Selection of materials for fit-for-purpose components in harsh environments.
Cavitation erosion (material removal from the surface) is the major failure mechanism of many fluid machinery components that is responsible for high maintenance costs. Therefore, cavitation erosion rate and resistance are important parameters required for designing hydraulic parts and estimating their in-service performance. This is especially true when cavitation cannot be avoided due to design limitations, such as in valves, propellers, impellers, pumps and turbines. Thus, a proper selection of materials or advanced coatings for critical components with high cavitation erosion resistance is a necessity.
A series of experiments (based on real engineering systems) using a range of steel and aluminium alloy samples revealed their strength and performance against cavitation erosion and identified the best candidates for fluid machinery manufacturing. Studies were expanded into advanced coatings where we demonstrated that plasma sprayed Yttria-stabilized zirconia (YSZ) coatings can significantly improve the life of materials under cavitation attack.