Issue
Metall. Res. Technol.
Volume 119, Number 2, 2022
Article Number 205
Number of page(s) 12
DOI https://doi.org/10.1051/metal/2022017
Published online 04 March 2022

© EDP Sciences, 2022

1 Introduction

With the rapid development of industrialization, higher requirements are put forward for the performance of mechanical parts. Due to long-term exposure to high temperature, pressure, and speed and the presence of corrosive medium, the surface of mechanical parts is prone to wear, corrosion, and fatigue cracks [1]. As a kind of surface strengthening technology, cladding technology mainly includes laser, plasma, and induction cladding technologies. Each technology has its remarkable characteristics. Compared with induction cladding technology, laser and plasma cladding technologies can realize the manufacture of parts with complex morphology and have simple control and small heat affected zone. These technologies are widely used in mining machinery, offshore drilling, marine engineering, aerospace, and other heavy machinery fields [2]. Compared with laser and plasma cladding technologies, induction cladding technology has higher power utilization rate and lower cost. Although the performance of the induction cladding coating is worse than the laser cladding coating, its power utilization rate approximates 40%, which is 2–5 times that of other heating methods. In the case of coatings with the same thickness, the cost of induction cladding is about 1/5 that of laser cladding, and the forming speed is faster [3,4]. Induction cladding can also realize uniform heating of complex workpieces and has an irreplaceable role in petro-chemistry, automobile manufacturing, and other fields. However, the microstructure of induction cladding coating is relatively loose and sensitive to defects, such as cracks and pores [5]. These problems also restrict the industrial application of induction cladding technology to a certain extent.

Adding ultrasonic vibration in the cladding process can reduce defects and improve the coating properties [6]. However, ultrasonic vibration composite induction cladding has not been reported. At present, the composite forms of ultrasonic wave and matrix can be divided into non-contact and contact types, as shown in Figures 1a and 1b, respectively [69]. The former has the advantage of compounding convenience compared with the latter, but the ultrasonic energy attenuation is serious; the latter has the advantage of small attenuation of transmission energy compared with the former, but the size and shape of the matrix are limited by the ultrasonic vibration table. Shen et al. [6] studied the effect of non-contact ultrasonic vibration on laser cladding coatings. The results showed that ultrasonic vibration can improve the nucleation rate, refine the grains, promote the uniformity of element distribution, and significantly improve the microhardness and wear resistance of coatings. Jiang et al. [8] studied the effect of applied angle on non-contact ultrasonic vibration coatings and observed that the best effect of grain refinement and performance improvement of the coating was found at the ultrasonic vibration incident angle of 45°. Chen et al. [7] used contact ultrasonic vibration composite laser cladding and discovered that the original coarse dendrite structure was broken by ultrasonic vibration, which was conducive to the homogenization of phase distribution, thus improving the appearance forming quality and coating performance. Li et al. [9] studied the effect of contact ultrasonic vibration on laser cladding of Ni/WC/La2O3 coating. The results showed that under the action of WC ceramic particles, the columnar dendrites that formed at the bottom of the cladding layer without ultrasonic vibration were dissolved, crystallized, and aggregated. Shen et al. [10] analyzed the effect of ultrasonic power on the microstructure of WC laser cladded coating. They observed that when the ultrasonic power was below 1000 W, the refining capability of the coating increased with the increase in power; however, when the power exceeded 1000 W, the refining capability increased slowly with the increase in ultrasonic power. Regardless of mechanical [11] or ultrasonic vibration [7,1215], a large number of studies showed that in laser cladding and surfacing technologies, after the application of ultrasonic vibration to a liquid metal, the forming quality of the cladding layer significantly improves, the grain size is evidently refined, and the average microhardness and surface roughness are improved.

A new method of ultrasonic vibration composite induction cladding was proposed to obtain high performance induction cladding coating. In this study, a high performance NiCrBSi coating was prepared on 45 steel substrate, which clarified the propagation mechanism of ultrasonic waves during traditional non-contact ultrasonic vibration composite cladding. The influence of the two ultrasonic vibration methods on microstructure, element distribution, crack, porosity and hardness of induction cladding coating was analyzed, which provided a precursor demonstration for industrial application of induction cladding.

thumbnail Fig. 1

Schematic of ultrasonic vibration composite laser cladding: (a) non-contact ultrasonic vibration, (b) contact ultrasonic vibration.

