Wear-resistant cobalt–based alloy (Stellite 12) coatings deposited by plasma transferred arc (PTA), commonly used to protect critical mechanical components in harsh environments, were modified by addition of hard ceramic particles (TiC) and solid lubricant compounds (MoS2 and CaF2) to improve the overall tribological performance. In this preliminary study, microstructural, microhardness and tribological analyses were carried out to assess: a) the feasibility of PTA deposition of thermally sensitive phases characterised by very low density; b) the effect of the addition of a mixture of soft and hard phases on the coating hardness; c) the effect of the modified composition in terms of wear resistance; d) the effect of the addition in terms of lubrication (friction coefficient and produced heat). Results showed that: a) an appropriate pre-consolidation of feedstock materials can be effective in preserving the heat-sensitive phases within the microstructure of PTA deposits; b) the addition of a total amount of 5% wt. of solid lubricants and reinforcing carbides produced a limited decrease in the coating hardness (about 13%) and an evident improvement in terms of friction coefficient but, on the other hand, a remarkable reduction (about 30%) in wear resistance. Further investigation will be addressed to optimize the composition of modified feedstock to counteract the softening effect of lubricant phases without depressing the self-lubrication behaviour.

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