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A beginner’s guide to thermal spraying

Thermal spraying is a process that can be used to enhance or improve the surface of a solid material. It can be used to apply a wide range of surface coatings to a variety of materials. These coatings can be used to prevent corrosion, improve wear resistance, and protect from heat, among other things.

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Thermal spraying can also be used to apply engineering coatings in order to change the properties of a material. For example, coatings can offer electrical conductivity or insulation, low friction, sacrificial wear or chemical resistance and many other useful properties.

The versatility of the process means it can be found in products across a wide variety of different industries and uses.

The spray process

The thermal spraying of surface treatments involves applying small particles that are softened or melted by heat to a clean and prepared surface. The softened particles flatten onto the surface as they hit it, creating a smooth, consistent coverage and a strong bond to the underlying material.

Many different materials can be applied using thermal spraying, including alloys, ceramics, plastics and composites, and the treatment can be applied at different thicknesses with a high degree of control available. Relatively little heat is transferred to the substrate material during the process, so there’s no risk of distortion or damage occurring to complex components.

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Process uses and materials

Thermal spraying surface treatments, from specialists such as, have a wide variety of applications across many different sectors. This kind of coating application can often be found on rotating and moving parts, including things like pumps, printing presses, valves and electric motors.

This means that thermal spraying has uses in creating machinery and products for a huge range of industries. It can be used to apply food safe coatings, for example You’ll also find thermally sprayed coatings in chemical plants, mining machinery, power generation equipment including turbines, and the aerospace sector. Anywhere, in fact, where a good quality, protective surface is needed to protect machinery and keep it working smoothly and reliably.

More specialist uses include the application of coatings to rock drilling bits, tools for the oil, gas and chemical industries, and in combustion chambers. Thermal spray coatings are also useful in refurbishing or re-engineering components in order to extend their useful life.

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