2 Materials and methods

2.1 Materials

The widely used 45 steel was selected as the matrix. The matrix size was Φ20 mm × 400 mm. As NiCrBSi alloy powder has good high temperature resistance, wear resistance, and relatively low price, and it was selected as the basic coating material in this test. The mesh size was 25–48 µm. Table 1 shows chemical composition of NiCrBSi. The 34% sodium silicate solution was selected as the binder of the powder.

Table 1

Chemical composition of NiCrBSi (wt%).

2.2 Experimental method

The surface treatment of 45 steel substrate was carried out. First, the oxide layer and rust on the surface were removed by grinding with a grinder. Then, the surface was polished with sandpapers of different mesh sizes, and the surface was cleaned with anhydrous ethanol. NiCrBSi powder was adjusted to viscous state based on the weight ratio of 1:7.5 with sodium silicate solution and was pre-set on the substrate surface. After repeated pressing, the NiCrBSi powder was dried at 80 °C for 2 h in a drying oven. A layer of aluminum foil tape was wrapped on the pre-set coating, followed by wrapping with clay, to prevent the coating from flowing and oxidation during heating. The model of induction heating equipment is MY-120kW, which is produced by Qingdao Shuimu induction equipment Co., Ltd and Table 2 shows the process parameters of induction cladding. The ultrasonic equipment used is CY3000X intelligent ultrasonic equipment generator. According to the principle of acoustics, when ultrasonic wave propagates in the medium, the energy gradually decreases within creasing distance. The distance between the workpiece and sound source should be 30 mm to reduce the attenuation of ultrasonic wave and prevent it from affecting the cladding process of workpiece. Figure 2 shows the ultrasonic test bed that we built, and Table 2 presents the parameters of ultrasonic vibration. Figure 2a shows the diagram of non-contact ultrasonic vibration composite induction cladding. In the cladding process, the ultrasonic emitter acted vertically on the 45 steel shaft. After induction heating, we moved the cladding platform to the ultrasonic emitter at a horizontal speed of 20 mm/s, aligned it with the unsolidified coating, operated it for 80 s, and induced propagation by air. Ultrasonic vibration was directly introduced into the cladding layer. Under the same process parameters, a group of induction cladding experiments without ultrasonic vibration were conducted for comparison. Figure 2b shows the diagram of contact ultrasonic vibration composite induction cladding. After cladding, the ultrasonic vibration was turned on for 80 s, and the ultrasonic vibration was introduced into the cladding layer through the substrate. Finally, with the help of scanning electron microscope (SEM), energy dispersive spectrometer (EDS), and microhardness tester, the induction cladding coatings were compared and analyzed.

Table 2

Experimental details of ultrasonic vibration-assisted induction cladding.

thumbnail Fig. 2

Diagram of induction cladding assisted by ultrasonic vibration: (a) non-contact ultrasonic vibration, (b) contact ultrasonic vibration.

2.3 Numerical model description

The success of induction cladding is closely related to the control of temperature field. However, heat transfer in cladding is difficult to study directly. The model of induction cladding has good symmetry. Thus, a two dimensional induction cladding forming model was established (Fig. 3). The induction coil was composed of four single-turn circular structure, and the 45 steel substrate and cladding layer were surrounded by the air area. Table 3 shows the specific dimensions of the model.

Magnetic and thermal insulations were introduced in the process of electromagnetic field and solid heat transfer as follows [16]:(1) (2)where A is the magnetic vector potential, A/m2; n is the unit normal of the boundary; q is the eddy current heat, W/m2.

During induction heating, heat flux was introduced in the thermal radiation between the substrate, coating, and air. The equation is described as follows [17]:(3) (4)where q0 is the boundary convective heat flux; h is the heat transfer coefficient, W/(m2 •K).

thumbnail Fig. 3

Geometric figures of the numerical model.

Table 3

Specific parameters of numerical model.

