Thermal spraying was merely one of the many available coating processes in market, till a couple of decades ago. However, thermal spray coating technology has risen up for the good within the past 20-25 years, and is today the most widely used coating technology in several industrial applications.
Why Thermal Spray Coating Is Popular?
Thermal spray coating technique can be engineered using the most prevalent materials, such as most of the metals, ceramics, carbides, polymers, intermetallic, and plastics. The eventual aim is to create an efficient coating with the optimum properties that provides highly durable protection to surface components, even under adverse operating scenarios. The process is suitable for coating metals and composite metal materials.
Thermal sprayed coatings are extremely effective at increasing the component life and value, decreasing machinery down-time, and improving performance in a wide variety of applications. Surface enhancement and protection from corrosion remain the key factors fuelling the demand for this technique.
Market for Thermal Spray Coating is Growing
While Increasing demand for component coating is rapidly driving thermal spray coating market, versatility of the process and effective, durable coating are what make it ideal for a range of industrial verticals, Including automotive, aerospace, defense, biomedical and healthcare, energy and power generation, electronics and semiconductors, and food and agriculture. Burgeoning application of thermal spray coating in aerospace industry is however propelling market to staggering growth globally.
Thermal Spray Coating Applications in Aerospace
Governments around the world are increasingly investing in the aerospace sector, which is foreseen to account for major revenues to market in the near future. Aerospace manufacturers are nowadays seeking high-performance coatings, which would efficiently resist corrosion, fretting, extreme temperatures, and operational wear.
- To provide a thermal barrier to rocket combustion chamber, zirconium oxide coating is employed.
- For imparting fretting resistance to compressor air seals, the coating material used involves aluminum bronze.
- In case of particle erosion, calcium zirconate is the most widely used coating material.
- To enable high pressure nozzles to resist oxidation, manufacturers consider cobalt-molybdenum.
- Shielding of missile systems require pure aluminum coating.
These are only a few of a hundreds of major applications of thermal spray coating technology in the aerospace industry.
Thermal Spray Coating to Knock out Conventional Hard Chrome Coating
Conventional hard chrome coating process involves the presence of hexavalent chromium to a large extent, which has been constantly facing criticism owing to environmental issues it leads to. A large number of businesses have already chosen thermal coating as a substitute for hard chrome, whereas others are looking forward to the former as a more cost-effective process.
Thermal coating is processed in various ways, including plasma spray, conventional flame spray, cold spray, and high-velocity oxy-fuel spray (HVOF). Conventional flame spray will continue to dominate market with the highest market share. While cold spray is predicted to gain the maximum traction in market, HVOF will also register significant growth in the near future. According to regional analysis, North America will remain the dominant market for thermal spray coatings, followed by Europe. Asia Pacific will however record the fastest growth rate in the near future.
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