The porosity of thermal sprayed coatings is usually a problem when coatings are used in wet corrosion application. The porosity allows media to penetrate to the surface of the base material. Corrosion spreads rapidly and the coating loses contact with the substrate and delaminates. This problem can be initiated by impregnating different polymers into the pores. An alternative approach has been tested in the present work to prevent corrosion of cemented carbide coated carbon steel in wet corrosion environments.
Carbon steel substrates were coated with a thin film of electroless nickel (electroless nickel plating) and then HVOF (High-Velocity Oxygen Fuel) sprayed with cemented carbide. Reference specimens without electroless nickel were sprayed at the same time. The microhardness of the specimens was measured and the coating structure examined using optical microscopy and X-ray diffractometry (XRD). The bond between the layers and the base material was examined by means of a bend test. A salt chamber test was also performed for the specimens.
The structure of the electroless nickel layer was crystalline as a result of the HVOF spraying. There were no cracks in the nickel layer, if the layer was about 20 µm thick. According to the results of the bend test, the adhesion between coatings and substrate was good, and there was no difference between the duplex-coated specimen and the reference specimen. A sample with a thin nickel layer under an HVOF sprayed cemented carbide did not exhibit corrosion after 8 h in the salt chamber test.