Thermal spray technologies progressed from a rudimentary process difficult to control towards an increasingly precise one. Dedicated tool and associated processes can now be tailored according to properties of both deposited material and coatings. Limitation of coating types seems to be overcome for some materials thanks to the newest thermal spray process Cold Spray (CS). Feasibility, optimization and qualification investigation of CS is still required to enable this innovative process to comply with prospective aircraft applications.
The CO3 project will target the full implementation of the CS process development up to its first demonstration through the metallization of a front landing gear fairing. CO3 project consortium gathered 5 European Partners with required skills, complementary expertise and capabilities. They will tackle the ambitious improvement objectives expected such as to improve: thermal spray metallization demonstration of non-metallic substrates, deposition efficiency and microstructure characteristics, optimal processing conditions and its effect of on coating characteristics, robotized manufacturing capacity, CS process demonstrator and awareness raising towards other areas of aircraft applications.
To achieve such results, CO3 project will implement three distinctive strategies to enhance the CS operational and technological conditions and enable better performances to limit/avoid substrate erosion: Low pressure CS, Mixed metal-polymer powders, Metal charged supercritical Nitrogen for subsurface incrustation of metallic particles for thermoplastic base materials prior to CS, Intermediate CS layer made of low erosive metallic particles and a final aluminium top coat CS layer, Interlayer integration during substrate manufacturing process.
CO3 achievements will directly contribute to the improved CS non-metallic substrate metallization process qualification and related technology guidelines definition for future aerospace industry benefit.