2.3.1 Material performance description

Induction cladding is a complex multi physical field coupling process. To simplify the model and maintain its accuracy, we assumed that the material is continuous and isotropic, and the effects of molten pool fluid flow, material gasification, and latent heat of phase change on the temperature field distribution are ignored [18]. The physical properties of the 45 steel were determined in accordance with the work of Sun [19] and other literature, and NiCrBSi was determined based on the mixing law of composite materials. Figure 4 displays the parameters.

thumbnail Fig. 4

Temperature-dependent material properties: (a) 45 steel, (b) NiCrBSi.

2.3.2 Description of meshing

The quality of mesh generation directly determines the accuracy of the model and the convergence of analysis results. In the process of induction heating, we focused on the temperature field distribution of the coating and the substrate in contact with it. Therefore, the surrounding area was divided by refinement, and other areas were divided by conventional settings. Figure 5a shows the results of mesh generation. The numerical model contains 1982 elements. The grid quality was analyzed by grid correlation test. As shown in Figure 5b, the minimum quality value was 0.5331, and the average quality was 0.7944. The closer the quality value to 1, the better the mesh quality. Therefore, meshing was appropriate and useful for solving the problem.

thumbnail Fig. 5

Finite element meshing and its quality map: (a) meshing, (b) quality map.

2.3.3 Experimental verification

The simulation parameters include induction heating power: 41 kW, induction heating frequency: 50 kHz and induction heating time: 19 s. The temperature was monitored by infrared thermal imager, the model of infrared thermal imager is Flir A615, the temperature range is 400–2300 K, and the measurement error is ±2%. As the infrared thermal imager cannot directly measure the coating temperature through the coil, a point on the surface of the substrate above the coating was selected for temperature measurement. Figure 6a shows measurement point A. The figure illustrates that the simulated and experimental temperatures exhibited the same rising trend. The maximum error occurred at 6.3 s, and the relative error was 6.4%. Therefore, the model was accurate and can be used for temperature field analysis of induction cladding of NiCrBSi.

Figure 7 shows the three-dimensional temperature field distribution obtained from the model. The minimum temperature of the coating was 1331 K after 19 s induction heating, which is higher than the melting point of NiCrBSi (1327K). Thus, NiCrBSi was completely melted in 19 s. During the experiment, when the heating time surpassed 19 s, the coating melted and flowed, whereas the corresponding maximum temperature was 1619 K. Therefore, the maximum temperature of the coating should be less than 1619K to avoid over melting of the coating.

thumbnail Fig. 6

Comparison between experimental and simulated temperatures: (a) location of the temperature collection point, (b) temperature comparison chart.

thumbnail Fig. 7

Temperature field distribution of NiCrBSi coating by induction cladding.

2.4 Characterization of NiCrBSi alloys

The middle position of the coating along the axial direction of the workpiece after cladding is selected. The samples (6 mm × 8 mm × 8 mm) are cut by wire electrical discharge machining along the radial depth and polished separately with fine sandpaper on the cross section perpendicular to the coating, and then polished on the polishing machine to create metallographic samples. The microstructure of the coating was observed by SEM (S-3400N), and the element distribution of the coating was observed by EDS. In addition, the software Image J was used to process the image and analyze the coating porosity. Finally, the microhardness of the coating bottom and top areas was tested by TH764 automatic turret microcomputer controlled microhardness tester. A diamond pyramid indenter with an included angle of 136 degrees between the opposite faces was used to press 500 g into the sample surface. Three points were obtained at the bottom and top of the coating to calculate the average microhardness to reduce the measurement error.

3 Results and discussion

3.1 Microstructural analysis

Figure 8 displays the microstructure of the coating prepared by induction cladding under different conditions. As shown in Figures 8b, 8d, and 8f, the bottom of the coating was a dark gray dendrite structure. As shown in Figures 8a, 8c, and 8e, given that the top of the coating was in contact with air directly, the undercooling degree was large, and crystallization started from the bottom of the coating to the top during solidification. Thus, the top of the coating was an equiaxed crystal structure. Non-contact ultrasonic composite laser cladding significantly refines the grains [6,8], but compared with Figures 8a and 8c, non-contact ultrasonic vibration showed no evident effect on grain refinement.

