Electrophoresis is the migration of electrically charged particles suspended in a colloidal solution under the influence of an applied electric field. Deposition occurs at one of the electrodes where the charge on the particle is neutralized. The particles acquire a static charge during milling, or they can be charged artificially by absorption of certain additives or electrolytes. This coating process, now being used commercially with increasing frequency, is applicable to practically all substrates, including tool steels, stainless steels, superalloys, refractory metals, oxides, and graphite.

Coatings as applied are soft, and densification is sometimes required. Densification, if needed, may be accomplished by isostatic pressing, hot pressing, or a combination of these methods, depending on the substrate metal. The coating is sintered, usually in a controlled atmosphere.

During sintering, metal coatings are bonded to the substrate by diffusion; oxide coatings, by mechanical and electrochemical bonding. Coating thickness rarely exceeds 75 pm (3 mils), and the thermal expansivity of coating and substrate should be closely matched to prevent spalling. The electrophoresis coating process is simple and easily automated while providing better control of coating thickness and composition than is possible with the slurry and pack cementation processes.

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