Microscale wear mechanisms in thermally sprayed hard coatings were examined. A test procedure for examining microwear with various abrasives was developed. Different abrasivity of kaolin, precipitated calcium carbonate and titania was found to affect wear mechanisms. Fine-particle abrasion caused the surface to loose its gloss and smoothness. Coatings subjected to fine-particle abrasion were examined with optical gloss measurements and scanning electron microscopy. It was shown that in tungsten carbide based hard coatings the microscale wear was governed by preferential wear of the soft binder phase. However, also coating defects like pores or poorly adhered splats tended to provide nucleation points for microscale wear. It was found that coatings that performed well in dry-sand rubber wheel abrasion or wet abrasion tests did not necessarily have good microwear resistance. The results showed that different abrasives had effect on the wear phenomena and wear rate of hard coatings. Coatings also behaved differently and novel modifications in the composition affected the wear behaviour. In conclusion, the results provided deep understanding of the role of various abrasives in the wear phenomena of thermally sprayed hard coatings.

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