereitgestellt wird, dass eine Energiebandlücke eines final gebildeten chemischen Umwandlungsfilms (21) geringer ist als die eines chemischen Umwandlungsfilms (21), gebildet unter Verwendung von nur dem chemischen Umwandlungsbehandlungsmittel (32),

    wobei eine Elektronen-abgebende Substanz (34), um die Energiebandlücke des final gebildeten chemischen Umwandlungsfilms (21) geringer zu machen als die des chemischen Umwandlungsfilms (21), gebildet unter Verwendung von nur dem chemischen Umwandlungsbehandlungsmittel (32), als die Elektronen-abgebende Substanz derart verwendet wird, dass der final gebildete chemische Umwandlungsfilm (21) der chemische Umwandlungsfilm (21), gebildet unter Verwendung von nur dem chemischen Umwandlungsbehandlungsmittel (32), welcher die Elektronen-abgebende Substanz (34) enthält, sein kann,

    wobei mindestens eine Art von feinen Metallteilchen, feinen n-Typ-Halbleiterteilchen, vorzugsweise n-Typ ZnO, feinen Teilchen von intrinsischem Halbleiter, elektrisch leitfähigen organischen feinen Teilchen und feinen elektrischen Isolatorteilchen als die Elektronen-abgebende Substanz (34) verwendet wird, wobei die feinen elektrischen Isolatorteilchen eine Oxidverbindung, ausgewählt aus ZnO und TiO2, ist, und

    wobei eine Verbindung mit mindestens einem, ausgewählt aus einer Gruppe, bestehend aus Zr, Ti, Hf und Si, als eine primäre Komponente als das chemisehe Umwandlungsbehandlungsmittel (32) derart verwendet wird, dass der chemische Umwandlungsfilm (21) durch eine Oxidverbindung mit mindestens einem, ausgewählt aus der Gruppe, bestehend aus Zr, Ti, Hf und Si, gebildet wird.


     
    2. Oberflächenbehandlungsverfahren bezüglich eines Metallmaterials (W) gemäß Anspruch 1, wobei die Elektronen-abgebende Substanz (34) Titanoxid ist, welches ein Elektron durch Anwenden einer Energie, welche eine spezifische Energiebandlücke übersteigt, anregt.
     
    3. Oberflächenbehandlungsverfahren bezüglich eines Metallmaterials (W) gemäß Anspruch 1 oder 2, wobei Titanoxid, welches ein Elektron durch Anwenden einer Energie, welche eine spezifische Energiebandlücke übersteigt, anregt, als die Elektronen-abgebende Substanz (34) verwendet wird, eine Verbindung mit mindestens einem, ausgewählt aus einer Gruppe, bestehend aus Zr, Ti, Hf und Si, als eine primäre Komponente als das chemische Umwandlungsbehandlungsmittel (32) derart verwendet wird, dass der chemische Umwandlungsfilm (21) durch eine Oxidverbindung mit mindestens einem, ausgewählt aus der Gruppe, bestehend aus Zr, Ti, Hf und Si, gebildet wird, und das Metallmaterial (W) in eine Behandlungslösung (35) eingetaucht wird, worin feine Teilchen des Titanoxids in einem dispergierten Zustand mit einer Konzentration von 10 bis 500 ppm im Fall des Anbringens des Titanoxids auf die Oberfläche des Metallmaterials (W) sind.
     
    4. Oberflächenbehandlungsverfahren bezüglich eines Metallmaterials (W) gemäß Anspruch 3, wobei ein Schutzkolloid in dem Fall des Bereitstellens der feinen Teilchen des Titanoxids in dem dispergierten Zustand in der Behandlungslösung verwendet wird.
     
    5. Oberflächenbehandlungsverfahren bezüglich eines Metallmaterials (W) gemäß Anspruch 4, wobei das Schutzkolloid Hydroxyethylmethacrylat ist.
     


    Revendications

    1. Procédé de traitement de surface d'un matériau métallique (W), comprenant :

    la pose d'une substance libérant des électrons (34) sur une face du matériau métallique (W) par un processus d'adsorption ; et

    la réalisation d'un traitement de conversion chimique sur le matériau métallique (W) portant la substance libérant des électrons (34), au moyen d'un agent de traitement de conversion chimique (32), au cours d'un processus de conversion chimique qui est effectué avant un processus de revêtement par électrodéposition de sorte que la bande interdite du film de conversion chimique obtenu (21) soit inférieure à celle d'un film de conversion chimique (21) formé en utilisant uniquement l'agent de traitement de conversion chimique (32),

    où une substance libérant des électrons (34) utilisée pour que la bande interdite du film de conversion chimique obtenu (21) soit inférieure à celle du film de conversion chimique (21) formé en utilisant uniquement l'agent de traitement de conversion chimique (32) est utilisée comme substance libérant des électrons pour que ledit film de conversion chimique finalement obtenu (21) puisse être le film de conversion chimique (21) formé en utilisant seulement l'agent de traitement de conversion chimique (32), qui contient ladite substance libérant des électrons (34),

    où au moins un type parmi de fines particules métalliques, de fines particules de semi-conducteur de type n, de préférence de ZnO de type n, de fines particules de semi-conducteur intrinsèque, de fines particules organiques conductrices de l'électricité, et de fines particules isolantes électrique, est utilisé comme substance libérant des électrons (34), où les fines particules isolantes électrique sont un composé oxyde choisi parmi ZnO et TiO2, et

    où un composé, dont le composant primaire est au moins l'un choisi parmi le groupe consistant en Zr, Ti, Hf et Si, est utilisé comme agent de traitement de conversion chimique (32), de sorte que le film de conversion chimique (21) est formé d'un composé oxyde comportant au moins un élément choisi parmi le groupe consistant en Zr, Ti, Hf et Si.


     
    2. Procédé de traitement de surface d'un matériau métallique (W) selon la revendication 1, où ladite substance libérant des électrons (34) est l'oxyde de titane, dont un électron est excité par application d'une énergie dépassant une certaine bande interdite.
     
    3. Procédé de traitement de surface d'un matériau métallique (W) selon la revendication 1 ou 2, où l'oxyde de titane excité par application d'une énergie dépassant une certaine bande interdite est utilisé comme substance libérant des électrons (34), un composé comportant au moins un élément choisi parmi le groupe consistant en Zr, Ti, Hf et Si comme composant primaire est utilisé comme agent de traitement de conversion chimique (32) de sorte que le film de conversion chimique (21) est formé d'un composé oxyde comportant au moins un élément choisi parmi le groupe consistant en Zr, Ti, Hf et Si, et le matériau métallique (W) est immergé dans une solution de traitement (35), dans laquelle de fines particules d'oxyde de titane sont dispersées en une concentration allant de 10 à 500 ppm lorsque l'oxyde de titane est appliqué sur la surface du matériau métallique (W).
     
    4. Procédé de traitement de surface d'un matériau métallique (W) selon la revendication 3, où un colloïde protecteur est utilisé lorsque de fines particules d'oxyde de titane sont dispersées dans la solution de traitement.
     
    5. Procédé de traitement de surface d'un matériau métallique (W) selon la revendication 4, où le colloïde protecteur est un méthacrylate d'hydroxyméthyle.
     




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    Cited references

    REFERENCES CITED IN THE DESCRIPTION



    This list of references cited by the applicant is for the reader's convenience only. It does not form part of the European patent document. Even though great care has been taken in compiling the references, errors or omissions cannot be excluded and the EPO disclaims all liability in this regard.

    Patent documents cited in the description