Nano-engineered self-lubricating particles comprised of hexagonal-boron-nitride powder (hBN) encapsulated in nickel have been developed for cold spray coating of aluminum components. The nickel encapsulant consists of several nano-sized layers, which are deposited on the hBN particles by electroless plating. In the cold spray deposition, the nickel becomes the matrix in which hBN acts as the lubricant. The coating demonstrated a very promising performance by reducing the coefficient of friction by almost 50% and increasing the wear resistance more than tenfold. The coatings also exhibited higher bond strength, which was directly related to the hardenability of the particles. During the encapsulation process, the hBN particles agglomerate and form large clusters. De-agglomeration has been studied through low- and high-energy ball milling to create more uniform and consistent particle sizes and to improve the cold spray deposition efficiency. The unmilled and milled particles were characterized with Scanning Electron Microscopy, Energy-Dispersive X-Ray Spectroscopy, BET, and hardness tests. It was found that in low-energy ball milling, the clusters were compacted to a noticeable extent. However, the high-energy ball milling resulted in breakup of agglomerations and destroyed the nickel encapsulant.
All Science Journal Classification (ASJC) codes
- Condensed Matter Physics
- Surfaces, Coatings and Films
- Materials Chemistry