A shrouded-plasma spray process is described for the production of a metastable powder, deposit or preform. A high enthalpy atmospheric DC arc-plasma torch is used as heat source and a solution precursor as feed material. An aerosol-or liquid-jet of solution precursor is delivered to a steady-state reaction zone within the shrouded-plasma flame, where rapid and controlled precursor decomposition occurs. Depending on the operating conditions, the precursor material is pyrolyzed, melted or vaporized, prior to quenching to form a metastable nano-sized powder. This method is capable of processing a host of metastable materials, including the difficult-to-process refractory metals, oxide and non-oxide ceramics, as well as their composites. In this paper, we will discuss our results on multi-component oxide systems.

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