A heterogeneous body having ceramic rich cermet regions in a more ductile metal matrix. The heterogeneous bodies are formed by thermal spray operations on metal substrates. The thermal spray operations apply heat to a cermet powder and project it onto a solid substrate. The cermet powder is composed of complex composite particles in which a complex ceramic-metallic core particle is coated with a matrix precursor. The cermet regions are generally comprised of complex ceramic-metallic composites that correspond approximately to the core particles. The cermet regions are approximately lenticular shaped with an average width that is at least approximately twice the average thickness. The cermet regions are imbedded within the matrix phase and generally isolated from one another. They have obverse and reverse surfaces. The matrix phase is formed from the matrix precursor coating on the core particles. The amount of heat applied during the formation of the heterogeneous body is controlled so that the core particles soften but do not become so fluid that they disperse throughout the matrix phase. The force of the impact on the surface of the substrate tends to flatten them. The flattened cermet regions tend to be approximately aligned with one another in the body.
This invention was made with government support under contract #DAAD17-01-C-0107 awarded by Army Research Lab and contract #DE-FG02-03ER83838 awarded by the Department of Energy. The government has certain rights in this invention.