HVOF sprayed tungsten carbide (WC) thermal spray coatings are finding increasing acceptance for replacement of electroplated chromium on aircraft landing gear parts. In order to replace chrome plating by an HVOF WC coating, the latter should exhibit wear and fatigue characteristics at least as good as those of chrome plating. Sliding wear performance and fatigue life of tungsten carbide coated parts depend on morphology and phase composition of the coating which in turn depend on spray parameters such as powder characteristics, powder feed rate, gas flow rates, and spray distance. A Design of Experiments (DOE) approach for a Jet Kote™ HVOF spray system was used to identify optimal spray parameters for WC-Co and WC-Co-Cr coatings based on best sliding wear and best fatigue characteristics. Best sliding wear was defined as minimum block loss in the standard ASTM-G77 wear test in which a rotating WC coated ring is tested against a stationary Al-Ni-Bz block. Best fatigue characteristics were defined as compressive residual stresses in the coating in the range 250 to 450 MPa. Spray parameters found to strongly affect wear were powder feed rate, oxygen flow rate, powder size, and a powder type-powder size interaction. Spray parameters strongly affecting residual stresses include powder type, hydrogen flow rate, and powder feed rate. Some spray parameters were found to be orthogonal with respect to wear behavior and residual stress. This means some parameters can be adjusted to maximize one performance criterion (wear or residual stress) without adversely affecting the other.

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