Under marine and coastal conditions, the degradation by corrosion of low-alloyed steels is generally observed. In order to overcome such important corrosion problems, the use of thermal spray coatings made of noble materials may be an attractive solution. 316 stainless steel thermal spray coating, an iron alloy coating, is often considered for corrosion protection because of its low material cost. Also, the high velocity oxy-fuel (HVOF) is often the selected coating process because it is known to provide coatings with a very low porosity level preventing the corrosive media to reach the substrate. The present paper compares the corrosion behavior of wrought 316 stainless steel with sprayed coatings made of the same alloy on 1020 mild steel. The corrosion behavior of materials is studied under salt fog conditions and with electrochemical techniques in brine simulating the marine environment. The coatings have been sprayed by HVOF under usual conditions. The results of this study demonstrate that the material behavior with regard to corrosion is process dependent . The HVOF sprayed stainless steel coating is much more sensitive to corrosion than wrought stainless steel. Corrosion product appearing on the samples is not only linked to the corrosion of the substrate by diffusion of the corrosive solution through pores but is also generated by intrinsic corrosion of coating itself. An enhanced sensitivity of the coating with regard to corrosion is attributed to the surface of particles or droplets, which are most likely degraded during the spraying process. However, thermal spray coatings having performances as good as wrought stainless steel can be obtained. In the present work, it is demonstrated that coatings obtained using vacuum plasma spray (VPS) have similar corrosion properties than wrought stainless steel in simulated marine environment. The industries considering corrosion protection of their components in marine environments by the use of stainless steel coatings must be aware of the reliability of their coatings. During the usual HVOF spray process, particles or droplets of stainless steel 316 are subject to important modification leading to a loss of performance against corrosion. Oxidation of alloying elements necessary to obtain a good stainless steel most likely occurs. However, the use of vacuum sprayed stainless steel coatings results to efficient protection against corrosion in marine environment.

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