Cavitation erosion is one of the major problems of hydraulic machinery and may cause the equipment to reduce power and then to stop working. Now with the study of nanomaterials, some special properties of nanostructured coatings are recognized and HVOF nanostructured WC-12Co coating may possess far more excellent potential to protect equipment from cavitation erosion than the conventional HVOF coatings. In the present paper nanostructured and conventional coatings were deposited by HVOF. Resistance of the coatings to cavitation erosion was studied by ultrasonic vibration cavitation equipment. Cavitation pits and craters were observed by SEM and cavitation mechanisms were explored. The results showed that nanostructured coating demonstrated more excellent performance in cavitation erosion and the erosion rate is approximately one third that of conventional one. The nanostructured existence and the increase in microhardness and toughness of the coating are important factors, which influence the resistance of coatings to cavitation erosion.

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