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Tribological Characterization of WC–Co Plasma Sprayed Coatings

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Atmospheric plasma spraying of WC coatings is typically characterized by increased decarburization, with a consequent reduction of their wear resistance. Indeed, high temperature and oxidizing atmosphere promote the appearance of brittle crystalline and amorphous phases. However, by using a high helium flow rate in a process gas mixture, plasma spraying may easily be optimized by increasing the velocity of sprayed particles and by reducing the degree of WC dissolution. To this purpose, a comparative study was performed at different spray conditions. Both WC–Co powder and coating phases were characterized by X-ray difraction. Their microstructure was investigated by scanning electron microscopy. Mechanical, dry sliding friction, and wear tests were also performed. The wear resistance was highly related to both microstructural and mechanical properties. The experimental data confirmed that high-quality cermet coatings could be manufactured by using optimized Ar–He mixtures. Their enhanced hardness, toughness, and wear resistance resulted in coatings comparable to those sprayed by high velocity oxygen-fuel.
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Document Type: Research Article

Affiliations: 1: ENEA, Department of Advanced Physics Technology and New Materials (FIM), Brindisi Research Center, 72100 Brindisi, Italy 2: ENEA, Department of Advanced Physics Technology and New Materials (FIM), Casaccia Research Center, 00123 Rome, Italy 3: Department of Material and Chemical Engineering, University of Rome “La Sapienza,” 00184 Rome, Italy

Publication date: May 1, 2009

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