Effect of an oxide layer on high velocity impact of tantalum particles characterized using molecular dynamics

SG Bierschenk and MF Becker and D Kovar, APPLIED SURFACE SCIENCE, 640, 158394 (2023).

DOI: 10.1016/j.apsusc.2023.158394

Micro-cold spray, also commonly referred to as the aerosol deposition method or vacuum kinetic spraying, is a process for depositing nanostructured films of metals and ceramics by impacting solid nanoparticles at high velocity onto a substrate at room temperature and at low pressures. Tantalum films deposited by micro-cold spray are desirable because tantalum is non-reactive to certain molten metals and can therefore serve as a non-reactive barrier coating. However, unlike most other metals deposited by micro-cold spray, tantalum quickly forms an oxide layer when exposed to air. In the deposition of films using traditional cold spray with much larger particles, native oxides must fracture for particle-substrate bonding to occur. The fraction of the particle that is oxidized in micro-cold spray and the strain rates experienced by the particles upon impact are both much larger than in cold spray, suggesting that the role of the oxide on film deposition may be distinct. The effect of this oxide layer on particle deformation and adherence to a substrate under high strain rates is studied using molecular dynamics simulations. The effect of oxide layer thickness, particle diameter, and impact velocity are examined.

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