During high velocity oxy-fuel (HVOF) thermal spraying, most powder particles remain in solid state prior to the formation of coating. A finite element (FE) model is developed to study the impact of thermally sprayed solid particles on substrates and to establish the critical particle impact parameters needed for adequate bonding. The particles are given the properties of widely used WC-Co powder for HVOF thermally sprayed coatings. The numerical results indicate that in HVOF process the kinetic energy of the particle prior to impact plays the most dominant role on particle stress localization and melting of the particle/substrate interfacial region. Both the shear-instability theory and an energy-based method are used to establish the critical impact parameters for HVOF sprayed particles, and it is found that only WC-Co particles smaller than 40 ?m have sufficient kinetic and thermal energy for successful bonding.<br/><br/
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