A microplasma spraying torch with a hollow cathode electrode is designed to melt completely the refractory materials and deposit coatings at plasma power level up to several kilowatts. The designed torch permits spray material to be fed into plasma arc jet through axial powder injection. In the present study, molybdenum is used as a typical refractory spray material. The effects of the main processing parameters including plasma arc power, plasma gas flow and spray distance on the particle velocity during spraying, and the microstructure and properties of the coatings are investigated. The microstructure of coating is characterized with optical microscopy and scanning electron microscopy. The properties of the coating are characterized by microhardness and abrasive wear tests. The particle velocity during in-flight is carried out using a particle velocity/temperature measurement system based on thermal radiation. The comparison of the microstructure and property of micro-plasma sprayed Mo coatings with those of the coating deposited by the conventional plasma spraying operated at a power of 42 kW is performed. The results show that the abrasive wear loss of the Mo coatings deposited by the micro-plasma spray torch is comparable to that of the coating deposited by the conventional plasma spraying disregarding the one order difference in the plasma operating power.

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