Reproducibility of plasma spraying process and resulting deposits is one of the most essential requirements for its application in industrial environment. In most cases, only controlling process input parameters does not suffice for achieving stability and reproducibility of the process. Besides short time plasma instabilities such as arc root fluctuation, process deviations in longer time operations may arise due to electrodes wear and need to be identified by online diagnostics of the plasma spraying process. In this study two online diagnostic systems were employed to investigate the long-term behaviour of a F4-type plasma gun with a convergent and divergent Laval-nozzle. A Plasma Instability Analysis (PISA) system was applied to identify electrode wear and plasma fluctuation phenomena within the gun whereas Particle Flux Imaging (PFI) was used to correlate the electrode wear with the plasma jet characteristics at the nozzle exit. The long-term performance of electrodes was investigated under continuous operation and under periodic reignition of the torch. A good correlation between aberrations in the plasma process observed with PFI and changes in the frequency spectra detected by PISA was found.

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