Deposition of Multiscale Thickness Graphene Coating by Harnessing Extreme Heat and Rapid Quenching: Toward Commercialization
Abstract: Deposition of graphene as a coating material over large-scale areas is an intense topic of research because of complexities involved in the existing deposition techniques. Higher defects and compromised properties restricted in realizing the full potential of graphene coating. This work aims to deposit graphene coatings by adopting a traditional technique, that is, plasma spraying, which has inherent merits of extremely high cooling rate (∼106 K/s) and low plasma exposure time (∼0.1–10 μs). Graphene nanoplatelets (GNPs) were spray-dried into spherical agglomerates (∼60 μm dia.) and coatings were deposited over a wide range of surfaces. Continuous monitoring of temperature and velocity of in-flight GNPs was done using a diagnostic sensor. Deposition of GNP coatings was the result of striking of quasi-2D melted GNPs with higher velocity (∼197 m/s) toward the substrate. Postcharacterizations confirmed that GNPs did not collapse even after being exposed to harsh environments in plasma. Instead, high temperatures proved to be beneficial in purifying the commercial GNPs. The coatings were transparent even in the short-wavelength infrared region and remained electrically conductive. A proof-of-concept was established by carrying out preliminary corrosion and antifriction tests. Outstanding reduction of ∼3.5 times in corrosion rate and 3 times in coefficient of friction was observed in GNP-deposited coating. It is envisaged that graphene coating by plasma spraying can bring a revolution in commercial sectors.