HVOF powder thermal spray
High Velocity Oxygen Fuel Thermal Spray Process
Schematic Diagram of the HVOF Process
In the early 1980s Browning and Witfield, using rocket engine technologies, introduced a unique method of spraying metal powders. The HVOF (High Velocity Oxygen Fuel) Thermal Spray Process is basically the same as the combustion powder spray process (LVOF) except that this process has been developed to produce extremely high spray velocity. There are a number of HVOF guns which use different methods to achieve high velocity spraying. One method is basically a high pressure water cooled HVOF combustion chamber and long nozzle. Fuel (kerosene, acetylene, propylene and hydrogen) and oxygen are fed into the chamber, combustion produces a hot high pressure flame which is forced down a nozzle increasing its velocity. Powder may be fed axially into the HVOF combustion chamber under high pressure or fed through the side of laval type nozzle where the pressure is lower. Another method uses a simpler system of a high pressure combustion nozzle and air cap. Fuel gas (propane, propylene or hydrogen) and oxygen are supplied at high pressure, combustion occurs outside the nozzle but within an air cap supplied with compressed air. The compressed air pinches and accelerates the flame and acts as a coolant for the HVOF gun. Powder is fed at high pressure axially from the centre of the nozzle.
The coatings produced by HVOF are similar to those produced by the detonation process. HVOF coatings are very dense, strong and show low residual tensile stress or in some cases compressive stress, which enable very much thicker coatings to be applied than previously possible with the other processes. The very high kinetic energy of particles striking the substrate surface do not require the particles to be fully molten to form high quality HVOF coatings. This is certainly an advantage for the carbide cermet type coatings and is where this process really excels. HVOF coatings are used in applications requiring the highest density and strength not found in most other thermal spray processes. New applications, previously not suitable for thermal spray coatings are becoming viable.
HVOF layer microstructure
Hardness of carbide layer applied with HVOF