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Investigation of stand-off distance effect on structure, adhesion and hardness of copper coatings obtained by the APS technique



AbstractThe outbreak of the disease and infection in the hospital environment and medical equipment is one of the concerns of modern life. One of the effective ways for preventing and reducing the complications of infections is modification of the surface. Here, the handmade atmospheric plasma spray system is used for accumulating copper as an antibacterial agent on the 316L stainless steel substrate, which applies to hospital environment and medical equipment. As a durable coating with proper adhesion is needed on the substrate, the effect of stand-off distance (SOD) which is an important parameter of the spray on the microstructure, the hardness and adhesion of the copper coating on the 316L stainless steel were investigated. The structure and phase composition of copper depositions were investigated using scanning electron microscopy and X-ray diffraction. The adhesion and hardness of depositions are evidenced using the cross cut tester and Vickers hardness tester, respectively. The findings confirm that the voids in the coatings increase with increasing SOD, which leads to decreasing the hardness of coatings and also the adhesion strength between depositions and substrate. In addition, by increasing the SOD, the oxygen content and the size of grains in the lamellae (fine structure) of coatings also increase.