Abstract

This study focuses on RF-Plasma Technology (RFPT) to enhance the physical properties of powdered materials (metals, carbides, ceramics, inter-metallics, and mixtures). The efficiency and flexibility of RFPT allows for the economically viable production of powders with a high degree of densification, spheroidization and purity. RFPT is based on the used of RF inductive power used to create a plasma at atmospheric pressure. A complex model based on theoretical calculations and empirical data has been developed to describe changes in particles exposed to the plasma stream for a variety of process parameters. A specific combination of parameters is referred to as a scheme. Advanced schemes have been developed to increase the coefficient of heat transfer from the plasma stream to particles by up to 35%. RFPT is especially useful for the production of powders that have been difficult or impossible to create with traditional methods. Some of the materials processed include: ZrO2, W2C, WC and WC-Co combinations. Particle size distribution (PSD) can be tightly controlled, and can vary from 5 to 600 microns.

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