Thermal spraying is a collective term for processes in which a metal, a metal alloy or metal compound in wire or powder form is made plastic by means of a heat source and applied to the workpiece with a lot of kinetic energy.
In this way a coating can be obtained with greatly improving properties for the function of the machine part. The selection of the coating to be applied can be determined more or less independently of the underlying material, so that the most optimal properties can be added to the part.
The following spraying processes are distinguished:
- Autogenous spraying, (autogenous wire/autogenous powder) where the thermal energy comes from a combustion process (gas/oxygen)
- Electric spraying, if the energy comes from an electric arc
- Plasma spraying, when the energy comes from ionization of high purity gas mixtures
- HVOF spraying, where the thermal energy comes from a combustion process (gas/oxygen) which takes place under a very high pressure
Thermal spraying is a so-called cold process and can be applied to almost any surface. Regardless of the heat source, the base material does not become warmer than 100°C, so that no structure and/or shape change occurs. The applied coating has a lamellar structure which is mechanically bonded to the substrate.
An exception to this is the group of melt-in alloys that receive an additional post-treatment, whereby the coating becomes homogeneous in structure at a temperature of 1.060°C and is atomically bonded to the substrate.
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