To improve the mechanical properties of aluminum coatings, ceramic reinforcement may be added resulting in an aluminum matrix composite. Two processing routes were investigated to manufacture aluminum matrix composite powders for thermal spraying: ball milling and mixing. Three sizes of SiC reinforcement particles were used: 2, 15, and 25 µm. For the ball-milled powders, morphology and microstructure were investigated as a function of SiC grain size and milling time. It is shown that the hardness of the composite and the efficiency of the spray process depend on the size of the hard particles as well as the preparation method. Friction tests were also carried out and the results are shown to correlate with coating microstructure.

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