Importance of coating adhesion in a corrosive environment was studied experimentally. Tensile adhesion strength of HVOF sprayed 316L stainless steel and Hastelloy C coatings were tested in as-sprayed condition as well as after immersion in seawater. It was found that the adhesion strength of the stainless steel coatings degraded rapidly whereas that of the Hastelloy coatings remained almost intact. Specimens with an artificial defect were also immersed in seawater. The cross sectional observation after the test revealed that the corrosion at the coating-substrate interface proceeded much faster with the stainless steel coating as compared to the Ni-base alloy coating. A model experiment to simulate the galvanic corrosion of a coating-substrate couple was carried out and no significant difference in the galvanic current density was found between the two coatings when coupled with the steel substrate. The tightness of the coating-substrate interface was then tested with a fluorescent dye penetration test. The dye could penetrate the boundary between the stainless steel coating and the substrate whereas the boundary between the Ni-base alloy coating and the substrate was so tight that no penetration occurred. The size of the micro-gaps at the coating-substrate boundary was discussed from the viewpoint of classical Washburn-Ridiel theory. It was concluded that such micro-gaps between the coating and substrate must be eliminated for these barrier-type coatings to be used in corrosive environments. Heat treatment was highly effective for suppressing the preferential corrosion at the coating-substrate boundary.

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