DC Arc Plasma Treatment for Defect Reduction in WC-Co Granulated Powder


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Tungsten carbide-cobalt (WC-Co) agglomerated powder is widely used for additive manufacturing and spray coating, and a reduction in internal gaps in the powder is required to obtain a product of high quality. In this paper, we investigate plasma effects on agglomerated powder when WC-12%Co powder is directly subjected to direct current (DC) arc plasma treatment to reduce gaps in the WC-Co powder. We obtain a plasma-treated powder with reduced gaps among WC particles. Furthermore, plasma-treatment improves the sphericity of the powder particles, due to the spheroidization effect, so that the percentage of plasma-treated particles exceeding 95% sphericity is 50%, which is 1.7 times that of raw powder. Concern regarding the possible generation of W2C by plasma treatment is unfounded, with W2C levels kept very low according to X-ray diffraction (XRD) analysis, showing a value of 0.0075 for the area ratio W2C(002)/WC(100). XRD analysis also reveals that plasma treatment relaxes residual strains in the powder. From these results, the DC plasma treatment of WC agglomerated powder produces a spherical powder with fewer gaps and strains in the powder, making it more suitable for additive manufacturing while suppressing decarburization.
cemented carbide,tungsten carbide,plasma treatment,DC arc plasma,spheroidization
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