The Morphology and Mechanical Properties of ESD Coatings before and after Laser Beam Machining

Materials (Basel). 2020 May 19;13(10):2331. doi: 10.3390/ma13102331.


Electro-spark deposition (ESD) and laser beam machining (LBM) are the technologies using the concentrated energy flux. This paper deals with the issue of the impact of laser modification on the morphology and mechanical properties of carbide/copper coatings produced by electro-spark treatment. The coatings were applied to C45 carbon steel samples using the EIL-8A device. The following three types of electrodes made using the powder metallurgy (PM) hot pressing technique, from copper and tungsten carbide powders of different percentage compositions, were used for the coatings: 25% WC and 75% Cu; 50% WC and 50% Cu; and 75% WC and 25% Cu. Laser modification of the surface layers was performed with an Nd:YAG laser. The research focused on the analysis of the morphology of coatings applied by electro-spark technology before and after laser processing. The analysis of the morphology of electro-spark coatings revealed that the coatings had microcracks and pores. The laser beam machining of ESD coatings led to the homogenization of chemical composition, fragmentation of the structure, and elimination of microcracks. In addition, measurements of porosity, microhardness, adhesion, and analysis of XRD phase composition of the electro-spark coatings were performed. Laser processing proved to have a positive effect on improving the adhesion of coatings and reducing their porosity. This paper also presents a simulation model of heat transfer processes for the case of laser radiation impact on a WC-Cu coating. The developed numerical model, describing the influence of laser treatment on the distribution of temperature fields in the heated material (at a given depth) is of significant importance in the development of treatment technologies. Laser-modified ESD coatings perform anti-wear and protective functions, which enable their potential application in means of transport such as rolling stock.

Keywords: ESD coating; electrodes; laser beam machining; mechanical properties; morphology.