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What is a coating?


A coating, from a surface engineering point of view, is a layer of material deposited onto a substrate to enhance the surface properties for corrosion and wear protection. Factors affecting the choice of a coating include service environment, life expectancy, substrate material compatibility, component shape and size, and cost.

There is a wide range of coating processes for depositing many different types of material at thicknesses ranging from just a few microns, up to several millimetres. The different types of coatings can be categorized in many ways. One common approach is based on the manner in which the coating material is deposited on the substrate surface. This includes atomic deposition, particulate deposition and bulk coating or cladding. Some common coating types are given below in the table.

Atomic deposition Electrolytic deposition Physical vapour deposition (PVD) Plasma deposition Chemical vapour deposition (CVD)
Particulate deposition Thermal spraying Impact plating Enamelling Electrophoresis
Bulk coating or cladding Painting and dipping Laser cladding Weld overlays Roll bonding
Surface modification Anodising Electrolytic conversion    

Further information

What is surfacing?
What is spraying?
What is hardfacing?
What is physical vapour deposition (PVD)?
What is chemical vapour deposition (CVD)?
Thermal spraying processes - a guide to best practice
Surface engineering at TWI

See further information about Materials and Corrosion Management or please contact us

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