Analysis of Microstructural Changes with Temperature of Thermally Sprayed WC-Co Coatings by Mechanical Spectroscopy
Thermally sprayed hardmetal coatings can be used to improve the wear or fatigue resistance of mechanical parts. Depending on the deposition conditions, their microstructure and phase composition are out of equilibrium at different levels due to the extreme heating/cooling rates. In the present study, the changes that occur with temperature variation are monitored by mechanical spectroscopy. Requirements to specimen of mechanical spectroscopy created the need to prepare WC-17%Co coatings of 1.2 mm thickness by high velocity oxy-fuel (HVOF) spraying. The coatings, separated from the substrate by spark erosion, were tested in a forced torsion pendulum between room temperature and 1570 K at a temperature scanning rate of 1K/min. The mechanical loss spectrum shows different features. At 800 K, a maximum M1 is observed in coincidence with a sudden increase of the elastic modulus. The change of the elastic modulus is due to a densification of the material possibly related to cobalt recrystallization. A relaxation peak located at about 1100 K is typically found in WC-Co hardmetals. It is attributed to the movement of dislocations in the cobalt phase. A sharp peak is observed at 1510 K on heating and at 1410 K on cooling. Such peak is due to the reversible transition from W3Co3C at high temperature to W6Co6C at low temperature as proven by X-ray diffraction. The reversibility of such transformation was observed for the first time.