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Overview of Thermal Spray Processes
Jul 16, 2018

Thermal spraying is a process in which a high-temperature heat source is used to melt and accelerate micron-sized metal, ceramic, or alloy particles to build protective coatings on industrial machine components. Molten and semi-molten particles impact and spread on the component surfaces until several layers of the coating are fabricated. These coatings provide protection against degradation caused by corrosion, erosion, or high temperatures. The versatility and cost-efficiency of thermal-sprayed coatings have increased their use in diverse industrial applications in aeronautics, automotives,biomedical, mining, forestry, and the oil and gas sector. 

Thermal spray coating deposition involves the use of a torch to heat a material (see Figure 1-1), in powder or wire form, to a molten or near-molten state, and the use of a gas to propel the material to the target substrate, creating a completely new surface. The coating material may be a single element, alloy or compound with unique physical properties that are, in most cases, achievable only through the thermal spray process. It is typical that the torch will be operated by a robot in order to ensure safety and repeatability during the coating fabrication process. Furthermore, there are many torches available, with a selection from the four major thermal spray processes available: flame spraying, high-velocity oxy-fuel spraying (HVOF), air plasma spraying, and cold-gas dynamic spraying.

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