Patent number 8486520 is assigned to
The following quote was obtained by the news editors from the background information supplied by the inventors: "Thermal spray technologies for applying material to surfaces are very well known in the art. Thermal spray coatings can be made from feedstocks of a variety of forms, such as, particulate, suspensions and liquid precursors. When particulate feedstocks are used, typically the particles have diameters varying from 5 to 100 .mu.m. This powder is fed into a thermal spray torch, which has a source of heat. This source of heat can be generated by the combustion of a fuel gas (e.g., acetylene and oxygen) or a plasma gas (e.g., Ar/H.sub.2 plasma). The powder particles that tend to melt in the heat source (spray jet) of the thermal spray torch are accelerated (via gas expansion) towards the substrate surface. The molten particles arrive at the substrate surface, where they flatten, cool and solidify forming lamellas or splats. The typical thermal spray microstructure resembles a stack of overlapping splats.
"Ceramic materials are known for being hard and stiff. Ceramic thermal spray coatings have been used for many years as anti-wear coatings. Recently, it has been observed that nanostructured ceramic oxide thermal spray coatings exhibit higher wear resistance when compared to their conventional counterparts.
"A paper previously published by the applicant (
"There exists a need for a cost effective, simple method of producing porous ceramic thermal spray coatings for a number of applications; for example, to produce abradable coatings for seals, and thermal barrier coatings (TBCs).
"Abradable coatings or seals are used in compressors and combustion chambers of aircraft and land-based gas turbines to decrease clearance between e.g. a stator casing and a rotor blade tip, and hence to increase compressor and combustion chamber efficiency, and decrease fuel consumption. Modem turbines require very small clearances between rotating components (blade tips, labyrinth seals) and the stator case in order to minimize gap losses, and increase efficiency. For this purpose, different types of abradable coatings (seals) are deposited via thermal spray on the stator case to cope with rotor misalignment, thermal and centrifugal dilations, and unbalanced parts. The primary requirement of abradable coatings is to allow the coating to wear away without damaging the blade tip.
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