A beginner’s guide to thermal spraying

Are you new to thermal spraying and unsure about what it is and how it works? Let’s take a look at everything a beginner needs to know about this process and how it could benefit you.

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What is thermal spraying?

Thermal spraying is a technology that enhances or repairs the surface of solid materials. It can be used to provide a wide range of coatings that can help to increase wear resistance, prevent corrosion, and – of course – protect the material from heat.

Thermal spraying can also be used to apply coatings to change the properties of a material, such as by providing insulation or electrical conductivity and improving sacrificial wear or chemical resistance. Thermal spraying is extremely versatile and can be found in many products across a wide range of industries.

How does thermal spraying work?

All types of thermal spraying involve the application of small, softened particles onto a prepared surface. Once applied to the prepared surface, they stick to produce a continuous coating. Mutual thermal and kinetic energy triggers the particles to flatten onto the chosen surface and each other, producing an interconnected coating of sequential layers.

Thermal spray or thermal plasma spray can be used on many different materials, including ceramics, plastics, alloys and composites, with the treatment being applied in varying depths and being subject to a high level of control. Little heat is transferred to the material during the spraying process, so there is minimal to no risk of bending, distortion or other damage occurring.

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Which materials benefit from thermal spraying?

A wide range of materials benefit from the process of thermal spraying, either as part of the existing manufacturing procedure or as part of a reengineering technique. Some materials are selected for small applications, while others are sprayed by the tonne.

Surface treatments, which are available from experts such as https://www.poeton.co.uk/standard-treatments/plasma-coatings/, have an extensive range of applications across different sectors. This type of coating function can often be located on moving and rotating components, including objects such as printing presses, pumps, valves and electric motors.

Of course, this means that thermal spraying is useful in creating products and machinery across a wide range of industries. These include coatings in chemical plants, power generation equipment such as turbines, and even the aerospace sector; in fact, thermal spraying can be used whenever a good-quality protected surface is required to protect the machinery and keep it running reliably and smoothly.

To ensure thermal spray technology reaches its full potential, ongoing experiments and studies in surface and coating technology and materials science and engineering help industries to determine the possible outcomes of the use of thermal spraying and ensure it is applied appropriately.

More detailed uses of thermal spraying include the application of coatings to rock drilling bits, oil and chemical industry tools, and in combustion chambers. Thermal spraying is also perfect for refurbishing parts to extend their practical life.

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