The high velocity oxy-fuel (HVOF) combustion spraying of ball-milled Nylon-11/ceramic composite powders is an effective, economical and environmentally sound method for producing semi-crystalline nano- and micron-scale reinforced polymer composite coatings. Polymer matrix composite coatings reinforced with multiple scales of ceramic particulate materials are expected to exhibit improved load transfer between the reinforcing phase and the matrix due to interactions between large and small ceramic particles. An important step in developing multi-scale polymer matrix composite coatings and associated load transfer theory is determining the effect of reinforcement size on the distribution of the reinforcement and the properties of the composite coating. Composite feedstock powders were produced by dry ball milling Nylon-11 with fumed silica particles of 7, 20 and 40 nm, with fumed alumina particles of 50 and 150 nm, and with white calcined alumina 350 nm, 1, 2, 5, 10, 20, 25 and 50 µm at 10 % by volume overall ceramic phase loadings. The effectiveness of the ball-milling process as a function of reinforcement size was evaluated by SEM, EDS microanalysis and by characterizing the behavior of the powders during HVOF spraying. The microstructures of the as-sprayed coatings were characterized by optical microscopy, SEM, EDS and XRD. The reinforcement particles were found to be concentrated at the splat boundaries within the coatings, forming a series of interconnected lamellar sheets with good 3-dimensional distribution. The scratch resistance of the coatings improved consistently and logarithmically as a function of decreasing reinforcement size and compared to those of HVOF sprayed pure Nylon-11.

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