The Oxy-Fuel Ionization system (OFI) is a new thermal spray process which consists basically on a high velocity combustion process enhanced by a low energy plasma source. The system is characterized by its stability over a relatively large range of fuel/oxidant conditions, the possibility to use poor fuels like natural one (with low gas consumption) and the high deposition rates that can be achieved in comparison to conventional HVOF guns. The OFI gun has been designed following a modular concept, which in combination with the high flexibility of the system is expected to allow the deposition of coating materials with the most different physical and chemical natures. This work deals with the experimental analysis of the process using methane as fuel gas and its correlation with the deposition of WC-base materials. Two in-flight particle diagnostic systems were used: the Spray Watch diagnostic system (from OSEIR) and the Spray and Deposit Control (SDC) system (developed by the SPCTS laboratory of the University of Limoges). Results are presented for the most representative properties of the optimized coatings (micro hardness distributions on the coating cross section and crystallographic analysis).

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