Surface integrity of high performance components has a profound influence on the final performance. Therefore, surface integrity is a key point for realizing high performance manufacturing by which manufacture processes and parameters can be pre-selected according to a required functional performance of components, i.e., solving inverse problem of manufacturing, as long as correlations could be established respectively for between processes and surface integrity, and between surface integrity and performance. However, in practice it is still difficult in correlating processes to performance through surface integrity, due to the material and geometry constraints hindering achievability of a desired surface integrity during conventional manufacturing as well as the complex influence of multiple surface integrity parameters on a final performance. In this study, thermally sprayed WC-10Ni coatings onto stainless steel using high velocity oxy-fuel (HVOF) spraying process are investigated to identify the surface integrity predominantly determining the water-lubricated wear performance of coated steel, and then to correlate it to process parameters. The controllable surface integrity facilitates identifying responsible surface integrity parameters for a required high performance, and subsequently deriving necessary process parameters for achieving the desired responsible surface integrity. Specifically, HVOF process parameters are adjusted by changing the oxygen-to-fuel (O/F) ratio to control thermal and mechanical processing loads, i.e. temperature of heated in-flight spraying powders and impact velocity of the molten splats onto stainless steel to form the coatings. Surface features including porosity and phase structure, and surface characteristics including hardness, elastic modulus, and fracture toughness were studied with respect to the wear performance. The porosity and WC phase composition of coatings are identified responsible for the wear performance, as two essential surface integrity parameters that in turn greatly affect the surface characteristics including coating hardness, elastic modulus and fracture toughness. Consequently, the process parameter O/F is feasibly correlated to wear resistance through the responsible surface integrity parameters, as elucidating the coating formation mechanism of influence of particle velocity and temperature on the coating porosity and WC decomposition.

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