Thermal Spraying

Thermal spraying, also commonly known as metal spraying is a surface engineering / coating process where a wide range of metals and ceramics can be sprayed onto the surface of another material. It is widely used to provide corrosion protection to ferrous metals or to change the surface properties of the sprayed items, such as improve the wear resistance or thermal conductivity. The range of thermal spray applications is vast.

 

All methods of thermal spraying involve the projection of small molten or softened particles onto a prepared surface where they adhere and form a continuous coating. To create the molten particles, a heat source, a spray material and an atomisation/projection method are required. Upon contact, the particles flatten onto the surface, freeze and mechanically bond, firstly onto the roughened substrate and then onto each other as the coating thickness is increased.

What is Thermal Spraying?

Thermal spraying is a technology which improves or restores the surface of a solid material. The process can be used to apply coatings to a wide range of materials and components, to provide resistance to: Wear, erosion, cavitation, corrosion, abrasion or heat. Thermal spraying is also used to provide electrical conductivity or insulation, lubricity, high or low friction, sacrificial wear, chemical resistance and many other desirable surface properties.

Thermal spraying is widely adopted across many industries as a preferred method. It has huge scope to extend the life of new components or through the use of tried and tested techniques, to repair and re-engineer worn or damaged components.

The Basics

All methods of thermal spraying involve the projection of small softened particles onto a cleaned and prepared surface where they adhere to form a continuous coating. Combined thermal and kinetic energy causes the particles to flatten or ’splat’ onto the surface, and onto each other, to produce a cohesive coating of successive layers.

  • Metallurgical cold process.
  • Virtually no heat input to the substrate (<80 ̊C typically), no distortion.
  • Primarily a mechanical bonding process.
  • Can spray many materials: Steels, stainless steels, nickel alloys, copper, bronzes, molybdenum, ceramics, tungsten carbides etc.
  • Can be applied at various thicknesses, typically 100-750 microns but can be more. Line of sight process.

 

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