Plasma spraying is the process of applying a coating to a surface using a molten or heat softened material. When this comes into contact with the surface of the material being sprayed it rapidly cools and thus forms a strong bond with the surface.
The coating material is supplied in powder form and is heated to very high temperatures in the form of plasma before being sprayed out at high velocity. Although the plasma is applied hot, the surface that is being treated remains relatively cool, so this is a process that can be used with minimal risk of damaging or distorting the components being treated.
According to analysts Garner requests for market samples for plasma coating equipment is growing fast. This is hardly surprising as it is employed in a number of different sectors.
Plasma spraying uses
The application of plasma spray is used in a whole range of sectors including aerospace, automotive applications, marine and mechanical engineering, biomedical equipment, electronics, household appliances and more.
Applications are as diverse as applying thermal barrier coatings to the inside of turbine combustion chambers, applying Molybdenum alloys to internal combustion engine piston rings, and protective coatings on medical and dental implants.
Pros and cons of plasma sprayed coatings
The use of plasma coatings offers many advantages. It can be used with many different kinds of material, and it’s possible to produce a more even, higher quality coating than with other types of spraying process. There’s a wide range of particle sizes on offer for the coating powder so it can be used in lots of applications, and the technique of plasma spraying is now widely understood and available.
As with any process there are of course some drawbacks. The equipment needed to carry out the spraying process is expensive – which is why many businesses choose to contract plasma spraying application out to specialist suppliers like https://www.poeton.co.uk/apticote-800-thermal-plasma-spray/ for example.
The spray guns used operate at high temperatures and therefore need to be replaced on a regular basis as they can be subject to rapid deterioration otherwise. Also, when spraying in air these high temperatures can lead to problems such as excessive oxidation or carbide decomposition.
Despite these drawbacks it’s easy to see why demand for this type of sprayed coating is so high.