Metal spray process

Inovati (Santa Barbara, CA) has successfully developed a low-temperature metal deposition technique, Kinetic Metallization (KM). Winner of a 2002 R&D 100 award, KM is capable of depositing fully dense, adherent coatings of a variety of metals on standard metal surfaces without costly surface preparation. Coatings of pure copper, stainless steel, nickel, chromium, aluminum, cobalt, titanium, niobium, and other metals, as well as alloys based on these metals are possible on such surfaces as steel, aluminium, titanium, copper, brass, etc. Additionally, braze powders (e.g., silver, copper, aluminium or nickel-based) can be sprayed out onto parts to be joined and coatings have also been demonstrated on ceramic substrates. The feedstock material for KM is powder. The cost of KM is comparable to competitive processes. Applications include the preparing of corrosion and/or wear-resistant surfaces for parts, machinery and equipment. Decorative coatings are also deliverable. Of particular interest has been the successful deposition of the highly wear-resistant material WC–17 % Co.
Since the powders are deposited at well below their respective melting points, the coatings exhibit very fine grain size and one can avoid heat distortion of the workpiece being coated and interdiffusion of multi-layer coatings. Spray forming of such metals as pure aluminum and Al-SiC composite has also been successfully carried out with fine microstructure in the final material.
One successful application has been the spraying of aluminum grounding strips on steel telecommunications equipment racks made by Hendry Telephone Products. Inovati has received federal R&D contracts from the Ballistic Missile Defense Organization, US Army and US Navy. In addition, the Australian Navy recently tested a KM-sprayed aluminium coating on a Mg alloy which showed excellent salt-fog corrosion resistance up to 168 hours compared to 12 hours for a standard chromate coating. Other applications can include replacement of organic plating (e.g. hexa-valent chrome).

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