Modern thermal spray processes require wide use of diagnostics to gather an extensive process understanding. Today's diagnostic results provide the basis for future designs and advancements, particularly and increasingly on basis of computational approaches. Due to the measuring area in the square centimeter range and its quick and accurate results, the Particle Image Velocimetry (PIV) represents an enriching for thermal spray process diagnostics. Our experimental results obtained from PIV are in accordance to present theoretical and empirical derivations of some kinematic parameters of thermal spray processes. Beneath verification of well-known dominant parameters (for example powder fraction or carrier gas mass flow), this procedure enables the detection and characterization of ancillary influences on the process due to its high accuracy. By statistical analysis of our experiments, using multiple parameter variations per experiment according to the technique of "Design of Experiments" (DoE), we possibly found some hints on interactions between ancillary parameters which shall be analysed in further works carefully. In combination with detailed simulations on plasma - particle interactions and powder injection it should be possible to develop methods for thermal spray processes to minimize the particle flow expansion for an optimization of deposition rate and energy efficiency in the future.

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