This paper presents a novel approach to metallize plastic surfaces. The approach has the ability to control the electrical resistance of a metallized surface by selecting the appropriate high-melting temperature metal or alloy to be thermally sprayed. Early stages of this study concluded that twin-wire arc thermal spray of high melting temperature metals do not form continuous adhering coatings on plastic surfaces. In addition, kinetic spray deposition of metals such as copper and tin on plastic surfaces also did not provide continuous uniform metallic coatings except on a few selected plastics such as Ryton and Ultem. Rather, the kinetic sprayed particles become embedded and isolated within the plastic substrate surface when using appropriate spray conditions. By combining the kinetic and thermal spray processes we developed a novel approach to metallize plastics. The kinetic spray process is used to prepare the plastic surface with anchoring sites to later accept thermally sprayed high-melting temperature metals or alloys that provide the metallization.

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