My summer research focused developing a computational model based on the cold spray process, a way to apply a coating to a material, often called a substrate. In the cold spray process, pressurized gas flows through a converging diverging nozzle to reach supersonic velocity. Solid powdered particles are fed upstream of the nozzle and accelerate due to the expanding gas. The particles collide with the substrate at high velocities to form a coating. The process is similar to thermal spray; however, in cold spray, the particles do not melt.
I developed a computational model in ANSYS FLUENT that calculates the particle's temperature and velocity throughout the nozzle and right before the particle reaches the substrate. By testing various initial pressures and initial temperatures, it can be determined whether that particle reaches its critical velocity, the velocity needed for the particle to bond to the substrate. The model can be used to help successfully bond more particles to the substrate during the cold spray process.