Kinetic Metallization: Coatings Once Thought Impossible
Cold spray is an additive manufacturing process for depositing metals, ceramics, or plastics onto surfaces without melting either the feedstock or the substrate. The feedstock powders are very fine (1-50 microns) and can consist of metals, ceramics, polymers, or any combination of the three. Since cold spray relies on kinetic energy to deposit the feedstock instead of thermal energy, the particles must be accelerated to supersonic speeds before they can be deposited. The high velocity powder particles plastically deform upon impact, which creates a strong (metallurgical) bond with the substrate and other powder particles. Since this process takes place below the melting point of both the feedstock and the substrate, the metallurgical properties of both are preserved. This makes cold spray a great alternative to conventional processes that require high temperatures (HVOF and plasma spraying) or that produce hazardous waste streams (plating).
Kinetic Metallization is the only cold spray process which uses low pressure helium or nitrogen (70-130psi) and a sonic nozzle to accelerate particles. This combination of low pressure and sonic gas speed significantly decreases gas consumption compared to conventional cold spray processes while still achieving high particle velocities (up to 1000m/s). This means that Kinetic Metallization is the cheaper, safer choice over other cold spray technologies. Additionally, Inovati’s patented feeder design allows for the consistent, reliable feeding of a wide variety of powders. This means that Kinetic Metallization can successfully deposit most materials, including high temperature materials like tungsten carbide-cobalt and niobium with ease.