Thermal spray coating of fiber reinforced polymer (FRP) components has a high development potential to improve their wear, erosion and corrosion resistance. This paper deals with the optimization of plasma spraying conditions of alumina onto a FRP substrate, including the study of surface preparation. The so-called "Atmosphere and Temperature Controlled Process (ATC, patented by CEA)" was used to maintain the substrate temperature at a rather low level, i.e. near room temperature. Various surface preparation processes such as grit blasting, cleaning using the plasma torch and pre-coating with an intermediate bond coat were tested. The latter was shown to improve adhesion between the coating and the substrate significantly, when using 2 types of bond coats. One consisted of an additionnal fiber layer directly stuck to the substrate, the other of an intermediate thermally-sprayed PEEK layer. Results of adhesion tests were discussed in the light of interface characterization. Using a PEEK bond coat led to an adhesion strength between alumina and the substrate 3 times better than that for the material without any bond coat.

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