Instabilities in plasma spray jets can result in coatings with inconsistent properties. The arc root fluctuation and shear layer instability due to strong gradients are of foremost concern. The shear layer instabilities result from shear between the high velocity, low density hot core gas, the intermediate density and velocity boundary layer, and the high density quiescent environment. A cold-flow facility with density gradients similar to a plasma torch has been used for implementation of traditional fluid dynamics measurements such as hot-wire anemometry. Methods to control these instabilities are developed and tested using both the plasma torch and the cold flow facility. Through nozzle design modifications the instabilities resulting from arc root fluctuations and high density gradients have been reduced. The effectiveness of the control on the plasma jet is determined using in-flight particle characterization along with high speed imaging and photodiode measurements of the jet.

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