This article discusses three types of powder-feeder systems that are commonly used throughout the thermal spray (TS) industry: gravity-based devices, rotating wheel devices, and fluidized-bed systems. It provides information on the various mechanical methods for producing powders, namely, crushing, milling, attriting, and machining. The article describes two prime methods of agglomeration. One method uses a binder by way of agglutination, while the other relies on a sintering operation. The article discusses the technology and principles of the processes that relate to thermal spraying, and offers an understanding for choosing particular feedstock materials that are classified based on the thermal spray process, material morphology, chemical nature of the material, and applications. Sieving, the most common method of separating powders into their size fractions, is also reviewed. The article also provides information on the topical areas and precautions to be undertaken to protect the operator from safety hazards.
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