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[en] Highlights: • WC-Co-Ni coatings produced by high pressure cold spray had no decarburization and phase transformation. • Porous WC-Co particles enabled WC phase to completely retain in cold sprayed WC-Co-Ni coatings as compared with in feedstock. • Fracture of porous WC-Co particles during deposition was the formation mechanism of dense cold sprayed WC-Co-Ni coatings. • Coating hardness, toughness and wear-resistance performance improved as the WC content increased. WC-Co metal matrix composite is frequently applied in the form of coating to prevent the underlying base materials from serious wear. Cold spray has been successfully used to produce WC-Co coatings in recent years, showing great potential. However, due to the lack of sufficient Co matrix phase for plastic deformation, the fabrication of cold sprayed WC-Co coating naturally requires expensive propulsive gas or very high working parameters, significantly increasing the manufacturing difficulty and cost. This paper aims to use conventional high pressure cold spray to fabricate WC-Co-Ni wear-resistance coatings under moderate working parameters, and to clarify the coating formation mechanism. To achieve this objective, mechanically mixed porous WC-17Co and dense Ni powders were selected as the feedstock with different WC mass fractions, F1 (41.5 wt%), F2 (64.5 wt%) and F3 (74.7 wt%). Working parameters were set at a moderate level (nitrogen, 3.0MPa and 350°C). Experimental results show that the WC reinforcements had no phase transformation and were completely retained in the WC-Co-Ni coatings as compared with in the feedstock. Fracture of the porous WC-Co particles during the deposition process was found to be the reason for such high WC retainability, dominating the coating formation mechanism. Tribological performance test shows that the coating hardness, toughness and wear-resistance performance improved as the WC content increased from the F1 to F3 coating. Wear mechanism analysis demonstrates that the F3 coating exhibited a completely different wear mechanism from the F1 and F2 coatings, thus the F3 coating had the best wear-resistance performance.