The excellent wear-resistant performance of cast iron coatings considerably depends on the formation of graphite structure with an inherent self-lubricating property. In the present study, two types of cast iron powders produced by gas- (GA) and water-atomization (WA) were deposited on an aluminium alloy substrate by atmospheric DC plasma spraying. WA powders are generally characterized by high oxygen content, irregular appearance and inexpensiveness compared with those of GA powders. Although alloying elements of silicon and aluminium work as a strong graphitizer and anti-oxidizer, graphite structures are not recognized in coatings sprayed with as-atomized high silicon and aluminium powders. Therefore, either pre-annealing of powders or post-annealing of coatings is required to achieve cast iron coatings containing graphite structure. A marked decrease in graphite occurs to the coatings with pre-annealed GA powder, since there exists precipitated graphite mainly on a GA powder surface. A short period of post-annealing is also valuable for graphitization. The weak oxide layers are observed in coating cross-sections with GA and WA powder, however, their oxidized levels are much lower than those with bearing steel powder containing low silicon and aluminium. Hence, graphitized cast iron coatings sprayed with inexpensive WA powder exhibit a splendid anti-wear performance.

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