Thermal Spray Low Friction Coatings
Thermal spray low friction coatings can offer excellent means for lower friction. Particularly in high wear applications, higher temperatures, too, they can play an excellent role in boundary lubrication.
Friction is a function of surface finish. Many of these thermal spray coatings, which include hard facing metals, ceramics and carbides, may require grinding, lapping, honing or polishing. Typical "raw" coating finishes can average 300 micro inch or more. Though based on their high shear strength, finishing values as low as 10 micro inch (Ra) are attainable.
Thermal spray low friction coatings are spray-applied, usually in wire or powder form, and include these processes: Oxy-Fuel (OF), Electric Arc (EA), Plasma Arc (PA) or High-Velocity Oxy-Fuel (HVOF).
Advantages of thermal spraying include their materials versatility and range of applications. Add the possibility of using a low-cost base material, the fact they can be applied to local areas, only, if needed, and thermal spray coatings become an obvious choice.
Bonds are mechanical. Though in some cases, they can be metallurgical. Adhesive strength will be determined by particle size and velocity, chemistry, substrate surface roughness and temperature.
Today, thermal spray low friction coatings include organic-based materials, like polyesters. Their advantage can be break-in, where low friction requirements are helpful, but the need to prevent wear under more demanding mechanical requirements becomes crucial.
Thermal spray low friction coatings can be created through an array of materials to prevent corrosion or wear, too. Materials selection is practically limitless. Not to mention the comparatively lower surface temperatures generated. This allows their application to a variety of substrate, including metals, plastics and composites, without risk in changing metallurgy or causing surface distortion.
Today, advancements can be made for impact and crush strength, and to resist heat cycling, too.
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