The high velocity oxy-fuel (HVOF) combustion spray process has been demonstrated to be a suitable technique for the deposition of nano-reinforced polymer matrix composite coatings by controlling both the particle dwell time and the substrate temperature. HVOF-sprayed polymer matrix composites incorporating reinforcements with size scales ranging from 7 nm to 100 µm are being studied to bridge between the nano and conventional scale regimes. Microstructural characterization has been used to characterize the dispersion and distribution of the ceramic reinforcements within the polymer matrix. The effect of particle size distribution on reinforcement dispersion and distribution has been studied, and the influence of substrate temperature on coating adhesion has also been investigated. Changes in crystallinity, as determined by Differential Scanning Calorimetry (DSC), are being correlated to coating microstructure, reinforcement loading and process parameter variations. Results of optical and scanning electron microscopy, scratch testing and DSC characterization of the feedstock materials and sprayed coatings are presented. Coatings of nominal 60 µm Nylon 11 with 10 vol. % of nano and micron size hydrophilic silica reinforcements exhibited a ~22 % improvements in scratch resistance compared to pure Nylon 11 coatings. An ~15 % improvement in scratch resistance was obtained for coatings containing 10 vol. % nano scale hydrophilic silica reinforcement.

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