A heat transfer analysis has been undertaken to predict the influence of process parameters on the decomposition of in-flight particles and deposited layers during thermal spraying of polymer coatings. The theoretical analysis shows that polymers are unique in developing large temperature gradients, which accelerates the degradation of the surface of the particles and the coating layers. However, the analysis indicates that the degradation can be limited by the control of the plasma gas composition, the spraying distance and the torch traverse speed. The theoretical analysis has been confirmed by weight loss measurements, wear tests and microstructural observations of plasma sprayed PMMA coatings. The work shows the existence of a critical traverse speed below which satisfactory coatings cannot be produced.

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