Such finding was due to the attenuated ultrasonic energy during transmission and the large amount of energy reflected when it was introduced into the metal melt from the air. Figure 9 shows the propagation principle of ultrasonic in the medium.

When the ultrasonic wave propagates in the air, the attenuation of sound intensity is computed as follows [20]:(5)where I0 is the sound intensity of the emitter, W/m2; α0 is the attenuation coefficient of sound pressure of air, 1/m; x is the distance of propagation in air, m.

When the ultrasonic wave reaches the coating surface through air, the transmission coefficient is as follows [21]:(6) (7)where It is the sound intensity transmitted to the molten metal, W/m2; Z2 is the acoustic impedance of the molten metal, Pa•s/m; Z1 is the acoustic impedance of air, Pa•s/m; c is the propagation velocity of ultrasonic wave in medium, m/s; ρ is the density of medium, kg/m3.

Table 4 shows the values of each parameter [2123] while ignoring the influence of temperature on the viscosity coefficient of molten metals.

The results show that I = 6.57e5 W/m2, t = 5e–5, and It = 32.85 W/m2. Although the energy attenuation of ultrasonic wave propagation in air was extremely small, most of the energy was reflected when propagated from the air to the coating. Given that most of the ultrasonic energy was reflected, the effect of non-contact ultrasonic vibration on grain refinement was inconspicuous, which is consistent with the experimental phenomenon.

Compared with Figures 8c and 8e the equiaxed grains in Figure 8e are refined. This finding is due to the ultrasonic vibration acting on the substrate during solidification of the coating, resulting in the destruction of growth dendrites and grain refinement.

thumbnail Fig. 8

Microstructure of coating: (a) microstructure on the top of sample S1, (b) microstructure at the bottom of sample S1, (c) microstructure at the top of sample S2, (d) microstructure at the bottom of sample S2, (e) microstructure at the top of sample S3, (f) microstructure at the bottom of sample S3.

thumbnail Fig. 9

Schematic of energy change during ultrasonic propagation in air.

Table 4

Medium parameters during ultrasonic propagation.

3.2 Crack and porosity analysis

Heating time considerably influences cracks on induction-cladded coatings [24]. Given the optimization process adopted in this test, no cracks were observed in the coatings with and without ultrasonic wave. However, pores, especially the tiny pores, were detected at the bottom of the coating. Image analysis was used to analyze the coating porosity. The morphology of the coating was collected by SEM, as shown in Figures 8b, 8d, and 8f. The image of the bottom of the coating was intercepted to obtain a 12.7 × 7.5 cm2 figure, as shown in Figures 10a, 10c, and 10e. The software Image J was used in image processing, and the outline of pores was obtained after extraction, as shown in Figures 10b, 10d, and 10f. Equation (4) was used to calculate the coating porosity:(8)where RP is the porosity, S1 is the area of all pores in the field of vision, and S2 is the total area of the field of vision.

The porosities of non-contact ultrasonic vibration, non-ultrasonic vibration, and contact ultrasonic vibration were RP = 0.125%, 0.105%, 0.088%, respectively. Pore formation in induction cladding can be explained by two main reasons. First, a small amount of air remained in the gap between the coating powders during the pre-coating process. During the heating process, the gas escape rate was lower than the solidification speed of the alloy, resulting in a small amount of pores remaining in the coating. Second, the volume of the alloy powder decreased after melting, and the molten liquid alloy cannot fill the pores quickly. After ultrasound application, given the cavitation effect of ultrasound, ultrasound accelerated the escape of pores and reduced the coating porosity.

thumbnail Fig. 10

(a) SEM image at the bottom of coating on sample S1, (b) pore distribution at the bottom of coating on sample S1, (c) SEM image at the bottom of coating on sample S2, (d) pore distribution at the bottom of coating on sample S2, (e) SEM image at the bottom of coating on sample S3, (f) pore distribution at the bottom of coating on sample S3.

