Structure property relationship of suspension thermally sprayed WC-Co nanocomposite coatings
Tribomechanical properties of nanostructured coatings deposited by suspension high velocity oxy-fuel (S-HVOF) and conventional HVOF (Jet Kote) spraying were evaluated. Nanostructured S-HVOF coatings were obtained via ball milling of the agglomerated and sintered WC-12Co feedstock powder, which were deposited via an aqueous-based suspension using modified HVOF (TopGun) process. Microstructural evaluations of these hardmetal coatings included transmission electron microscopy, x-ray diffraction, and scanning electron microscopy equipped with energy dispersive x-ray spectroscopy. The nanohardness and modulus of the coated specimens were investigated using a diamond Berkovich nanoindenter. Sliding wear tests were conducted using a ball-on-flat test rig. Results indicated that low porosity coatings with nanostructured features were obtained. High carbon loss was observed, but coatings showed a high hardness up to 1000 HV2.9N. S-HVOF coatings also showed improved sliding wear and friction behavior, which were attributed to nanosized particles reducing ball wear in three-body abrasion and support of metal matrix due to uniform distribution of nanoparticles in the coating microstructure.