A Ni-Al pseudo-alloy powder was studied from the point of view of spheroidization during spraying by a water-stabilized plasma gun. The powder particles of irregular shape were conglomerates of elemental Ni and Al, the average Al content being 9.7 %. To conserve the shape and composition of particles flying in the plasma stream, these were trapped in liquid nitrogen. Scanning electron microscopy and X-ray microanalysis were used to obtain information about particle shape and element distribution. Most plasma sprayed particles trapped in liquid nitrogen were composed of a Ni-Al alloy, where the Al content varied in a wide range. Spherical "caps" composed of Al-oxide covered partially their surfaces. It follows that on the interface between molten Ni and Al, the interaction of both components gave rise to a Ni-Al alloy. On the contrary, if Al was exposed to air, it oxidized rapidly during the flight of the particles. The X-ray diffraction lines of the metallic phase in the particles trapped in liquid nitrogen were shifted from the positions corresponding to pure Ni as observed in the feedstock powder. This, together with the line asymmetry, showed the presence of Ni-Al alloy containing varying amounts of Al. The X-ray diffraction did not find any elemental Al in the liquid nitrogen trapped powder, i.e. neither in the metallic phase nor in the "caps". This means that all Al accessible to the ambient oxygen was converted into oxide. The "caps" contained metastable γ- and δ- Al2O3. The mechanism of the "cap" formation appears to be based on the fact that after an acceleration and melting period, significant slowing down of a molten particle occurs. Due to the drag forces, the lighter Al2O3 melt concentrates on the rear part of the droplet surface. The main condition, under which this mechanism holds, is the presence of two immiscible melts in the droplets and the significantly differing densities of both melts.

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