Coating of surfaces to guard against corrosion and resist wear and more is common across a whole range of industries. There are a number of methods of applying these coatings, not all of which are appropriate to every situation.
One of the most effective ways of applying a high-quality coating is the use of a plasma spray. This involves the use of a high-temperature and high particle velocity to deliver the surface coating. The powdered coating material is melted and sprayed out with the plasma. Plasma is a gas that’s raised to a very high temperature – argon, nitrogen, helium and hydrogen are all commonly used in plasma spraying. It becomes electrically conductive due to ionization, so the material being sprayed adheres to the surface effectively.
Although the temperature of the plasma is high, the technique means that the surface temperature of the substrate can be kept relatively low. Using this technique, almost any metallic or ceramic material can be sprayed on to a wide range of substrates, resulting in minimal distortion and exceptional adhesion.
Benefits of Plasma Coating
The use of plasma spray coating delivers many benefits. It can be applied to a wide range of materials and to both small and large components. It’s therefore found in many manufacturing industries, from the automotive sector to heavy-duty plant and machinery.
Coating components in this way ensures resistance to corrosion and wear. But it can also protect against heat and oxidation as well as improve temperature resistance. The thickness of the coating can be controlled very precisely using this process.
Plasma coating can be used to change electrical conductivity, making components more conductive or more resistant to electrical current. This is important where components need, for example, a reliable earth connection.
Plasma Coating Applications
Thanks to the technique’s versatility and effectiveness, plasma-coated components can be found in many different places and in some of the harshest environments. For example, gas turbine engine components and even the turbine blades themselves are often plasma-coated.
It’s common in mineral extraction equipment too, with machinery used in mining and in drilling operations for oil and gas all benefiting. It’s used on pump components too, ensuring that impellers and other parts have a long life even when they are exposed to corrosive and caustic substances.