Unseen Applications of Thermal Spray in Everyday Life

Unseen Applications of Thermal Spray in Everyday Life

In our daily lives, we often overlook the intricate engineering marvels that surround us, many of which utilize the groundbreaking technology of thermal spraying. Here are just a few everyday items that showcase the impressive capabilities of thermal spraying, transforming our understanding of common materials and components.

Have a look, here, as we demonstrate several use cases:

1. Racing Engine Valves:

You might never guess, but the valves in racing engines are unique. Constructed from lightweight titanium, these valves help in achieving rapid acceleration. However, titanium has a downside: it doesn’t interact well with aluminum or steel.

The solution?

Spraying the stem with a nickel-cobalt alloy. Nickel-cobalt is a fantastic metal for reducing friction against various other metals, ensuring smooth operation even under the demanding conditions of racing.

2. Olive Oil Barrels:

Thermal spraying is even helping in the food industry. The barrels used to store olive oil are formed from galvanized sheet steel. A key step in their production is a thermal spray application on the inside to galvanize it, preventing corrosion and ensuring it complies with food safety regulations. It might be a stretch, but let’s say yes, thermal spray can indirectly make your olive oil taste better!

3. Compressor Rods:

In industrial settings, compressors play a crucial role. Some of these compressors have large rods connected to pistons, and these rods need special treatment due to the wear they experience from high pressures. By spraying these rods with tungsten carbide, their longevity and efficiency are significantly enhanced.

4. Damaged Shafts:

Instead of discarding damaged shafts, they can be restored with thermal spraying. The roughened, worn-out surfaces are coated with stainless steel, and then machined back to their original dimensions. This process not only restores the shaft but also makes it more resilient.

5. Bridge Girders:

Bridges are constantly exposed to environmental elements, making corrosion a significant concern. Many bridge girders are sprayed with zinc for corrosion protection. After this, they receive a coat of paint for added protection and aesthetics.

6. Anti-Skid Surfaces:

Downtown streets frequently have steel plates covering access holes. While these might be seen as mundane, many now benefit from a rough-textured thermal spray coating. This innovation ensures they provide a grippy surface, reducing the risk of slips and falls.

7. Water Screens at Processing Facilities:

At facilities drawing water from rivers or oceans, screens often become encrusted with barnacles and sea life. By using a thermal sprayed copper-bearing alloy, the growth of marine organisms is inhibited. Copper acts as a poison to these particles, making the screens less susceptible to blockages. The application can also restore damaged machine surfaces with copper alloys, but it’s worth noting that using this process on boat hulls can be challenging due to adhesion issues.

8. Sanitary Hospital Equipment:

With health and sanitation being of paramount importance, especially in hospitals, thermal spraying is making waves. Certain alloys, notably a secretive copper-nickel combination, can be sprayed onto objects such as handrails and bed rails. The inherent properties of copper, known to kill viruses and bacteria, make these sprayed surfaces safer in health contexts. This realization is particularly poignant in the era of COVID-19, given that the virus cannot survive on copper surfaces.

9. Revamping Diesel Engines:

Large diesel engines, like those in trucks and construction machinery, are expensive assets. Instead of replacing worn-out engines, thermal spraying is used to extend their lifespan. By using rotating thermal spray guns, worn-out cylinder bores can be machined and re-sprayed with an iron-based alloy, then finished and honed to original sizes. Similarly, the engine block surfaces are also treated with thermal sprays to ensure integrity.

10. Earthmoving Equipment:

Damages to housings and other components of large earthmoving machinery can be quite costly. Through the application of thermal spraying, worn out or damaged parts can be restored. For instance, a damaged housing can be sprayed on the inside and machined back to original specifications, making the equipment ready for service again. Such applications highlight thermal spraying’s role in promoting sustainability by extending the life of components rather than discarding them.

11. Medical Implants:

Perhaps one of the most remarkable applications of thermal spraying is in the medical field, especially with knee and hip implants. To promote bone attachment, pure titanium is sprayed onto titanium alloy components. This technique has been employed for several decades, with parts designed for both the upper and lower regions of the leg. Additionally, a similar procedure is applied to hip implants, emphasizing the versatility and crucial role of thermal spraying in medical advancements.

The often unseen applications of thermal spraying in our daily lives are extensive and deeply fascinating. From enhancing the longevity of engines to playing an essential role in medical treatments, the technology has a transformative impact on various industries. As more applications emerge, it becomes increasingly evident that thermal spraying will continue to shape the way we design, restore, and utilize everyday objects.

If this topic intrigues you, there’s a wealth of videos and further examples on our Youtube channel here:

“Thermal Spray Depot Youtube Channel”

The thermal spray process holds untold potential, making our lives better, safer, and more sustainable. If you have any questions or would like to learn more about how Thermal Spray Depot can help you with your manufacturing, give us a call at 724-229-5791 or drop us a line at info@thermalspraydepot.com.