A new method of patching metal components with a cold spray process called Kinetic Metallization is saving the Naval Aviation Enterprise time and money in repairing aircraft components and returning them to the fleet.
Kinetic Metallization, generically referred to as cold spray, is an additive, solid-state thermal spray process that restores components’ critical dimensional features lost to corrosion, wear or mechanical damage. The process bonds metal to metal in a relatively low-heat environment, filling in any corrosion or other damage in machine parts.
These types of repairs often take less time and are safer than traditional methods. For example, traditional chrome coating takes 20 hours to cover a part with 20 mils (0.020”) of metal, while Kinetic Metallization can do it with a tungsten carbide/cobalt composite in approximately two minutes. The process also eliminates the health hazards posed and safety precautions required by traditional methods.
This less expensive, faster method of repair has already saved approximately $1.6 million on repairs of a single F/A-18E/F Super Hornet part.
The results have been impressive. Of the approximately 150 parts repaired using cold spray, none have been returned for another repair. Additionally, none have resulted in machine rejections. With traditional methods, approximately 20-40 percent are machine rejected. The parts repaired with the cold spray process exhibit higher toughness and wear resistance than the original parts.
Kinetic Metallization uses low-pressure helium or nitrogen and a sonic nozzle to accelerate particles. The combination of low pressure and sonic gas speed significantly decreases gas consumption compared to conventional cold spray processes while still achieving high particle velocities. It also wastes less material compared to other cold spray machines and techniques.
Engineers now are pressing forward with future applications for the technology