Coatings have been produced by HVOF spraying of four different WC-Co powders, using two fuel gases and two oxygen contents in the flame, and characterised in terms of microstructure and resistance to abrasive wear. It is concluded that there is a close correlation between high levels of chemical reaction, occurring during spraying (and possibly during powder production), and poor wear resistance. Good wear resistance is favoured by using low porosity powders, which interact with the atmosphere less readily during spraying, and also by using a flame with a relatively low oxygen content. This probably minimises the degree of reaction by ensuring that conditions are reducing. Use of propylene rather than hydrogen gives coatings with slightly better wear resistance, despite the fact that the flame temperatures are higher. It is concluded that, for this relatively small rise in temperature, the positive effect on inter-splat cohesion seems to outweigh the negative effect of increased decarburisation.

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