Thermal Spray Facts
Thermal spray for precision protection:
- Puts high-performance materials where they’re needed
Rather than engineer an entire component for wear resistance or corrosion protection, thermal spray coatings allow engineers to identify specific zones where surface attack is occurring and apply targeted protection where it is needed.
- Eliminates the need for exotic and expensive forgings, billets, and bars
The ability to selectively apply high-performance materials saves designers and fabricators from machining entire components from costly exotic or heat-treatable high-performance alloys. Instead, many components can be fabricated from lower-cost materials and then thermal spray coated to ensure performance and durability.
- Can be applied to nearly any metallic substrate, and many plastics
Since thermal spray coatings are not alloyed with the substrate, chemical or metallurgical interactions that make some material pairings un-weldable (such as steel and aluminum) have no effect on sprayed overlays; nearly any coating material can be applied to most metallic substrates, and to many plastics, as well.
- Negligible impact on the component; part temperature remains below 350°F
Since the thermal spray process imparts very little heat to the substrate, there is virtually no risk of the component distorting or warping, as can often be the case with welded overlays. As a result, thermal spray coatings can be applied to fully finished components with very fine tolerances, and are particularly well suited to repairing parts with localized damage, such as a spun bearing.
- Wide selection of ceramics, pure metals, alloys, and composites
The thermal spray process allows for the application of a broad array of materials, from metallics to ceramics. Materials can be applied alone or in combination, and materials can be layered to provide a combination of performance characteristics.
- Broad range of wear- and corrosion-resistant materials
The variety of materials available for application by thermal spray means that there is likely to be a thermal spray solution for most industrial wear or corrosion challenges. From fly ash erosion to chlorine pump seals, high-temperature galling to molten zinc handling, there is a thermal sprayed coating solution for nearly every challenge.
- Thermal barriers for extremely high heat applications
Thermal barrier coatings are a class of thermal sprayed ceramic coatings that are particularly effective at protecting metallic components from the very high temperatures of hydrocarbon combustion. These coatings are used extensively within aerospace and land-based gas turbines, and have also found their way into high-performance auto racing.
- Spray formable electrical insulators and conductors
Low-resistance conductors, such as copper, zinc, and tungsten, can be sprayed onto component surfaces, as can strong insulators like aluminum oxide. As a result, thermal spray provides a fast and effective means for applying customized conductive or resistive traces onto antennas, photovoltaic cells, equipment housings, and other similar items.
- EMI/RFI shielding
Thermal sprayed zinc, aluminum, tin, and molybdenum are regularly used to effectively block electromagnetic interference and radio frequency radiation from affecting sensitive electronic equipment. Their low-temperature application allows coatings to be applied directly to plastic and composite housings, so intrinsically safe equipment can also be made lightweight and portable.