Thermally sprayed ceramic coatings such as plasma-sprayed alumina exhibit a composite microstructure due to the presence of defects such as pores, interlamellar and intra-lamellar cracks. These second phase typed features influence the mechanical behaviour of the coating dramatically. In this study, an excimer laser surface treatment of plasma-sprayed alumina surface was developed for the optimization of component properties of a wireline tool used in the oil industry. In contrast to liquid phase treatment realized with CO2 or YAG laser, an excimer laser processing presents short wavelength which means that for ceramic materials, the energy is absorbed in a region of the surface. This condition leads to surface treatment free of cracks. Effect of laser operating parameters, i.e. wavelength, pulse number and power density, on microstructure and the sealing quality of the coating are discussed. First, surfaces and cross sections of the microstructures were studied using image analysis of scanning electron microscope (SEM). Surface roughness and coating ablation were characterized according to laser treatment. Then, three dimensional (3D) microstructures were obtained using X-ray microtomography to evaluate the 3D porosity after laser treatment. Finally, nanoindentation and Electrochemical Impedance Spectroscopy (EIS) were carried out to characterize respectively the mechanical and electrical properties of the modified coating microstructure. The excimer laser surface processing was shown to be an innovative process to control the insulating characteristics of plasma-sprayed alumina.

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