3.3 Element distribution analysis

EDS attached to the SEM was used to scan the bottom section of the coating to study the effect of ultrasonic vibration on the element distribution in induction cladded coatings. As observed through EDS line scanning analysis, the iron content at the bottom of the coating increased (Fig. 11). This finding is due to the long induction heating time. When the temperature exceeded the Curie point (200 °C) of the nickel base alloy, the magnetism of the nickel-based coating was lost, and the eddy current appeared on the substrate surface. Therefore, the bottom of the coating was in a high temperature state for a long time, which provided power for iron diffusion. The increase in iron at the bottom of the coating indicates that the coating formed a metallurgical bond with the substrate [25]. Thus, contact ultrasonic vibration is beneficial to the homogenization of element distribution, whereas non-contact ultrasonic vibration has minimal effect on element distribution, as shown by the comparison in Figures 11a11c. The main reason is that the sound flow and vibration of the ultrasonic vibration improved the fluidity of the molten pool, promoted the diffusion of elements, and resulted in a homogeneous element distribution.

thumbnail Fig. 11

Line scan distribution at the bottom of induction cladding coating: (a) S1, (b) S2, (c) S3.

3.4 Coating microhardness analysis

As shown in Figure 12, the schematic diagram of sampling points on the sample for microhardness test is as follows: the sampling point at the top of the coating is 0.05 mm away from the top of the coating, and the sampling point at the bottom of the coating is 0.05 mm away from the bottom of the coating. Three points are taken at the top and bottom of the coating of each sample to reduce the error of the test. As shown in Table 5, the microhardness of the non-contact ultrasonic vibration coating was slightly higher than that of the coating without ultrasonic vibration. Given the error of the test and microscopic changes in experimental conditions that can cause this phenomenon, we believe that non-contact ultrasonic vibration has minimal effect on microhardness. The microhardness of the coating with contact ultrasonic vibration was significantly higher than that of the coating without ultrasonic vibration. On the one hand, the ultrasonic vibration refined the crystal grains and strengthened grain refinement. On the other hand, the acoustic streaming effect of ultrasonic and vibration improved the flow of liquid metal into the molten pool [26], resulting in uniform element distribution and strengthened dispersion.

thumbnail Fig. 12

The schematic microhardness measurement points distribution.

Table 5

Microhardness of induction cladding coating under different conditions (HV).

4 Conclusions

Through experiments and theoretical analysis, the ultrasonic propagation mechanism of traditional non-contact ultrasonic vibration composite cladding is clarified. The results show that the ultrasonic vibration combined induction cladding method can refine the grain size of the coating, reduce the porosity, improve the element distribution of the coating, and increase the microhardness of the coating. The details are as follows:

  • Given that acoustic impedance changed greatly when the ultrasonic wave propagates through air to the molten pool, most of the ultrasonic wave energy is reflected. In addition, the ultrasonic wave energy cannot reach the molten pool. A part of the energy transferred to the molten pool is inadequate to break the dendrite. Therefore, non-contact ultrasonic vibration composite cladding produces no grain refinement. Contact ultrasonic vibration composite cladding is adopted. The ultrasonic energy propagates directly onto the substrate without being reflected, and less energy attenuation is observed. Thus, an improved grain refinement is achieved.

  • Because the energy of the non-contact ultrasonic vibration cladding layer is low and it fails to reach the threshold of molten pool cavitation, the porosity defects of the non-contact ultrasonic vibration cladding layer has not been improved. The porosity of 0.017–0.037% can be reduced by using contact ultrasonic vibration composite induction cladding. This is mainly because of the cavitation effect of ultrasonic vibration. When the ultrasonic wave propagates in the liquid medium, there will be a temporary negative pressure area in the small area of the liquid. When the sound intensity exceeds the tension of the liquid, the weak area of the liquid will be torn open, resulting in a large number of bubbles. The cavitation effect of ultrasonic vibration is conducive to the escape of bubbles, thus reducing the porosity of the coating.

  • The non-contact ultrasonic vibration has little effect on the element distribution. However, under the contact compound ultrasonic vibration, the ultrasonic wave will produce limited amplitude attenuation when it propagates in the liquid metal, which makes the liquid metal form a certain sound pressure gradient from the sound source, leading to the high-speed flow of the liquid metal. Under the action of ultrasonic vibration, the flow of the molten pool is improved, and the element distribution in the molten pool is more uniform.

