High heat load on the surface of electrodes in DC arc plasma torches results in strong wear of electrodes. This takes place during the start up and shutting down procedure as well as during long-term running of the torch and results in arc voltage reduction. Such changes in voltage lead to a modification of the plasma jet properties and effect adversely reproducibility of deposits, which are undesirable for industrial applications. The present work offers a new approach to compensate cathode wear in DC arc gas stabilized plasma torches by using moveable anode. With this design of torch, the distance between the cathode tip and anode can be varied. Voltage fluctuation analysis show the possibility of a reasonable arc modification by approaching the nozzle to the cathode caused by a change of the flow field inside the arc chamber and the arc dynamics. Smaller cathode tip-nozzle distances result in higher arc voltage with reduced fluctuations accompanied by a positive effect on the plasma jet properties. Thus, the negative influence of cathode wear on generated plasma properties can be suppressed and the lifetime of the cathode can be extended by simple approaching the nozzle.

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