Coatings produced by suspension plasma spraying are characterized by their small grain size, which usually translates to better properties. In this study, a ceramic suspension is prepared from zirconia nanopowder and an organic solvent for use in an inkjet printer. The print head dispenses a stream of droplets, approximately 100 µm in size, that are injected into a dc plasma jet. Investigators found that the droplets disintegrate in transit and are much smaller by the time they hit the substrate. By heating the substrate surface, it is possible to create regularly shaped splats that are much smaller than those achieved by conventional plasma powder spraying. Although SEM examination revealed microcracks in some of the larger splats, no signs of cracking were observed in splats smaller than the critical diameter of 5 µm. Paper includes a German-language abstract.

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