  • The non-contact ultrasonic vibration has no obvious effect on microhardness. At the same time, the microhardness of the coating is significantly improved by ultrasonic vibration, which benefits from the fine grain strengthening effect of ultrasonic vibration, and the decrease of porosity and the homogenization of element distribution also help to improve the microhardness.

  • The results show that the contact ultrasonic vibration can improve the grain structure, porosity, element distribution and microhardness of the induction cladding coating, which is attributed to three reasons. First, the ultrasonic increases the undercooling, reduces the nucleation energy and promotes the nucleation of grains. Second, under the influence of ultrasonic cavitation effect, the bubbles dissolved in the metal liquid are easier to escape. Third, under the effect of ultrasonic acoustic flow, the solute flow in the molten pool is accelerated, and the element distribution of the coating tends to be more uniform.

Author contributions

Conceptualization, SHI Y.J. and WANG K.; methodology, ZHOU X.Y; software, ZHAI C.M.; validation, WANG K., ZHOU X.Y. and GUO Y.K.; formal analysis, WANG K.; investigation, JIANG J.F. writing—original draft preparation, WANG K.; writing—review and editing, WANG K.

Declaration of interest statement

The authors declared that they have no conflicts of interest to this work. We declare that we do not have any commercial or associative interest that represents a conflict of interest in connection with the work submitted.

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Cite this article as: Kai Wang, Yongjun Shi, Xiaoyu Zhou, Changmin Zhai, Yankuo Guo, Jianfeng Jiang, Microstructure and properties of NiCrBSi coating formed by ultrasonic vibration combined with induction cladding, Metall. Res. Technol. 119, 205 (2022)

All Tables

Table 1

Chemical composition of NiCrBSi (wt%).

Table 2

Experimental details of ultrasonic vibration-assisted induction cladding.

Table 3

Specific parameters of numerical model.

Table 4

Medium parameters during ultrasonic propagation.

Table 5

Microhardness of induction cladding coating under different conditions (HV).

All Figures

thumbnail Fig. 1

Schematic of ultrasonic vibration composite laser cladding: (a) non-contact ultrasonic vibration, (b) contact ultrasonic vibration.

In the text
thumbnail Fig. 2

Diagram of induction cladding assisted by ultrasonic vibration: (a) non-contact ultrasonic vibration, (b) contact ultrasonic vibration.

In the text
thumbnail Fig. 3

Geometric figures of the numerical model.

In the text
thumbnail Fig. 4

Temperature-dependent material properties: (a) 45 steel, (b) NiCrBSi.

In the text
thumbnail Fig. 5

Finite element meshing and its quality map: (a) meshing, (b) quality map.

In the text
thumbnail Fig. 6

Comparison between experimental and simulated temperatures: (a) location of the temperature collection point, (b) temperature comparison chart.

In the text
thumbnail Fig. 7

Temperature field distribution of NiCrBSi coating by induction cladding.

In the text
thumbnail Fig. 8

Microstructure of coating: (a) microstructure on the top of sample S1, (b) microstructure at the bottom of sample S1, (c) microstructure at the top of sample S2, (d) microstructure at the bottom of sample S2, (e) microstructure at the top of sample S3, (f) microstructure at the bottom of sample S3.

In the text
thumbnail Fig. 9

Schematic of energy change during ultrasonic propagation in air.

In the text
thumbnail Fig. 10

(a) SEM image at the bottom of coating on sample S1, (b) pore distribution at the bottom of coating on sample S1, (c) SEM image at the bottom of coating on sample S2, (d) pore distribution at the bottom of coating on sample S2, (e) SEM image at the bottom of coating on sample S3, (f) pore distribution at the bottom of coating on sample S3.

In the text
thumbnail Fig. 11

Line scan distribution at the bottom of induction cladding coating: (a) S1, (b) S2, (c) S3.

In the text
thumbnail Fig. 12

The schematic microhardness measurement points distribution.

In the text

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