(95s) CFD and DEM Simulation of the Cold Spray Process for Surface Coating with Fine Particles

Breuninger, P., University of Kaiserslautern
Antonyuk, S., Technische Universität Kaiserslautern
Krull, F., University of Kaiserslautern
The coating and functionalization of technical surfaces has been become increasingly important in the last two decades for various applications, since of its manifold possibilities for process optimization, as friction reduction, corrosion resistance or improved wetting behavior. Cold spray is a thermal spraying method for surface coating. It was developed in the late 1980s in Novosibirsk [1] and has gone through continuous optimization on certain applications since then. For example showed our previous study a reduction of the friction properties on steel pins, microstructured with fine Titania particles by an adapted spraying method [2]. In the cold spray process particles are dispersed in a gas stream, which is heated up to several hundred degrees and accelerated to supersonic velocities in a Laval nozzle. The particles impact on a substrate with about 800 m/s and form a strong bonding due to the high kinetic energy which is transferred to deformation and heat in the contact zone. In contrast to other thermal spraying methods, the temperatures occurring during the process are far below the melting temperatures of the used materials, which makes the process suitable also for thermal sensitive powders. The quality of the produced coating layers depends highly on the properties of the powder and substrate as well as on the nozzle design and the process parameters as initial temperature and particle velocities. Due to the high gradients, the high occurring velocities and the small size of the particles, typically in the range of 1 to 50 µm, the contact zone of impacting particles can only be measured indirectly and with destructive methods. Therefore, still not all phenomena which lead to a strong bonding in the contact area and a high quality coating are completely understood. For the study of these mechanisms two different simulation approaches have been used:

a) Simulation of particle and gas flow with Computational Fluid Dynamics (CFD)

For a better understanding of the spray process, the nozzle, the adjacent flow areas and the substrate were computed with a CFD method. The trajectories of single particles were calculated by an Euler-Lagrange approach. For the flow the k-ω SST model was used. Local temperatures in the substrate were calculated by the law of heat conduction. The impact conditions dependent on the nozzle geometry and the particle properties. With the local temperature distribution in the substrate and in the particle, precise impact conditions could be estimated. A study has been conducted to vary the parameters of the spray process, temperature and pressure as well as the particle properties as shape factor, density and size. Moreover the nozzle geometry has been varied in the simulation to optimize the spray process. The simulation results are compared to images of coated surfaces obtained by Scanning Electron Microscopy (SEM) for validation.

b) Simulation of particle-surface impact behavior with Discrete Element Method (DEM)

The DEM is widely used for investigations of particular processes. The advantage of this method is the detailed calculation of particle-particle or particle-wall contacts to obtain the important parameters as forces and deformations. The contact force in the particle wall contact is also dependent on the surface morphology. Therefore the surface topography of two real technical surfaces, a polished and an unpolished Titanium substrate were measured by Scanning Probe Microscopy (SPM) imaging with a nanoindenter (TI Premier, Hysitron). The surface topography was discretized and implemented in a DEM model. A parameter study has been conducted to determine the distribution of forces and contact angles occurring at the particle impact. Different particle sizes and impact velocities were studied.

The cold pray process dependents on various parameters which affect each other. Since of the high gradients and the small scales occurring during the process experimental measurements are often difficult. With this numerical study different parameters could be considered uncoupled of the other parameters. The results can be used for a better process understanding and an optimization of commercial cold spray systems.

[1] Alkhimov, A. P., Papyrin, A. N., Kosarev, V. F., Nesterovich, N. I., Shuspanov, M. M.: Gas dynamic spraying method for applying a coating; US Patent, 5302414; 1994

[2] Buhl, S., Schmidt K., Sappok D., Merz, R., Godard, C., Sauer, B., Kerscher, E., Kopnarski, M., Antonyuk, S., Ripperger, S.: Surface structuring of case hardened chain pins by cold-sprayed micro particles to modify friction and wear properties; Particuology 21, 2015