The effect of microstructure on mechanical properties of HVOF sprayed WC-CoCr composite coatings
This study aims for deeper understanding of the composition and phase changes occurring during HVOF spraying of the powder to WC-CoCr coatings. Also, the effect of lamellar microstructure on the mechanical properties is studied. Compositional and microstructural features are studied by means of X-ray diffraction, XRF, FE-SEM and TEM (EDX, EELS). Mechanical properties are mainly studied by different instrumented indentation and nanoindentation techniques. The use of two new fracture parameters, complementing the fracture toughness value of the coating, are proposed and examined. Higher load range indentations are used to measure cross-sectional and surface hardness, elastic modulus and fracture toughness of the coatings. Mechanical properties of individual phases are studied by nanoindentation. To our knowledge this is the first time that the mechanical properties of this amorphous/nanocrystalline matrix are studied. ICP (In-situ Coating Property) sensor, developed for quality control and residual stress evaluation, is also used to measure the elastic modulus and coefficient of thermal expansion (CTE) of the coatings. Abrasion wear resistance of the coatings are studied according to standard ASTM G 65D.
Because of the brittle nature of HVOF coatings, the main focus of this study is in the effects of coating microstructure on fracture toughness, and on crack initiation and propagation resistance. It is shown that even when two similar coatings have equal indentation fracture toughness values, the critical crack initiation loads may be very different. This new parameter is expected to be extremely useful in the evaluation of the coating performance under loading conditions.