The coating process of thermal spraying offers a range of benefits to the aerospace industry, over and above that of other surface covering processes. But what exactly is thermal spraying? What are the benefits of this process and what varieties of thermal spraying exist?
What is thermal spraying?
Thermal spraying is a method of coating a surface (often a metal) with a layer of metal, alloy or plastics. The layering material is heated to an incredibly hot temperature. After this it is sprayed with extreme pressure (high velocity) toward the surface to be covered. As it is sprayed it transforms into millions of tiny droplets, which then create an even coating on the surface.
Why does thermal spraying benefit the aerospace industry?
Thermal spraying is used in all sorts of industries, but it offers particular benefits to the aerospace industry. Why is this? Well, thermal spraying increases the life of a given aircraft part, giving it excellent levels of durability and notably, enhanced protection from rust, something that is vital for aircraft. This leads to not only better maintained, longer-lasting aircraft parts, but it increases the safety of the aircraft too. The aerospace industry is know for its exceptionally high standards in safety and maintenance, and this process plays its part.
An increased demand for air travel has meant an increased demand for quick maintenance of parts as well as efficient aircraft building. The global pandemic has certainly had an impact on the industry, but pre-industry growth and future predictions for more growth show that air travel is not going anywhere in the long term. Despite likely future adaptations (e.g. electric aircraft), the need for effective spray coating is unlikely to change.
The benefits of plasma spraying
Plasma spray coating, which is offered by companies such as https://www.poeton.co.uk/standard-treatments/plasma-coatings/, is especially beneficial to the aerospace industry. Plasma offers benefits such as heat protection and extreme rust protection. That means it is perfect for use on parts of the aircraft that need to withstand huge amounts of heat and pressure, like an engine.
The benefits of flame spraying
Flame spraying uses the heat from fuel emission combustion, along with oxygen, to melt the coating material. Of all options it is the cheapest, which obviously has its benefits. It is also the most environmentally friendly, which offers a great benefit for airlines looking to improve their green credentials. It is also useful when coating large, complicated structures.
The benefits of high-velocity oxygen fuel spraying
High-velocity oxygen fuel spraying uses a similar technique to flame spraying. This intensive process is also commonly used in the industry as it offers excellent protection from extreme elements.
All three of these thermal spray coating techniques offer huge benefits to the ever-growing aerospace industry. Low in cost, easy to apply and high in performance, thermal spray coating is an essential element in the building and maintaining of safe aircraft.