The aim of this work is to discuss the growth characteristics of the ceramic coatings on Ti alloy by plasma electrolytic oxidation (PEO) technique. Ceramic coatings were prepared on Ti alloy by plasma electrolytic oxidation in different electrolyte solutions under different pulse modes. The composition and the structure of the coatings were investigated by X-ray diffraction and scanning electron microscopy (SEM), respectively. The amount of the dissolved titanium into the electrolytes during PEO process was measured by inductively coupled plasma-atomic emission spectrometer (ICP-AES). The structure and the composition of the coatings were related to the mode of the spark discharge during PEO process. (a) Under the pulsed single-polar mode: In Na3PO4 solution, the spark discharge was mainly due to the breakdown of the oxide film, and the coatings prepared were porous and mainly structured by the Ti from the substrate. In K4ZrF6–H3PO4 and NaAlO2–Na3PO4 solutions, the main mode of the spark discharge was the breakdown of the oxide film at the initial stage, and then changed into the breakdown of the vapor envelope, and the coatings were rough and thick, and mainly structured by the elements from the electrolyte. (b) Under the pulsed bi-polar mode in NaAlO2–Na3PO4 solution, the spark discharge may be mainly due to the breakdown of the oxide film, the coatings prepared were dense in inner layer and loose in outer layer, and structured by the elements from both the substrate and the electrolyte. Besides, the ICP-AES analyses showed that the amount of the dissolved titanium in the electrolyte during PEO process was more under the breakdown of the oxide film than under the breakdown of the vapor envelope, which was consistent with the changes of the structure of the coatings. Cathode pulse in the pulsed bi-polar mode increased the amount of the dissolved titanium in the electrolyte, compared with the pulsed single-polar one.
- Plasma electrolytic oxidation;
- Growth characteristics;
- Ti alloy;
- Ceramic coatings