The thin film low pressure plasma spray process (LPPS-TF) has been developed with the aim of efficient depositing uniform and thin coatings with large area coverage by plasma spraying. At high power input (~150 kW) and very low pressure (~100 Pa) the plasma jet properties change considerably and it is even possible to evaporate the powder feedstock material providing advanced microstructures of the deposits. This relatively new technique bridges the gap between conventional plasma spraying and physical vapor deposition. In addition, the resulting microstructures are unique and can hardly be obtained by other processes. In this paper, microstructures made by LPPS-TF are shown and the columnar layer growth by vapor deposition is demonstrated. In addition to the ceramic materials TiO2, Al2O3 or MgAl2O4, the focus of the research was laid on partially yttria-stabilized zirconia. Variations of the microstructures are shown and discussed concerning potential coating applications.

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